Tuesday, 12 August 2014

13. A Boroughbridge Boyhood in the 1850s: "Mulled ale at Starbeck"

John gives few details of Christmas celebrations.  Family letters from the 1870s show that they had a turkey for dinner, hung mistletoe, gave presents and ate plum cake, but in his 1850s diaries John records only one Christmas present:
Thursday December 23rd 1858
To office.   At night rode Joes mare to Uncle Picks.   Aunt gave me two white pocket handkerchiefs & a £1  for a Christmas Box  Got home about ten
It was not often that all the family could be together, so this must have been a precious time for John’s mother.  We have a glimpse of one such occasion in the following terse entries from 1856, which record John’s cold journey to Starbeck station to meet his brother Tom, the drive back in the dark, taking communion together at Boroughbridge church, the walk with the dogs in thick snow and the evening by the fire …
Wednesday December 24th 1856
Went to Office   Retd to Breakfast  Had a letter from Tom saying I was to meet him at Starbeck at 8.25 tonight.   At Noon had a walk up Topcliffe Road   At Night Drove to Starbeck to meet Tom  Left here at six   Got home about half past ten   Had some mulled Ale at Starbeck   It was very dark

Thursday December 25th 1856
Christmas Day
Went to Office   Did the Mail   Went to BB Church in the morning   Stayed Sacrament  Father Tom & I went to Aldbro in the Afternoon  After we came back had a walk with the Dogs a mile up Topcliffe Road & back  It snowed hard.   Dick Hirst & Aunt Bell had tea with us.   Sat & talked all the evening
St James's Square, Boroughbridge (early C20 postcard)

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