We've been delving into our record office archives to bring you a taste of Christmas past.

Ou sont les neige d’antan (or where are the snows of yesteryear), as French poet François Villon asked in the 15th century?

Well, the snows of North Yorkshire’s yesteryear, along with its Christmases and almost every other time of year, are preserved in North Yorkshire’s County Record Office.

The County Record Office collects, preserves and makes accessible historic and current records and holds them in trust for the use of present and future generations. The archive is home to a wealth of documents dating from the 12th century to the present day. These cover more than five miles of shelving and most can be freely consulted in the public search room.

Archivists at the County Record Office have delved into the files to present this selection of images and documents from around the county that offer a fascinating glimpse not only of the weather people faced in the past, but also how different groups celebrated.


Above is a poster for Reeth’s Christmas tea, held at the Congregational Church on Christmas Day in 1899. The public was invited to join for tea during the afternoon, and to hear the church choir sing Christmas hymns on the evening.

A letter from soldier, Howard G Exton, written from the trenches in France on December 13 1915, thanking Settle and District War Relief Committee for the Christmas parcels the committee sent to soldiers and nurses who wouldn’t be home for Christmas. Local people from Settle would donate money or gifts, as well as informing the committee of soldiers or nurses who should be sent a parcel, and their most up to date address.

A record of a Christmas lunch treat for inmates of Thirsk workhouse from 1910. The Christmas day lunch included roast beef, mashed potatoes, plum pudding with rum sauce, beer and extra fruit cake.


Above a gentleman makes a telephone call in Middlesmoor surrounded by snow, it's Christmas time in Harrogate and The Grand Duchess George of Russia giving Christmas presents to wounded soldiers in Harrogate in 1914


Copies of many of the items held in the archive can be bought in the Record Office’s online shop. These could make an ideal Christmas gift, whether recapturing Christmas past or bygone scenes of North Yorkshire places that are special to your friends and family.

North Yorkshire then and now

Watch as we compare past and current photos from Harrogate and Scarborough.