How Weston adverts have changed in Christmases over the years
PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 December 2017
Stories in past copies of the Weston Mercury give a fascinating insight into the town’s history – but the adverts offer even more clues into how life has changed in Christmases gone by.
For instance, in 1874 there was an advert for Clarke’s ‘world famed’ blood mixture. It was said it would cure all sorts of sores, spots, and boils – and even cancerous ulcers.
The ‘great blood purifier and restorer’ had apparently received thousands of testimonials ‘from all parts’.
Unusual remedies were still being touted in December 1905, where GS Ball, a pharmacist in Weston’s Albert Terrace, argued honey would help asthma, shortness of breath, and rheumatism.
There was no end to honey’s supposed benefits, since it would also apparently purify the blood.
Britain retained control over a large portion of its empire in 1905, and selling items from far-flung lands was still seen as a selling point.
Gray’s Bazaars in the Boulevard was offering ‘the latest novelties from the English and foreign markets’ and also sold steam toy engines, magic lanterns and slides.
Lance & Lance’s was also promising ‘artistic and inexpensive’ gifts from every quarter of the globe.
And fashion, of course, has gone through significant changes.
In December 1875, Pitt & Co, in High Street, was selling seal and fur caps at ‘very low prices’.
Fast forward to 1964, and adverts proclaimed ‘no woman can resist the thrill of fur’.
Despite this, fur was becoming less fashionable in the 1960s and the next two decades saw the rise of animal rights groups.
Christmas adverts in the 1960s demonstrated just how fast technology had moved on – but some attitudes had not.
A dishwasher was described as ‘the present she deserves’.
The advert from 1967 said: “The Hoover Autojet will really please your wife... The price? 93 guineas. Not all that much to free your wife from sink drudgery forever!”
Liquidisers, hand mixers and transistor radios were all being sold, and one Weston decorating shop promised a drill would be the perfect gift for men.
As for the children, the top gifts in the 1960s were dolls, science sets, Meccano, soft toys and trikes. Not everything has changed, after all.