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Visiting Santa

A visit to Santa is part of the Christmas magic for children.

Older readers will remember trips to Glasgow on the steam train to visit a department store like Copland & Lye, Pettigrew and Stephen or Lewis’s. In the toy department, there would be a long queue of boys and girls excitedly waiting to whisper in Santa’s ear just what they wanted for Christmas.

Carluke has had its own Santa’s Grottos. In 1956, the Wishaw Press gave this report on a magical place in Paterson’s in the High Street.

“A cavern has been created with most novel and realistic effect ……… The passageways, alcoves and fireplaces all seem to be hewn from solid rock, which encrusted at points with diamante, along with the dimly lit lanterns achieve a most unusual lighting effect. Santa, though, is well illuminated in his alcove where he receives his guests. His robes of fluorescent red material trimmed with ermine add the finishing touches to a really magnificent tableau, surpassing many of the large city store creations.

Popular Christmas music accompanies the pitter-patter of the tiny visitors’ footsteps on their visit to Santa, whom it is claimed is the only bi-lingual Santa in Great Britain.

The design was the work of Mr Jim Russell assisted by Mr James Paterson and the project was completed in a period of three weeks.”

Perhaps some will remember the Santa grotto constructed on the stage of the old Town Hall by members of Carluke Round Table. This was in the 1970s.

In more recent years, many garden centres in the Clyde Valley have had Santa sitting in magical settings. A miniature railway has also transported children to somewhere near the North Pole.

Why not send us your memories of visits to Santa in and around Carluke?

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