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The first Christmas cards


640 x 541
1776 x 1500

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The custom of sending Christmas cards started in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, just after the introduction of the ‘Penny post’ in 1840 made sending letters affordable for ordinary people. Newly built railways delivered mail faster and could carry more than before, allowing the service to be provided cheaper. Henry Cole was the first director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. He used to write hand greetings to his friends and family. He found this a tiresome task. He also wanted to see how the new ‘Public Post Office’, could be used more by people, so he came up with the idea of using cards with a printed message. Working with an artist friend, John Horsley, he designed the first cards and sold them for 1 shilling each. The idea caught on.

30th Dec 2005 by Diane Earl

Citizenship, Religious Education

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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National Education Network
Developed by E2BN for the National Education Network
E2B® and E2BN® are registered trade marks and trading names of East of England Broadband Network (Company Registration No. 04649057)