Boxing Day In Pictures: Wonderful Photos Of December 26 (1900-2000)

Boxing Day, December 26, is when the British and those in the country’s former colonies exchange gifts, watch sport, shop for bargains in the post-Christmas sales and, if you’ve a pathological hatred of small furry animals, saddle up for the fox hunt.

How Boxing Day came to be so called is a tad confused. December 26 is St Stephen’s Day, when the Church distributed charity boxes to the needy. It can also be traced back to when the wealthy gave their servants a box of Christmas treats.

We’ve raided the archives for this gallery of photos from the 20th Century Boxing Day. December 26 has not always been a time of joy and goodwill. The pictures are mostly from British life, but do include images from the US, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

 

 

26th December 1918: Sir Archibald Bodheim reading the address of welcome to President Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) 28th President of the USA on his arrival at Dover just after the end of WW I. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1918: Sir Archibald Bodheim reading the address of welcome to President Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) 28th President of the USA on his arrival at Dover just after the end of WW I. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1924: From left to right, Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969) and Gene Sarazen (1902 - 1999) of the United States and Abe Mitchell and George Duncan of England, during a special international golf match at St Augustine, Florida. The Britons won by four and three. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1924: From left to right, Walter Hagen (1892 – 1969) and Gene Sarazen (1902 – 1999) of the United States and Abe Mitchell and George Duncan of England, during a special international golf match at St Augustine, Florida. The Britons won by four and three. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1925: From left to right : Bradford of Birmingham City, referee Mr Crew, and Clay of Tottenham Hotspur, before the kick off at White Hart Lane. All three had played together on the same team as amateurs before achieving professional status. (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1925: From left to right : Bradford of Birmingham City, referee Mr Crew, and Clay of Tottenham Hotspur, before the kick off at White Hart Lane. All three had played together on the same team as amateurs before achieving professional status. (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1925: Children enjoying themselves at a Christmas party at Fulham. (Photo by MacGregor/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1925: Children enjoying themselves at a Christmas party at Fulham. (Photo by MacGregor/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 

26th December 1929: Father Christmas with an armful of babies born on Christmas Day at London Maternity Home, City Road. (Photo by Puttnam /Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1929: Father Christmas with an armful of babies born on Christmas Day at London Maternity Home, City Road. (Photo by Puttnam /Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 In water registering thirty-six degrees, Miss Agnes Nicks, the young London endurance swimmer, swam from Tottenham Bridge to London Bridge in the river on Boxing Day. Six other girls refused to enter the water because of the wintery conditions. (Photo by Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

1928 – Miss Agnes Nicks swims from Tottenham Bridge to London Bridge in the River Thames on Boxing Day.

 

26th December 1932: Two Christmas revellers keeping the night watchman supplied with Christmas cheer. (Photo by Hudson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th December 1932: Two Christmas revellers keeping the night watchman supplied with Christmas cheer. (Photo by Hudson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

26th May 1933: Librettist and songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II, left, and Canadian revue star Beatrice Lillie, right, attending the opening night of 'Wild December' at the Apollo Theatre, London. (Photo by Sasha/Getty Images)

26th May 1933: Librettist and songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II, left, and Canadian revue star Beatrice Lillie, right, attending the opening night of ‘Wild December’ at the Apollo Theatre, London. (Photo by Sasha/Getty Images)

26th December 1933: A line of children wearing identical new woollen trousers, jumpers and hats at Leytonstone Children's home, London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1933: A line of children wearing identical new woollen trousers, jumpers and hats at Leytonstone Children’s home, London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1935: Crew of the Greek steamer 'Michalis Poutous' at Barry in south Wales where they were brought after being rescued from their ship, wrecked in the Bristol channel. (Photo by Richards/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1935: Crew of the Greek steamer ‘Michalis Poutous’ at Barry in south Wales where they were brought after being rescued from their ship, wrecked in the Bristol channel. (Photo by Richards/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: American child star Shirley Temple celebrating the arrival of a new year. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: American child star Shirley Temple celebrating the arrival of a new year. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

