Victorian bauble keeps hanging on

Annabel Smith, 78 holding the silver bauble
Annabel Smith, 78 holding the silver bauble
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This beautiful silver bauble has been lighting up Christmas trees for over 140 years – making it possibly the country’s oldest festive decoration.

Leeds pensioner Annabel Smith, 78, who is pictured with the glass bauble which she was given as a family heirloom, told how it dates back to 1870 when it was bought for her grandfather John Swann.

The festive fixture was purchased in the year A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens died, midway through Queen Victoria’s reign.

Annabel said: “The story goes that my grandfather was only a baby and he would see this bauble hanging in the shop window of a little store in Newcastle.

“He would cry out for it when he went past and his parents bought him it for Christmas. It has been in my family ever since.”