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Reading Chronicle: Christmas

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Trevor Prince and Anne Morbey meeting Father Christmas.

The build up to the Christmas period was recorded annually in the Berkshire Chronicle during the 20th century and photographs were published of various festive events.

Father Christmas arrived each year at Reading Station and then toured the town centre before retreating to his grotto set up in one of Reading’s main department stores including Heelas and Wellsteeds on Broad Street. His arrival was an exciting event amongst Reading children who gathered around Father Christmas’s float and queued for a chance to meet him and receive a present.

Reading’s department stores, which once featured prominently in the town, provided an ideal Christmas shopping opportunity for local people to select the perfect gift for family members. The illuminations which adorned the buildings and window displays gave the town a festive feel, adding to the excited atmosphere that only Christmas can bring.

Local organisations and businesses such as the Royal Berkshire Hospital on London Road, Battle Hospital on Oxford Road and the Odeon Cinema on Cheapside, celebrated Christmas with staff carol singing and Christmas trees. Likewise local parks in Reading such as Palmer Park held carol services with space for everyone to participate.

Fundraising was also a large part of the Christmas celebrations in Reading. The Odeon Cinema held a Christmas Toy Appeal to ensure that all local children had a gift to open on Christmas Day.

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