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Smith, Brown and Robinson's Christmas adventure

In the first scene the gentlemen are depicted in front of a poster advertising the Christmas cruise, which looks like a good idea, although their trip doesn't go as smoothly as planned. In the second scene things are not going well for the travellers. The caption reads 'Smith, Brown and Robinson arrive too late for Christmas excursion'. Their ship 'SS Skylark' can be seen sailing away in the background. The smaller inset picture, captioned 'They attempt to go by rail' shows the unlucky trio standing in an empty train station with every ticket desk closed. In the third scene their luck has not improved. The caption reads 'Brown's happy idea: they get so far, but gates are closed. Smith shouts The caption for this latest episode in their journey reads 'Robinson quite puffed out suggests an easier mode of transport. Extra horse power is obtained.' Having abandoned their boat and set off across the ice the intrepid don't appear to be doing much better on skates, but the caption reveals some good news at last: 'A mighty frost detains the 'Skylark' enabling S, B and R to catch up and enjoy the fun.' The story ends, as all good adventures should, with a big feast. However it appears that even this was not straightforward. The caption says 'Thoughtful Captain prepares to spend Xmas day on board and sends crew to purchase extra provisions. S, B and R manage to procure some country fed geese'. In the background of the scene you can see them running across the snow each carrying a large goose, pursued by a man with a gun and a dog. In the final scene it seems that our travellers have been missed. The caption reads 'Smith, Brown and Robinson's friends anxiously awaiting their arrival'. The card's envelope has been kept. It shows that it was posted in Old Swan on 24 December 1882, addressed to Captain A Thomson, Westfield House, 33 Green Lane, Stoneycroft, near Liverpool.

This vintage Christmas card from the Decorative Art collection follows the adventures of Mr Robinson, James Brown Esq and 'The only Smith' as they attempt to join a Christmas cruise down the Manchester ship canal on SS Skylark. 

Their tale is told in a series of fold-out scenes - select each thumbnail above to follow the adventure.

This is just one of many greeting cards from the late 19th and early 20th century in the Decorative Art collection at National Museums Liverpool.

Accession number 1975.411.4