“We have now arrived at that one, and only season in the year when the “touch of nature that makes the whole world kin” has a joyous significance and a general manifestation. We have passed the period of expectation, and rejoice at the brightening prospects for many a home, now on the very threshold of the peace, good-will and symbolic festivities of the great feast of the Nativity. And whilst celebrating the greatest birth history has ever known, and anticipating a glad New Year, may we not also look with confidence to brightening conditions of trade, and to improvement in industries, unfettered from the shackles the war imposed, and now emerging into something like newness of life? The head-lines in the papers, and the articles underneath, all tell the same good tidings of hope and revival. The Bridgend shops, too, they also point to it, as bountifully stocked, as artistically embellished, and as attractive in appearance as in the pre-war days. And what a fascination the shops at this blessed season have, especially for the young; and, too, for the middle-aged and the old – if there are any such, when years do not count, nor sickness, nor sorrow so much; when purses are open, and all hearts are overflowing. On every hand is the material for the traditional festive board, and fanciful trifles galore to allure money out of the pockets of the fortunate folk who have money to spend.”
Unfortunately, not my words, Oh how I wish they were and eloquence of this quality flowed freely from my typing fingers. This is from a 1918 extract from (probably) the Glamorgan Gazette with a very lengthy article on Christmas shopping in Bridgend. I don’t intend to reproduce the whole piece, I’d be typing for hours, but have selected paragraphs about a few of the shops that are mentioned, shops for which I am able to also locate a suitable period advertisement. It is interesting to note the report builds up to a climax and Stokes & Sons is the last business to be mentioned.
“Long established in point of time, and conducted upon lines of up-to-date enterprise, the firm of Stuchbery, costumier and draper, Caroline Street, have a splendid Christmas display, and such a stock of novelties that inspection of and purchases from it are, or should be, terms synonymous. Most dainty is the display of jumpers and gloves, and lace goods for Christmas presents. See the windows for suggestions, useful and smart, of the finest grades in quality, at a cost that at this season should sit only lightly upon paterfamilias.”
“Mr H Levine, tailor and outfitter, Market Buildings, Bridgend, is noted for the finish of his workmanship, and for the particularity with which he studies individual taste. He always pleases, so that to visit him once is to visit him again.”
“Music is essential at Christmas. Mr. J. Rogers, the Oldcastle Music Warehouse, 62 Nolton Street, Bridgend, has a most up-to-date stock of musical instruments at very low prices. Mr. Rogers is an excellent instrument tuner.”
Messrs. Stokes & Sons. This old-established firm of clothiers and outfitters, Caroline Street, Bridgend, are making a special effort to cope with the situation the Christmas season creates. The giving of presents on the principal of reciprocity is one of the features of the festival, and where could prospective purchasers have a better market than at Stokes and Son’s? Call in, and select at once from the huge and varied assortment of gloves, mufflers, socks, velour hats, and neck-ties. Whatever may be said to the contrary, as much value for money can be got in Bridgend as in Cardiff or Swansea.
The first three advertisements have been taken from the reverse of the article cut out from the newspaper, hence the top section of the Stuchbery illustration being missing. The Stokes & Sons Xmas advertisement is from a slightly later period of the early 1920s.