Victorian New Year



A Happy New Year to All Our Readers

This engraving was the frontispiece of the January issue of the Ladies' Treasury Vol !V, 1860. The Editor's column "A  Happy New Year" reflects many Victorian sentiments including the sense of tradition, about this festive season as these extracts indicate:

 Is it not good sometimes to stop the whirling machinery of commercial and business activity, the ever-revolving wheels within wheels which are about us everywhere, and of which we form a part? Is it not good to rest awhile, to take stock of our inner selves as we post up our ledgers and prepare our balance-sheet of trade, and to ascertain mentally and morally whether we are any the better for the sayings and doings of the bygone year. Christmas and the New Year is the time when such stock-taking is naturally suggested, and it is good that it should be so.
.............
where be the noble aspirations of youth, the tender affections, the good resolutions, the bright hopes of the past? Make a rosary of holly berries, and, counting one by one, remember what you meant to do, and what you have done. It is when we begin to think of the past ... that the heart is touched, and latent sympathy and kindness awakened. Old friends that we have a little neglected of late are remembered, and letters ... are dispatched; presents are sent off in all directions...
.............
Present-giving is an excellent custom of the New Year; just as the old stage coaches and mails in the days of spanking teams, that did their twelve hours on the road, and were the admiration of everybody, the railways, now-a-days, are loaded with Christmas and New Year's gifts; and from the railway stations the carrier's carts transport them here and there and everywhere ... And so as a Christmas and New Year's sketch, our artist gives us the carrier's cart on a country road...
.............
It is a thoroughly winter's day, with a dull, leaden sky overhead, and thick snow on roads and gables, and the bare branches of the trees; snow, too, on the carrier's cart, which has stopped opposite a road-side cottage, while the carrier hands in some present to the cottager's wife, or wishes her in his honest, homely "A Happy New Year!" [sic] Snow everywhere and the cold east wind a-blowing; but not so snowy or so cold that it can freeze up kindly feelings.

Presenting this little picture to our readers, we offer together with it the compliments of the season to each and all. May you, gentlest of readers, receive all the gifts you would wish to have; may you have it in your heart and power to give presents in return; may you especially remember those who have nothing to give, but who sorely heed your bounty; and may your good gifts, kind words, and tender sympathy be given to the poor, that rich and poor together may enjoy "A Happy New Year!"


Despite these altruistic sentiments, however, Mrs Warren was not so remiss an editor as to pass up an opportunity for a little marketing. See the article on Victorian Editorial Columns.

The practice of a special 'reader's offer' or presentation picture in the Christmas /New Year issue of magazines, which became a marked feature  of  the  Illustrated London News and the rival the Graphic later in the century, is exemplified by the special full colour  Ladies' Treasury Almanac presumably given away with the December issue in this volume, which covers 1859. The calendar, showing days and dates for the year 1860, with a wide pictorial border representing some of the topics covered by the magazine, is bound in as a frontispiece to the volume.(detail above)


For important information on Copyright, Citations, Images and References please see my Home Page. There you will also find an explanation of the aims of Victorian Page, and  a note about me.

©  Barbara Onslow 2007   Page published January 2010  Last updated March 20th 2010