London curators have discovered what is believed to be the first ever recording of a family Christmas. The Wall family, who resided in New Southgate in North London at the time, made the recordings 110 years ago.
Two clear recordings on wax cylinders made using a phonograph machine between 1902 and 1917 were found. Music curators have described the quality of the sound recorded as being outstanding.
The family of eleven, including parents Cromwell and Minnie Wall are all featured on the recording save for one of the children. Julia Hoffbrand, a curator at the Museum of London who helped to restore the find said, “When I first heard the recordings the hairs on my arms stood on end, it was fantastic. We had an idea of what was on the recordings because Cromwell had written very full descriptions on the cylinder boxes but it was really like a window opening into the past. It was like being in the same room as the family and their friends”.
Most of the recordings were made at family gatherings over Christmas and New Year.