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Father Christmas

Father Christmas

Q This beautiful Victorian scrap of Father Christmas advertises: “Cheapest House in London for Scraps, Chromos, Cards 18 & 20 Sidney Street, Commercial Road. E. Established 1851   Catalogues Post Free.” Can anyone put a name to the printer or publisher at the above address? Size: 114 x 178mm (4½ x 7in)


A In 1915, numbers 18 and 20 Sidney Street were occupied, not by a printer or publisher, but by J Thridgould and Co, wholesale stationers who sold a wide range of items ‘by the usual publishers Raphael Tuck and Davidson Brothers, among others’ - from an advertisement on the reverse of a divided back postcard published by Max Ettlinger.

In 1882, John Thridgould occupied no. 18 only and was entered as a news vendor. A successful businessman! The source for this information is Leicester’s Digital Library of Historical Directories*.

Entering London into the location field and Sidney Street into the keyword field of their search form immediately produces 32 directories of which there are five street directories including Sidney Street, those for 1882, 1895, 1899, 1910, and 1914. Take your pick - the hits are highlighted in yellow. A whole range of other possible methods of searching is available, including printing out a directory page.

*Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare books, essential tools for research into local and genealogical history: http://www.historicaldirectories.org/

Malcolm Shifrin



This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.