British trade unionist and Labour Party politician James Henry Thomas, pictured with his grandchildren playing with a model railway, at home in Victoria, London, December 26th 1935. (Photo by Horace Abrahams/Keystone/Getty Images)

British trade unionist and Labour Party politician James Henry Thomas, pictured with his grandchildren playing with a model railway, at home in Victoria, London, December 26th 1935. (Photo by Horace Abrahams/Keystone/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: Schoolboys gathered around a Royal Mail model train set at an exhibition organised by the Post Office at the Imperial Institute, South Kensington. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: Schoolboys gathered around a Royal Mail model train set at an exhibition organised by the Post Office at the Imperial Institute, South Kensington. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1938: A milkman in Loughton, Essex, delivering milk on a sledge drawn by a pony. (Photo by Norman Smith/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1938: A milkman in Loughton, Essex, delivering milk on a sledge drawn by a pony. (Photo by Norman Smith/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: A Swedish girl with her traditional Christmas candle headdress, carrying a tray of tea things. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1936: A Swedish girl with her traditional Christmas candle headdress, carrying a tray of tea things. (Photo by Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th November 1942: Some of the children at the Dr Barnardo's Home at Farm Hill with the holly they have collected to decorate their home for Christmas. (Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th November 1942: Some of the children at the Dr Barnardo’s Home at Farm Hill with the holly they have collected to decorate their home for Christmas. (Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1940: British Royal Air Force bomber crews celebrating Christmas. (Photo by Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

26th December 1940: British Royal Air Force bomber crews celebrating Christmas. (Photo by Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

British soldiers tuck into a Christmas pudding at their post on the British coast, during the second Christmas of World War II, 26th December 1940. (Photo by David Parker/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

British soldiers tuck into a Christmas pudding at their post on the British coast, during the second Christmas of World War II, 26th December 1940. (Photo by David Parker/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

London 1940 - The Underground

London 1940 – The Underground

British soldiers tuck into a Christmas pudding at their post on the British coast, during the second Christmas of World War II, 26th December 1940. (Photo by David Parker/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

British soldiers tuck into a Christmas pudding at their post on the British coast, during the second Christmas of World War II, 26th December 1940. (Photo by David Parker/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectators at the Boxing Day steeplechase meeting at Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire, 26th December 1939. Left to right: Arthur Valerian Wellesley (later 8th Duke of Wellington), Diana Norton, Osla Benning (died 1974) and English actress June Duprez (1918 - 1984). (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectators at the Boxing Day steeplechase meeting at Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire, 26th December 1939. Left to right: Arthur Valerian Wellesley (later 8th Duke of Wellington), Diana Norton, Osla Benning (died 1974) and English actress June Duprez (1918 – 1984). (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectators at the Boxing Day steeplechase meeting at Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire, 26th December 1939. Left to right: Arthur Valerian Wellesley (later 8th Duke of Wellington), Diana Norton, Osla Benning (died 1974) and English actress June Duprez (1918 - 1984). (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectators at the Boxing Day steeplechase meeting at Windsor Racecourse, Berkshire, 26th December 1939. Left to right: Arthur Valerian Wellesley (later 8th Duke of Wellington), Diana Norton, Osla Benning (died 1974) and English actress June Duprez (1918 – 1984). (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Umpires, Wright (left) and Cooper going out for Boxing Day's play during the 2nd Test Match between England and Australia at Melbourne, 26th December 1950. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Umpires, Wright (left) and Cooper going out for Boxing Day’s play during the 2nd Test Match between England and Australia at Melbourne, 26th December 1950.
(Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

circa 1955: Two boggans fighting each other during the traditional Boxing Day ceremony at Haxey in Lincolnshire. (Photo by George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: Two boggans fighting each other during the traditional Boxing Day ceremony at Haxey in Lincolnshire. (Photo by George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images)

UNDATED; Representative Gerald R. Ford relaxes with his wife Betty Ford while deep-sea fishing during a Caribbean vacation in this undated 1972 handout photo. he former President passed away at his home in California December 26, 2006. He was 93. (Photo Courtesty of Gerald R. Ford Library via Getty Images)

