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21,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought it might be nice to start a thread for all things Christmas,has anyone got any good photographs or videos of the Christmas Market yet? Anyone going to see Pamela Anderson starring in Aladdin this year? I went last year to see Henry Winkler but I'm not going to this one myself.Likewise for the events they have at The Phil? Also it would be nice to see this years Christmas decorations around the City Centre or beyond,old or new,well you get the gist of it.
Here's a giant snow globe in Liverpool One to start it off anyway,I'm having a go of that.:)

Somewhere in The North...
144 Posts
I didn't know about this thread so I posted thiss in the Retail Thread, but for reference:-

Lewis’s grotto finds new home in Rapid thanks to Mike Done
Nov 26 2010 by Janet Tansley, Liverpool Echo

WHEN he embarked on his latest venture, friends and family thought businessman Mike Done was away with the fairies – or Santa’s elves at least.

But after months of negotiations and sleepless nights the 56-year-old has bought Lewis’s famous grotto and found it a new home with Rapid.

By his own admittance, he let his heart rule his head and Mike is celebrating a Christmas coup – and saving a much loved piece of Liverpool’s heritage.

“And that’s what I’m proud of most,” he says. “Lewis’s grotto is a part of this city.

“And the great feedback and the smiles on people’s faces is reward enough for me.”

Mike’s grotto gamble hasn’t come entirely out of the left field.

He was official photographer for Lewis’s until it closed in May, and spent months of each year travelling from his home in Bournemouth to capture the precious moments of children’s visits to Father Christmas.

He says: “I worked for Lewis’s for 27 years and I got to the point where I took Liverpool to my heart.

“I looked forward to being in Liverpool. Although it is a city, it has a village feel too. It’s a fantastic place, the people are great. And I loved the whole Christmas spirit, being part of this world.

“I think I’m a big kid at heart,” says Mike, whose photographic company was once focused on Lewis’s stores the length and breadth of the country.

So when the writing was on the wall for the store. Mike started to wonder what would happen to the grotto, thought to be the oldest in the world.

“David Lewis called it a Winter Wonderland 130 years ago, when he started it in the building adjacent to where the store ended up. It has become a Christmas tradition.

“Liverpool was the flagship store, with the Adelphi opposite, it was where the posh people shopped.

“It’s just a shame it hasn’t survived.”

But Mike was determined the grotto would.

“People thought I was mad. I thought I was mad. I asked people in store what the plans were. I didn’t get any proper answers but I still approached Rapid about bringing it here.

“To honest, I was balancing on a ball, resting on a tightrope and trying to juggle blind-folded. We decided to open the grotto one last time in Lewis’s in Easter this year and I decided I could make it work.

“There is so much sentiment attached to the grotto, people come in with fantastic stories and reminisce.

“I had one woman who was probably in her 60s come in with a black and white photograph from 1951, and I took her back to the same throne she was sitting on as a child!”

He adds: “Every adult who comes in thinks back to when they were a child, they bring their children and it’s a happy place to be.”

Mike’s excitement and sense of achievement is evident as his animation echoes that of the festive characters around him.

But only months ago he was weighed down by worry and doubt too.

He started negotiating to buy the grotto from store bosses before concluding his talks with administrators.

“I risked my sanity, my domestic life...when I added things up it didn’t make financial sense but my partner Sharon spurred me on and you get to the point where you are in so deep you’ve just got to carry on. Sharon was fantastic, supporting me through the dark times and helping me to realise my dream.”

Mike is coy about the final cost of transporting the grotto from Lewis’s to Rapid in Williamson Square – partly because he won’t know the true figures until after Christmas – but he will admit to paying tens of thousands for the grotto which will stay in situ all year round as it did before, and credits Rapid with helping him to his success: “Rapid have been fantastic.”

It took five weeks to get every last piece across the city, and then months creating the setting and repairing and replacing the items which didn’t survive the journey.

“Everything had to be painted and where we are was full of stuff that John Lewis had left. When everything had been brought over and you couldn’t move, that was one of the moments I thought I can’t go on.

“We finally completed everything on Friday, November 5 – and opened on November 6...

“I’ll let you know whether it’s worth all the sleepless nights when I add everything up,” laughs Mike. “I underestimated the costs, it was a case of the heart ruling the head.

