Norway first gave the people of London a big, big tree for Christmas in 1947 to thank Britain for its support during the war. They’ve been doing it ever since, and Trafalgar Square is currently graced with this towering annual gift for the seventieth consecutive year. I’ve found a few old film clips documenting this tradition. The first is from 1968. I’ve put it at the top because the footage is so crisp and the Pathé commentary so very…Pathé
This next snippet is undated but is from the roughly same period. We see the tree, shipped from Oslo, being unloaded at Deptford – that “minor damage” looks pretty serious to these eyes – and then hoisted into position next to Nelson. The second half of the clip covers the Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses, which dates from 1959. That was a new one on me, but, what do you know, the Royal Hospital Chelsea is still hosting it today.
Finally, here’s some Pathé footage from 1947 itself, when Norway bestowed its gift for the first time. It’s silent, but the moving pictures paint thousands of words about our city at that time.