UNDATED; Representative Gerald R. Ford relaxes with his wife Betty Ford while deep-sea fishing during a Caribbean vacation in this undated 1972 handout photo. he former President passed away at his home in California December 26, 2006. He was 93. (Photo Courtesty of Gerald R. Ford Library via Getty Images)

Ann Downey (centre, left), mother of 10 year-old murder victim Lesley Ann Downey, at her daughter's funeral, 3rd November 1965. Downey was murdered on 26th December 1964, by Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Ann Downey (centre, left), mother of 10 year-old murder victim Lesley Ann Downey, at her daughter’s funeral, 3rd November 1965. Downey was murdered on 26th December 1964, by Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Greek troops on guard during the Cyprus riots, Nicosia, Cyprus, December 26th 1963. (Photo by Stan Meagher/Express/Getty Images)

Greek troops on guard during the Cyprus riots, Nicosia, Cyprus, December 26th 1963. (Photo by Stan Meagher/Express/Getty Images)

26th September 1946: American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse with a St Bernard dog, which is equipped with a barrel of brandy marked 'Merry Christmas'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

26th September 1946: American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse with a St Bernard dog, which is equipped with a barrel of brandy marked ‘Merry Christmas’. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

26th September 1946: American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse with a St Bernard dog, which is equipped with a barrel of brandy marked 'Merry Christmas'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

26th September 1946: American actress and dancer Cyd Charisse with a St Bernard dog, which is equipped with a barrel of brandy marked ‘Merry Christmas’. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

 

East Berliners at the Berlin Wall prepare to cross to the west after the former East German government lifted travel and emigration restrictions to the West, 26th December 1989. (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

East Berliners at the Berlin Wall prepare to cross to the west after the former East German government lifted travel and emigration restrictions to the West, 26th December 1989. (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Boxing Day ice skaters make use of the frozen Englemere Lake, at Ascot, Berkshire. December 26, 1962

Boxing Day ice skaters make use of the frozen Englemere Lake, at Ascot, Berkshire. December 26, 1962

Four children, whose Christmas ended in tragedy, died on Boxing Day in a rail crash near Crewe, Cheshire, and here a fireman holds a stark reminder of the earlier festivities - a child's toy salvaged from the wreckage. The crash occurred when a Midday Scot from Glasgow to Euston crashed into the rear of a Liverpool-Birmingham train. Rescue workers were hampered by ice and snow while on the way to the crash scene.

1962: Four children, whose Christmas ended in tragedy, died on Boxing Day in a rail crash near Crewe, Cheshire, and here a fireman holds a stark reminder of the earlier festivities – a child’s toy salvaged from the wreckage. The crash occurred when a Midday Scot from Glasgow to Euston crashed into the rear of a Liverpool-Birmingham train. Rescue workers were hampered by ice and snow while on the way to the crash scene.

Berlin Wall parking

Berlin Wall parking

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 26: Spurs goalkeeper Milija Aleksic claims a cross watched by Arsenal players Willie Young (l) and Frank Stapleton (r) alongside Spurs players Gerry Armstrong (2nd left) and Don McAllister (2nd right) during a First Division match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury on December 26, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by Duncan Raban/Allsport/Getty Images)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 26: Spurs goalkeeper Milija Aleksic claims a cross watched by Arsenal players Willie Young (l) and Frank Stapleton (r) alongside Spurs players Gerry Armstrong (2nd left) and Don McAllister (2nd right) during a First Division match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury on December 26, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by Duncan Raban/Allsport/Getty Images)

East Berliners at the Berlin Wall prepare to cross to the west after the former East German government lifted travel and emigration restrictions to the West, 26th December 1989. (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

East Berliners at the Berlin Wall prepare to cross to the west after the former East German government lifted travel and emigration restrictions to the West, 26th December 1989. (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 26: Hollie Lyndsey models the outfit which earned first prize in her section in the fashions in the field at Ellerslie, Auckland, Sunday. (Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images)

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 26: Hollie Lyndsey models the outfit which earned first prize in her section in the fashions in the field at Ellerslie, Auckland, Sunday. (Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images)