A 100-year-old Santa letter written by a Dublin brother and sister has come to light – and offers a fascinating glimpse into the Christmas spirit of old.
The Irish Times newspaper has published the letter, written by the Howard family siblings to Father Christmas in 1911, and found in a Terenure house.
Builder John Byrne came across the handwritten note on a shelf behind a fireplace and the paper reports that it has been slightly scorched over the years.
The brother and sister penned the letter in their Dublin home on Christmas Eve 1911 when they requested gifts and offered a ‘good luck’ message to Santa Claus.
The message to Santa was warm but explicit. “I want a baby doll and a waterproof with a hood and a pair of gloves and a toffee apple and a gold penny and a silver sixpence and a long toffee.”
The letter was placed in the chimney of the fireplace in the front bedroom so that Father Christmas would see it as he made his way into the house in the early hours of the morning.
“At that time, the fireplaces were made of brick with a shelf on either side,” said John Byrne. “The letter was found on one of the shelves.”
The paper reports that, as well as the requests for gifts from Santa, the letter also contains drawings and the ‘good luck’ message.
The 1911 census states there were three children living at the address. Hannah, who was 10 at the time, and Fred, who was seven, fit in with the initials on the letter. A third child, a 13-year-old called Lily, is also listed.
The Howard family, including dad Fred and mum Mary, were all born in England and listed their religion as Church of Ireland.