I’m posting a rather seasonal question which some readers might know the answer to (an internet search has so far yielded zero).
I recall, whilst growing up in Nottingham (UK) in the late-1950s and 60s, one of our Christmas decorations was a small Chinese lantern (the concertina paper type which collapse flat for storage). I was reminded of this recently through a posting on a Nottingham nostalgia Facebook page, somebody else posted a picture of one they’d had and I was amazed at how many people wrote in claiming that they also had them.
So, my question is how did these lanterns get to the UK? I wonder if there’s a Hong Kong link as I’m not sure if contact with mainland China in those days would have been sufficient to yield this sort of product on the mass market. Maybe something to do with civil service or forces postings? Certainly nobody from our family (and probably our community, mostly mining) would have ventured this far. Having said that, I suppose there was a fascination with the orient in those days as I also remember several Chinese characters in the early Rupert Bear stories !
An interesting festive conundrum perhaps?