December 4, 2011, by Fraser

4 December: Charity at Christmas

The Derby ‘Robin’ Christmas Dinner Society’s 10th annual charity event took place on 27 December 1907 – and this is a copy of the balance sheet and a report from the society’s Secretary TC Hill. The purpose of the dinner was ‘to provide a substantial meal of Old English Fare for the poorest and most destitute children of the town.’

The report also contains a list of those who attended and the ingredients used in feeding almost 4,000 people – including a whopping 1,100lbs of plum pudding. The meal was served in two sittings by over 200 volunteers and each child was presented with a new penny and a festive orange prior to returning home.

The society’s existence shows a strong spirit of charity in late Victorian and early Edwardian England. Christmas continues to be an important time of year for us to think of those less fortunate – both at home and abroad.

To this end, Ruth Kneale from the Counselling Service at The University of Nottingham and a team of devoted helpers contribute every year to the Operation Christmas Child Samaritan’s Purse appeal.

In the following video, Ruth explains the importance of the appeal and why she’s been a part of the charity’s efforts for nearly 20 years and an integral part of the University’s contributions for nearly ten:

If you can’t see the YouTube video, try this alternative location or view on iTunes U.

The shoebox appeal ended on 18 November in order to allow sufficient time for the boxes to be transported to the children they are intended for. But make sure to look out for information regarding the appeal for 2012.

The 1907 Derby Christmas dinner account survives in one of the many family archives which are valued by local historians and other researchers. All of the items featured in our e-Advent calendar are from the University’s historic library holdings, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections. For more information on the wide range of materials available, take a look at their website and blog or contact the curators on

Impact Campaign
Find out more about our Manuscripts development plans and how you can support us via the Impact Campaign website.

Posted in Philanthropy