A J Chaston's Christmas Displays at Palmers 1903-1909 Part One

Christmas displays 1903-1905

By John Layton

A J Chaston was the gentleman responsible for the design and supervision of the construction of Palmers' electric illumination.  He also produced christmas displays, from 1903 to 1909, the first three of which can be seen here.

The first one comes with this newspaper clipping:

Have you seen the elephant?
The huge elephant which has been placed in Messrs Palmer Bros.' establishment in the Market Place is now holding daily receptions, and this fine shop is being simply stormed with his visitors.

Juveniles are marching through all day to see the elephant, which is certainly the biggest in the world, standing as it does 11ft (just over 3 metres) in height, and massively proportioned accordingly.  In a charming howdah sits his mahout, gorgeously attired in Oriental raiment, and wearing the smile that will not come off.  The eyes of this mammoth are illumined by electric rays, and he swings out his flexible trunk and swishes his tufted tail as to the elephantine manner born.  His forefeet are hobbled with chains in regulation style, and in every respect this elephant realises the infantile ideal.

Mr Chaston, its most ingenious designer and constructor, elaborated it from a model less than a foot (30cm) high, and has been working at it for months.  The huge head, furnished with formidable tusks, was the first portion completed, and the rest of the body was then built on to it.  Mr Chaston may be congratulated on the excellent results achieved.

This elephant is a most accommodating creature, for he has permitted a slot to be made in his near side foreleg, just below the shoulder, and a penny inserted so pleases him that he rings a bell, which he keeps conveiently in his spacious interior, throws open his capacious mouth, drops a present into a basket standing below, waves his trunk, and wags his tail.

He is too sedate for circus tricks, but it may with truth be said that he performs his allotted tasks with the precision of clockwork.

Photo:Christmas Display 1903

Christmas Display 1903


Photo:Christmas Display 1904 - Santa and Reindeer

Christmas Display 1904 - Santa and Reindeer


Photo:Christmas Display 1905 - Windmill

Christmas Display 1905 - Windmill


This page was added by John Layton on 12/01/2007.

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