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Victorian Chocolate Goes on Display at Military Museum

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A TIN of chocolate that's one-hundred-and-thirteen years old has gone on display at a military museum in south east London.

The confectionery was sent to troops overseas to mark the new year, and the new century, in 1900 by Queen Victoria.

Army tin at Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich
An army chocolate tin

The exhibit is part of a seasonal display of Christmas boxes for soldiers at Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum, in Woolwich.

Princess Mary is usually credited with coming up with the annual Christmas box for troops, which she first sent in 1914 - fourteen years after Queen Victoria sent her New Year's tin of chocolate.

Richard Smith-Gore from Firepower explains:

"The 1900 boxes were sent out to soldiers who were in South Africa to lift their spirits at New Year. They were filled with a solid bar of chocolate which as a real luxury at the time. One of our tins still contains the original bar and smells just as fresh as an expensive bar you would buy today.

"Cadbury’s, Fry’s and Rowntree all made the boxes, but as they were all run by Quakers who are pacifists the tins did not carry any company logos.

"Princess Mary is credited with the first Christmas Box in 1914 some fourteen years later as Queen Victoria’s was a New Year Box. Personally I think we should let Princess Mary have the credit as Queen Victoria is credited with so much already."

Richard Smith-Gore
Army chocolate box
Army chocolate box

The Firepower Museum is at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich.

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