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Given by Stephen Mead
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A small collection of cards, telegrams and advertising material sent to the donor’s mother to celebrate the birth of her son Christopher John Mead born 1/5/1940. The messages in the cards are brief but it gives a small insight into family life. The telegram message from Uncle Ernest reads: 'Up the Reds' as they are a family of red heads.
Greeting cards to celebrate birth were available but usually only sent by close family members. The telegrams by nature are brief; these were mostly used as emergency communication but also to celebrate events such as a birth. There is some advertising material relating to baby goods, which may have been given out with the telegrams. This child was born at the beginning of the Second World War but probably not at a point that materials were in short supply.
Greeting cards have existed in many cultures during the past few hundred years but it was really in the 1850s that they gain popularity, as rather than being hand crafted one off pieces they were mass produced and cheaply available and the introduction of the postage stamp made the postal service more reliable. They saw another increase in the manufacture of cards in the 1930s with the introduction of coloured lithography.
This telegram is a special Greetings Telegram introduced by the General post Office in 1936. The first ones released were for valentines, they were slightly more expensive that a normal telegram but were send on coloured printed forms. Others were soon released to celebrate other occasions, such as weddings, coming of age etc. They were introduceded to help boost the Telegram Services that was facing competition from the telephone service.
A official Greetings Telegram sent though the General Post Office. The envelope is gold with red and blue type. The Telegram letter is a printed sheet design of a basket of flowers, with red ribbon and flowers arranged around the handle. The top of the letter reads Post Office Telegram Greetings. The telegram message reads: Greetings to Christopher John + Mary Philip and Percy +. There is a date stamp to the bottom right.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Width: 17 cm envelope
Telegram celebrating the birth of Christopher Mead born 1/5/1940, English, 1940
Birth; Children & Childhood
Museum of Childhood