Past in pictures: Our ancestors at Easter

By Jon Bauckham, 29 March 2018 - 5:42pm

From swimming in chilly lakes to scoffing chocolate eggs, we've dug into the photo archives and picked out the best pictures of bygone Easter celebrations...
 

Well-earned rest

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A happy crowd dance on Hampstead Heath in 1892 during the Bank Holiday break from work – note the women's elaborate hats! Photo: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images.

 

Easter parade

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Yeomen warders at the Tower of London c1926 are inspected on the occasion of escorting the governor of the tower to the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, an Easter Sunday custom. Photo: The Print Collector/Getty Images.

 

60lb egg

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Excited children watch a chef put the finishing touches to the icing on a giant Easter egg created for the benefit of Middlesex Hospital, 1930. Photo: Miller/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

 

Teddy bearettes

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Five-year-olds from Crouch End High School for Girls show off the teddy bear outfits they wore for an Easter term display of costume dances and physical culture, 1935. Photo: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images.

 

Taking the plunge

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This group of swimmers, photographed on 13 April 1936, are about to dive into the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park in the annual Easter Monday swimming race. Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis/Getty Images.

 

Pick and mix

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Orphans from Castlebar Nursery School in Sydenham, who have been evacuated to Mersham-le-Hatch near Ashford in Kent, celebrate Easter while awaiting adoption. Photo: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images.

 

All's fair

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On 20 April 1946 Alec Shields, a stoker in the navy, accompanies Grace Atwell to an Easter Fair in London shortly before demobilisation. In his arms are the prizes he has won at the various stalls. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images.

 

Villages at play

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Every Easter Monday rival teams from Hallaton and Medbourne in Lancashire compete in the traditional game of 'bottle kicking', fighting to wrestle three 'bottles' – two kegs of beer, plus one of solid wood – into each village's goal. The event has taken place for centuries, and continues to this day; this photo of the procession before the game was taken c1967. Photo: SSPL/Getty Images.

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