Posted: 16 December 2012

Santa Claus, Big Ben and vulnerable children: Our Christmas messages, 1907-1952

As we approach Christmas, this seems like an appropriate time to look back at our history. After all, we have been around since 1881 and although our name has changed during that time (we were originally the Waifs and Strays Society), we have celebrated Christmas each year and always aimed to make it a special time for children and young people.

Over the next several days we’ll share some heartwarming Christmastime photographs and images from our archives. Today please enjoy these cards and adverts that we used when communicating to our supporters.

These images and photos date from 1907 through 1952. While they address areas of work (such as children’s homes) that we no longer operate, their message of the need to support vulnerable children is just as vital today as it was when Edward Rudolf founded our organisation in 1881.

Please enjoy these images and continue to check back for updates between now and Christmas.

Images from our archives, 1907-1952


Cover of our 'Waifs and Strays Magazine', which features a star above Big Ben and three impoverished young people in the fore

The cover of our magazine for supporters, 1937

Black and white photograph of Christmas dinner, featuring approximately 60 girls

A photograph used in our magazine for supporters, 1907


Santa Claus stands on a roof, and text that reads 'Please help us fill their stockings / And provide Christmas fare for about 5.000 children'

An image from our magazine for supporters, 1952


Young girl stirring a bowl of Christmas pudding and text that reads 'A happy Christmas to you all / You won't forget the children will you?'

An image from our magazine for supporters, 1937.

More photographs

Please visit our Facebook page for more Christmas-related photographs from our archives

Visit Hidden Lives Revealed for photographs and information about our archives

By Ian Wakeling - Research team

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Great images! I love the continuity in them; The Children's Society's ways of working might have changed in the past 130 or so years, but its aim of trying to improve children's lives has stayed the same.

(And now I'm hungry for some Christmas pudding too.)