“I’m uncomfortably stretched, but if I’m going to struggle I can’t think of a better place to do it.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done and I feel a real sense of achievement.

“Part of Liverpool’s history has been saved and it’s now in the middle of the city – where it should be.”

Admission to the grotto is 50p, or £5 for admission to the grotto plus a gift from Santa. Photographs start at £5 for a 6"x 4" print in a folder.

For more details phone Rapid on 0151-708 2000, or log onto

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As a former Lewis's worker and close friend I can only wish him and Sharon the best. He put in a heck of a lot of effort over the last 27 years. He has got back together all the former Lewis's (Display and Marketing) team to recreate it's grotto in Rapid's 4th Floor. If you are ever in town it's 50p to get in and the theme is about how Father Christmas lost his Liverpool home.

I will try to upload some photos in this thread.

21,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Victorian Christmas 1895

Over two thousand schoolchildren from all over the North West recently visited Croxteth for 'Victorian Christmas', the acclaimed education programme run by the education team and volunteers at Croxteth Park.

The children stepped back in time to see Croxteth as it was in 1895, visiting as 'guests' of Lord and Lady Sefton, or working as 'servants' in Croxteth Hall and on Lord Sefton's estate. They dressed in period costume and met characters from the past - including Lord and Lady Sefton, their children's Governess, their butler, housekeeper, cook, dairy maids, groom and gardeners.

The visiting school children applied for jobs at the Park, bringing references with them. They were taken on in various roles; footmen, housemaids, kitchen maids, dairy maids, odd-job boys, stable hands, gardeners and wood boys. They took part in tasks that were representative of work of the period, guided by the 'senior staff' of the household. Some of the children had the rather different role of young guests of Lord and Lady Sefton, looked after by a governess.

The lady of the house receives a gift at Croxteth Victorian ChristmasEach session was skilfully acted out to give a lasting impression of Victorian life - strict discipline and a rigid social order where everyone knew their place! Virtually all work was done by manual labour, with an army of servants employed to keep the Earl and Countess in style. For the schoolchildren the tension of being thrust back into the past and the drudgery of work was relieved when the Earl and Countess gathered the guests and staff for a Christmas party in large Old Dining Room of Croxteth Hall. Carols, traditional party games and food (prepared, of course, by the kitchen maids) all in the magnificent setting of the Hall, made for an enjoyable end to a memorable day.

Victorian Christmas ran for four weeks in November and December, with two sessions run every day. This major project required additional help for the education staff at Croxteth. Specialist 'living history' re-enactors, other staff from the Park (both acting and behind the scenes) and the essential help of the Croxteth Heritage Volunteers made up the team working to provide a memorable day out for the pupils.

Many thanks to Norman Pannell school for permission to use the photographs by Neil Lloyd Photography.

The pictures below are from a Victorian Christmas at Croxteth Hall .

My Daughter's doing this with the school this year,she's going as a dairy maid.:)

3,756 Posts
Mad Thinker would probably want that to be the case and drown the tax-dodging, scroungers with bastard offspring who siphon off his hard-earned cash.

Dinkum Thinkum
266 Posts
Mad Thinker would probably want that to be the case and drown the tax-dodging, scroungers with bastard offspring who siphon off his hard-earned cash.
But what makes you think that "tax-dodging, scroungers with bastard offspring" were using the pointless, glass ball thing?

Besides, I don't necessarily object to tax-dodging if there is a sound motive behind the dodging, such as a moral cause. Tax is, in any case, a form of theft. "Hand your money over or we're going to stick you in prison!" Charming. That is enough to make me admire the tax dodger.

And I have no interest at all in how many children a person has or with whom, providing they have the means to support themselves and their offspring. What others do with their own time and money is entirely their own business and of no concern to me.

But as for "scroungers"; who could respect a person who scrounges? The word "scrounge" says it all. What a horrible word. Do you admire scroungers?

Anyway, that Victorian party looks very wholesome and nice. I'd rather dance around in Oliver Twist clothes and chop up some wood with an axe than stand in a plastic ball and have my photo taken.

Merry xmas everyone :cheers: ... hang on.. it's still fucking November! :eek:hno:

21,259 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Had a walk around the Christmas market today and I was very impressed,Liverpool looked incredible this evening.

A sweet stall in the Christmas market.

The shop window display in Ted Baker.

The Ice Palace Grotto in Liverpool One.
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