Every year since 1947, the city of Oslo has presented the people of London with a Christmas Tree.
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The tree is typically a 50- to 60-year-old Norway spruce, generally over 20 metres tall. It is cut sometime in November during a ceremony attended by the British Ambassador to Norway, Mayor of Oslo, and Lord Mayor of Westminster. After the tree is cut it is shipped to Great Britain by sea and placed in Trafalgar Square. At the base of the tree stands a plaque, bearing the words:
This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.
In the past, the tree was shipped to Millwall Docks free of charge by the Fred Olsen Line, a company with strong Island links (Canary Wharf was named at their request in the 1930s, and they later operated a cruise liner terminal in Millwall Docks).
Jim Howe was kind enough to share these photos of his father Bill after just unloading the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree from the Black Prince (Fred Olsen ship) in the 1960s.
After the closure of the Millwall Docks. the Fred Olsen Line shipped the tree via Felixstowe. These days (since 2007) the tree is shipped across the North Sea to Immingham by DFDS Tor Line.
The tree remains in the square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it is taken down and chipped and composted, to make mulch. That’s about how I feel after the Christmas and New Year period.