Christmas pudding given to Royal Navy sailor 120 years ago goes on display

A 120-year-old Christmas pudding given to Royal Navy sailors fighting in the Boer War has gone on display.

The traditional tinned pudding, thought to be one of the oldest in the world and which was part of a batch of 1,000 sent to Royal Naval personnel fighting in southern Africa, is to be exhibited at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

120 year old Christmas pudding
120 year old Christmas pudding

A museum spokesman said: “The tinned pudding was discovered in the back of a cupboard at a family home in Poole in 2011.

“It is thought to be the oldest Christmas pudding in the world.

“It is believed to be one of 1,000 puddings made by Peek, Frean & Co and sent to naval personnel involved in land-based operations in southern Africa during Christmas 1899.

“The puddings were commissioned by Agnes ‘Aggie’ Weston, a philanthropist who became famous for her kindness to sailors during the Boer War, who went on to became the first woman to be given a full ceremonial Royal Navy funeral and whose charitable work towards sailors and their families continues to this day.”

The spokesman added: “Although it is highly unlikely the pudding would still be edible after 120 years, the decorative tin still features instructions for preparation.”

The tin displays the message: “For the Naval Brigade, In the Front, With Miss Weston’s Best Christmas & New Year, 1900, Wishes.”