Photos show Christmas printing blocks made by pupils in the 1950s

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s.

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

Festive printing blocks made by Norfolk pupils have given an insight into Christmases past.

Around 10 years ago Discover Downham came into the possession of a set of six printing blocks for producing Christmas cards, which were produced by pupils at the former Downham Grammar School (DGS) in Ryston End in Downham Market.

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

The blocks, which are believed to have been made in the 1950s, were made from metal and are set on a wooden block, which were designed by woodwork master Normal Yule and his pupils.

Discover Downham said the Christmas scenes created by them were then used to print Christmas cards by Arthur Watson printers in the town.

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

The cards were produced between 1955 and 1957 and each one includes the former school's badge.


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A spokesperson said: "After printing in 1957, pupils at the school persuaded their parents to purchase packs of cards to raise money for school funds and they were sent out to friends, relations and neighbours in the usual way.

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham

Christmas printing blocks produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

"Mr Yule was the art master who selected what he considered at the time were the best cards for printing.

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"It is thought that his own card may have been done before 1955. He often invited students to design Christmas cards at the appropriate time of year.

"Besides being an accomplished artist Mr Yule was a talented woodworker, making splendid bowls and excellent furniture."

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

The pupils who had their cards chosen by the teacher included Ann MacDonald, Elizabeth Mobb, Ann Watson and Cedric Peto.

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

The centre has expressed its gratitude to Vicky Mayes, Mr Yule’s daughter, for gifting the blocks to the Discover Downham collection.

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s.

Christmas cards produced by Downham Grammar School pupils in the 1950s. Picture: Discover Downham - Credit: Discover Downham

Discover Downham, which is closed due to Covid-19, joined the town's Christmas light switch-on by lighting up its own Christmas tree, which was grown and donated by one of its trustees to "bring a bit of festive spirit" to Priory Road.

Discover Downham Christmas tree

Discover Downham Christmas tree - Credit: Discover Downham

It is fundraising by selling £6 calendars - one with old Downham Street scenes and another of Herbert Raby photographs. More details and illustrations of the calendars can be found on Discover Downham's website.

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