Princess Mary's Christmas Gift

Production date
1914
Audio tour

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Details


Description
Princess Mary’s Gift Box; a decoratively embossed brass box from 1914 formerly belonging to armed forces member, F. A. Jones. This object would have been distributed as a Christmas gift to British and Imperial forces, as well as various army nursing services. The box would originally have contained one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, Christmas card and photograph (none of which survived).

Princess Mary was a member of the British Royal Family and was known for her active charity work during the First World War. In October 1914, just two months after the outbreak of the war, Princess Mary launched a charity campaign to fund Christmas gifts to every member of the armed forces. Throughout the weeks prior to Christmas the press released multiple advertisements seeking donations from the public. This generated a very positive response resulting in over £150,000 to be raised - today’s value of that investment would be approximately £11 million! This created over 2.5 million gift boxes that were to be sent out over the next 6 years.

Princess Mary’s story initially intrigued me with its compassionate and meaningful message. In a time of conflict, she created something of value to show the true appreciation of servicemen and women’s work during the First World War. Her determination continued throughout her life as she took an active role in promoting the Girl Guide, VAD’s and the Land Girls movements. She then went on to train as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She truly was a magnificent woman.

Audio recording by Eliza Girling (Volunteer), Manchester.
Collection Type
Objects
History
These boxes were distributed to all British and Imperial forces as well as the various army nursing services, Christmas 1914. The box would originally have contained one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, Christmas card and photograph (none of which survive). This box belonged to F A Jones.
Inscription
English
Catalogue Number
1055/29
Associated Person and Role
Mary Lascelles (b.1897, d.1965)

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