Colourful Christmas memories: Photos of festive celebrations from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s Britain depict children kissing under mistletoe and Santa sitting on Santa’s lap. A little girl is delighted with her holly haul.

  • Images of christmas celebrations from Britain in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s show an nostalgic side to Christmas cheer
  • Snaps of Father Christmas in London with his Lion Cub in 1937, and children posing around a tree in 1947.
  • Another image shows Santa Claus giving a boy his toy horse, and young couples sharing a kiss underneath the mistletoe.
  • Royston Leonard of Cardiff, Wales, was able to bring black-and-white photographs to life.


This collection of festive photos, which have been recoloured shows the joy children felt during Christmas celebrations in Britain in 20th-century Britain. 

Original black-and white photos are now vibrant with colour and depict how British families celebrated December 31st in 1930s, 40s and 50s. 

These photos show children in pressed pajamas waiting patiently in their Christmas trees in 1947 to get the paper crackers. 

Another image shows a young couple smoozing under mistletoe. It is proof that the tradition still lives on in 1950s America. 

In other photos, Santa Claus is surrounded by a stunned crowd and his strange assistant, the lion cub in London, 1937. 

A group of children in their pressed pyjamas huddle around the Christmas tree as they are handed paper decorations in London 1947

Children in press pyjamas cluster around the Christmas tree while they receive paper decorations from London 1947.

A young pair share a kiss under the mistletoe as they're surrounded by balloons, toys and bunting on Christmas

As they are surrounded by Christmas balloons, toys, and bunting, a young couple shares a moment of intimacy under the mistletoe.

Santa Claus surprises a stunned crowd with his Christmas gift in London in 1937. Children watch on as he holds a lion cub aloft

Santa Claus surprised a crowd by presenting a Christmas gift to Londoners in 1937. Watch as Santa Claus holds his lion cub high in the air. 

Father Christmas sits on a gold-plated throne and tries to crack a smile from a young boy who appears more interested in his beard than the decorative white toy horse he's holding in 1952

Father Christmas sits upon a golden-plated throne, trying to make a smile with a little boy who is more interested his beard that the toy horse made of white toys he held in 1952

A toddler wearing his red festive outfit in one of the restored photos doesn’t look like it’s filled with Christmas cheer, as he is pictured crying in torrents.

The 1952 photograph shows an incredulous toddler reaching for Santa Claus’ beard, while Santa Claus attempts to demonstrate his white-colored toy horse. 

Another scene is one in which a group of children are wildly excited when Father Christmas joins them for No. As he finishes his Christmas shopping on London’s famous Oxford Street, he takes the 6 bus.

One little girl, wearing a bright white bean cap, looks happy with her purchase. 

A crowd of giggling children can't believe their luck when Father Christmas casually join their queue for their No. 6 bus as he gets his last-minute Christmas shopping done on London's iconic Oxford Street in 1981

A gaggle of children are unable to believe their good fortune when Father Christmas appears and joins their line for No. He is on the 6 bus, getting his Christmas shopping completed in London’s famous Oxford Street.

In one of the restored photographs, a toddler dressed in his striking red seasonal outfit doesn't appear to be filled with much Christmas cheer as he's pictured in floods of tears amid a backdrop of neatly-wrapped presents

One of the photos shows a child dressed in a striking red Christmas outfit, but not filled with Christmas cheer. He’s shown in tears against a background of beautifully wrapped presents.

A little girl sporting a bright white bean hat looks delighted with her haul as she's pictured carrying a miniature Christmas tree and some holly home with her

The little girl in bright white bean hat is delighted to be carrying her Christmas tree miniature and some home decorations.

A young girl clutches Father Christmas' hand as he asks a group of children what they want to open on December 25 in 1951

One young girl clutches Father Christmas as he questions a group children about what Christmas they’d like to open.

A young visitor to Santa's grotto clasps her hands together in prayer as she speaks with the man in red in 1958

As Santa Claus talks to her, the young visitor in Santa’s Grotto prays and clasps her hands.

Little Margaret Hemmingfield of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, poses for a picture with Santa during a visit to London in 1948

Little Margaret Hemmingfield, Grimsby in Lincolnshire, takes a photo with Santa Claus during his 1948 visit to London 

The festive photographs of yesteryear were brought to life by colourist Royston Leonard, 56, of Cardiff, who has painstakingly brought the snaps into the 21st century. Pictured: London's festive celebrations in the 1950s

Royston Leonard (56), a Cardiff-based colourist, brought back the festive photos of yesteryear. He has meticulously translated the images into the 21st Century. Pictured: London’s 1950s Christmas celebrations

Young children patiently wait to share their Christmas wish-list with Santa as he and a girl marvel at a bauble together in 1957

As Santa watches over a young girl and her Christmas wishes, she patiently awaits.

The festive photographs of yesteryear were brought to life by colourist Royston Leonard, 56, of Cardiff, who has painstakingly brought the snaps into the 21st century.

A worker for the NHS explained that it is magical to experience Christmas as it used to be in its full color.

These photos can show how the loved ones are connected and what it was like to live with so little.

“The best thing about Santa Claus is seeing the joy and fun in their eyes,” said a child.

Many colourization projects require a lot of work. 

Photo editing software allows an artist to determine the various grey levels of each photo. Next, each frame of the black and-white photograph is brought alive with colour.