MEMORIES of happy Christmasses past are brought to life at the Mitchell Library this week.

The latest Mitchell Curious events provide a perfect pause in the frantic festive run-up, with great photographs, newspaper clippings and vintage Christmas cards and annuals on display at the special sessions.

Take a trip back in time to yuletide days gone by, and recall what Christmas in Glasgow was like throughout the decades.

One of the newspaper gems, explains Special Collections Librarian Clare Thompson, dates back to 1916.

“The Bulletin, on December 23, just over 100 years ago, offers some handy hints to help with last minute Christmas shopping,” she smiles.

“Suggestions include neckwear ‘for the older woman in your life’ because, according to The Bulletin’s Women’s Column, ‘neckwear is a satisfactory answer to the question of what to give the woman who has left her first youth behind’…..”

Clare adds: “There are some great examples of festive newspaper stories from the last century for visitors to enjoy.

“An article in the Evening Times’ sister newspaper The Herald, from December 6 1989, promotes the idea of going out for Christmas dinner with tempting menus from the Shish Mahal, Café India and the Central Hotel, where Glaswegians could enjoy a four course festive menu for £18.25…”

In addition to reliving Glasgow’s festive past through newspaper snippets, library visitors will be able to take a look at how Christmas celebrations in Glasgow have changed through the decades, with festive illustrations of Buchanan Street and Argyle Street from the 1960s and 70s.

Clare adds: “There are examples, too, of The Herald’s traditional festive Christmas Eve front cover, including a copy of the paper from Christmas Eve 1991 with an angel illustration by seven year old Jennifer Young from High Mill Primary in Carluke on the front page. Jennifer saw off competition from almost 3000 other children to be crowned Christmas cover champion that year.”

The display will also include pantomime programmes from the Alhambra Theatres, a scrapbook of Christmas cards and Christmas annuals and stories including versions of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol from 1843 to 1927.

Clare says: “Christmas pantomimes traditionally play to packed houses in December and January.

“One of the Alhambra Theatre programmes we have in the collection is a 1960 souvenir copy of A Wish for Jamie.

“This was one of the most popular Christmas pantomimes staged in Scotland.

“Originally at the Alhambra Theatre in 1960 to celebrate the theatre’s Golden Jubilee, then on tour, and revived in 1964 at the King’s Theatre it was a romantic musical set in the Highlands and starred Kenneth McKellar as Jamie, along with Rikki Fulton, Fay Lenore and Reg Varney.”

Items from the Children’s Collection on display include a 1927 leather-bound copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, presented to the library by Mrs M G Dunlop, and a Christmas compendium of short stories from 1896 entitled Cosy Corner Stories. Mitchell Curious visitors can also explore the drawings of renowned children’s illustrator Walter Crane in Mrs Molesworth’s 1888 edition of A Christmas Posy.

The Festive Mitchell Curious includes a look at the extensive collection of sheet music the library has available, thanks to display boards from the 1980s. Festive gems such as Johnny Marks’ Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas are available to view and borrow all year round.

Curated by Glasgow Life Assistant Beth Kean, the Festive #MitchellCurious events are on tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6.30pm and Thursday at 12:30pm – entry is free and it’s not necessary to book.

Beth adds: “I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year and it’s great to look back through the library collections to see how depictions of Christmas have changed over the years.

“So, for example, in the older papers there’s a lot of text and written descriptions of Christmas and that changes over time to show pictures of Santa and Christmas as we know it today.

“The Children’s Collection is such an amazing treasure trove of stories and the leather-bound copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol book is my personal favourite, because it’s unique - I really like its gold tooling and front cover illustration. There are so many interesting items to see.”

To find out more about #MitchellCurious, or to see what else is on offer in Glasgow Libraries, please visit:

Send us your memories of Christmas in Glasgow - write to Ann Fotheringham, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB or email