150 years ago On Christmas day 1859 the poet/painter Edward Lear arrived at the Hotel Bristol in Marseilles after a rapid journey across France on the new railways system: "Suffered from heat & cramps at first but wore thro' the night to Dijon at 2½ , & at Lyons by 6½. After that the weather cleared, & I read and looked out of windows at the mountains beyond Valence. All the better for it and afterwards the olives and stones. But the afternoon clouded and became wet. At Marseilles by 3½ . No bother with luggage. Came to Hotel Bristol, washed & dressed by 5 – table d'hôte dinner tolerable. 2 sets of English & a very nice fellow, Dr Chisholm, from India. Came to bed @ 9 and slept well."
There was still a Bristol Hotel in Marseille, at 18 Canabiere (pictured) up until around the 1960s, but there is no longer one there now.
70 years ago On Christmas day 1939 the veteran US journalist Ed Murrow (left) gave his regular 5-minute broadcast from Warsaw: "For reasons of national as well as personal secucrity I am unable to tell you the exact location from where I am speaking," he told his American audience on NBC. "Spread out beyond the roof before me is a vast sea of darkness, patchily illuminated by burning buildings... Off to the west is a line of fire that marks the location of the battle line between the German and Polish armies, a line marked by the muzzle flashes of artillery, flares hanging in the air between the two armies and burning buildings that have been struck by shells. That line goes off beyond the horizon in either direction, reaching all the way to the Lithuanian border in the north and all the way to the Czechoslovak border in the south."
.....In fact Murrow was speaking from the terrace outside the Paderewski suite in the Hotel Bristol, still a high spot in the city.