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Christmas Gifts And Tipples For Guildfordians Over 100 Years Ago

Published on: 22 Dec, 2017
Updated on: 30 Dec, 2017

By David Rose

Guildfordians in 1906 were certainly being tempted by local traders from which to buy gifts and drinks for the Christmas festivities.

Guildford High Street in about 1906. Click on pictures to enlarge in a new window.

Advertisements that were published in the local press in the run-up to Christmas 111 years ago give a fascinating insight into what was on offer.

The town’s two major breweries at the time, Friary, Holroyd & Healy’s and Lascelles, Tickner & Co, appear to have liberally advertised their range of alcoholic drinks.

Part of a local press advertisement placed by the Friary, Holroyd & Healy’s Brewery in December 1906.

Making it easier for people to chose, Friary was offering a hamper for 10 shillings and six pence that included a bottle of Vintage Champagne, a bottle of Old Port, a bottle of Special Scotch Whisky, a bottle of Finest Ginger Wine and a Miniature Bottle of Creme de Menthe. It was also boasting 60,000 gallons of wines and spirits and Christmas ales and stouts for sale.

Friary, Holroyd & Healy’s Brewery pictured in the 1920s.

The brewery complex, where today’s Friary Shopping Centre stands, only brewed beer, so the wine and spirits it was selling would have been imported. Interestingly, Friary was also tempting customers with the Map Brand of Scotch. An advertisement stated: “The ‘Map Brand’ Liqueur Scotch Whisky is not a low price whisky; it costs 4s 0d per bottle, but is WORTH MORE”. A very bold claim indeed!

Friary’s advertisement for Map Brand whisky.

Meanwhile, Lascelles, Tickner & Co Ltd, at its Castle Brewery, situated between the Portsmouth Road and Bury Street (now the empty site that was latterly where the 1960s Central Electricity Generating Board building stood) was advertising a wide range of ales, stout and porters that included XXX Stock Ale, XXX Mild Ale, AKK Bitter Ale and more, in 36, 18, nine, and four-and-a-half-gallon quantities.

Lascelles, Tickner & Co’s offerings for Christmas 1906.

It boasted them as being “beer of the finest quality produced from the very best materials”.

Lascelles, Tickner & Co also made and sold its own non-alcoholic mineral waters – “obtained from a depth of 300 feet, which, as shown by the best Authorities, is of the highest possible Hygienic Excellence”. It had its own wells (as did the Friary brewery in fact) and the pure waters would have been artificially carbonated and flavoured as ginger beer, lemonade and soda water.

Beer, wine and spirit bottles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, pictured for comparison of their shape and design.

Wine, spirit and beer merchants, Nealds & Cooper had been trading in Guildford from 1775. For the 1906 festive season, it was offering drinks from around the world, including Hungary, Australia and Madeira.

Lots to choose from at Nealds & Cooper.

Among the more unusual offerings was “Dantzig Spruce – Hudson’s Chichester Milk Punch” and “Grant’s Maidstone Cherry Brandy – Liqueur Orange Brandy”.

Guinness could be bought by the cask or bottle, while cordials were available in flavours including ginger brandy, ginger gin, cherry brandy, orange bitters, rum, shrub, clove, aniseed, lovage and mint.

Tom Pickens’ Stores was in North Street.

For Christmas presents and food for the table there was much to choose from in Guildford, Tom Pickens’ Stores in North Street (roughly where the entrance to the Friary Shopping Centre is today) was proclaiming a “Monster Xmas Bazaar”, with “toys and games for old and young, useful and fancy china, watches, clocks, etc”.

Adverts for Tom Pickens’ Stores and Porter’s Meat Stores.

Porter’s Meat Stores, “By the New Bridge” (the Town Bridge had only been re-built in 1902, after the old bridge had been damaged beyond repair in the floods of 1900), was advertising “the primest beef, mutton, pork & poultry”.

Clark’s store in the High Street (on the left) pictured during the floods of 1928.

For home entertainment, Guildford people in the early 1900s would have visited Clark & Co. The store was towards the foot of the High Street on the south side, roughly where MIllbrook is today.

In 1906, gramophones and phonographs were the latest thing, available from five shillings and nine pence!

Gramophones, phonographs and more at Clark & Co.

Its advertisement proclaimed that thousands of new records were stocked, along with pianofortes and organs. Its “Own Speciality Piano, with Check Action, Iron Frame and Latest Improvements” cost “only 15 Guineas Cash, or 10/6 a month”.

It would appear that back then just about everything under the sun was available in Guildford to make it a perfect Christmas – if you had the cash though!

And not a sale notice in to be seen in the week before the Christmas holiday itself.

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Responses to Christmas Gifts And Tipples For Guildfordians Over 100 Years Ago

  1. John Lomas Reply

    December 22, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Thinking of Christmas back then and having just re-watched the BBC Victorian Bakers Christmas,
    I wonder how many in Guildford would have taken their Christmas turkey, goose, beef, pork or lamb joint to the bakers because they either didn’t have an oven or not one large enough?

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