Victorian Christmas market celebrates 25th year!

The 25th annual Victorian Christmas Market at the Kelham Island Museum will be opened by the Lord Mayor on Saturday.

The event will run over the entire weekend, and regularly attracts over 16,000 visitors in search of seasonal goods, sold by festive traders in traditional Dickensian costumes.

However, many visitors probably aren’t aware of how Christmas only came to be so popular during the Victorian era.

At the beginning of the Nineteenth century, Christmas wasn’t half as popular as it is today-in fact it was hardly celebrated at all.

Many people know about the origin of the Christmas tree, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert and decided to decorate a Christmas tree to remind her Husband of his German childhood. But for those who don’t, the Illustrated London News 1848 published a drawing of the royal family around the tree, which then became common practice in households throughout the nation.

The Victorians also introduced Christmas crackers when a British confectioner called Tom Smith thought up the idea after seeing wrapped packages full of sweets when visiting Paris in 1848.

They also revived the tradition of Christmas Carolling and feasted on Turkey, thereby starting another tradition.

Sheffield in the Victorian era had a population of nearly 400,000, as it rapidly pulled in workers to work the Steel Mills.

Chimneys like those at Kelham Island shot up into the winter sky, and families began tucking into Turkeys as a perfect sized meal for families.

While Sheffield was relatively poor as a city during the Victorian era, the legacy of the era is still visible in the form of Old Victorian Housing, and the Cementation furnaces which were used in the Victorian era to convert iron into steel. Such furnaces were unearthed by archaeologists in July this year.