Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Christmas as we know and celebrate it today started during the Victorian era c 1860s. Before Queen Victoria’s reign, pre-1837, Britain had not really heard of Santa Claus, people did not send Christmas cards or even have a holiday from work.

Some suggest that it was the wealth and technologies generated by the Industrial Revolution, during the Victorian era, that influenced the way we celebrate Christmas today. We see people like Charles Dickens publish ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1843, an enchanting story of Christmas past, present and future.

When we think about the present day, Christmas is not Christmas without a visit to Waddesdon Manor. There may not be snow yet in Aylesbury, but it is surely a magical experience!

This year the house is decorated with an Austrian theme showcasing Vienna, where Salomon, one of the founding sons of the Rothschild dynasty, made his fortune.

Christmas Eve Hofburg In Vienna 19th Century
Christmas Eve Hofburg In Vienna 19th Century

If you have never been to see the grand rooms at the house, I could not think of a better time to visit than Christmas. At Christmas, an enchanting display is found in the East Wing and Bachelors’ Wing.

Court Dress, Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor
Court Dress, Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

This year the historic costume on display includes the stunning Court dress and train made in Vienna and worn by Rozsika Rothschild (1870-1940), grandmother of the present Lord Rothschild, and the dress uniform worn by Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868) as Consul General of Austria.

Christmas at Waddesdon is open until 1st January 2014.  The house and grounds are closed on 24th, 25th and 26th December.  Please check the website for open days (Wednesday to Sunday), times and to book tickets.

Merry Christmas To You All!

This post was written in collaboration with Rachel Boak, Senior Curator at Waddesdon Manor.  If you are interested in writing a post in collaboration with the author of Textile and Dress Historian please email textileanddresshistorian@gmail.com.

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