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Rocking into Christmas

NLYW-Harewood House Christmas Illumination

Date:20th November 2019.
Picture James Hardisty.

Amongst the many objects in Harewood’s collection, there are some that hold not just historic value, but emotional value too.

A children’s rocking horse is one of these items. It’s on display at the moment in the Main Library as part of  Harewood’s Christmas, A Night in the Mansion, in this family-focused room where it might just have been when the family lived here.

It’s a beautiful early 20th century wooden horse and was most probably a Christmas gift in 1927, from the 5th Earl of Harewood to his grandsons, George and Gerald Lascelles. It was purchased in the Leeds department store, the Grand Pygmalion, just at the junction of Boar Lane and Trinity Street.

There’s a detailed letter from Princess Mary to her mother that describes the family festivities that year:

“Our Xmas day went off very well. We went out to Hold Communion at 8 and then to Church at 10.45. Then we went for a walk. I unpacked some presents. After luncheon the children came down and my father-in-law gave them a rocking horse which they much appreciate. It snowed off and in the afternoon we did not go out. The children played downstairs for a bit. I opened my letters etc. After tea Robert Doyne dressed up as Father Christmas and brought the children presents as well as a large cracker. We spent a most cheerful day and evening. We had the Xmas Tree on Xmas Eve and the children very much enjoyed it….”

Find out more about Christmas at Harewood A Night at the Mansion

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