Tiny Tim came from Manchester... and our other contributions to Christmas
A short local history of our festive season
The Christmas we know today is often credited to the Victorians. The decorated fir tree is popularly thought to have been introduced to Britain by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert after an engraving of the royal family posing in front of their tree in 1848 had people scurrying to buy their own.
But while the Royals had borrowed the idea from the Teutonic side of the family, German merchants in Manchester who had been decorating trees for much longer, as far back as the 1830s. It’s unlikely that Victoria spotted the idea on a visit to the city — she first visited the Manchester and Salford in 1851, which was in fact the first Royal visit for a century and a half.
But if Manchester quietly introducing the idea of the Christmas tree to Britain even before Victoria took the throne didn’t necessarily influence the celebration of the festive season across the country, the city certainly played a major part in one of the most beloved traditions of all.
Charles Dickens first published A Christ…