Monday, August 10, 2009


Like my blogging friends Lucia in Toronto and Anne in Oxfordshire, I love receiving postcards so I was delighted when this one arrived from Lucia last week:

Lucia was wondering whether it is possible to buy postcard albums and I thought I'd show her, and all of you, mine:

In this I have postcards which I collected when I first visited Sicily, such as these of the birthplace of the playwright Pirandello in Agrigento

and these of the figures in the crib of the Church of Santa Maria di Betlem in Modica:

But when I was a little girl I was given a completely different sort of postcard album. My parents' shop in Bristol was sandwiched between two dry-cleaning establishments and the one on the left belonged to Fred and Rosie Matthews. I called them "Auntie Rosie and Uncle Fred" although they were not relations. Older than my parents, they used to make a fuss of me and one day, when I was about three, they gave me an enormous album full of postcards. Most of these were of World War 1 scenes in France but there were also older postcards of continental scenery and buildings. I was immediately fascinated by them but why "Uncle Fred" wanted to get rid of them just then and why he had decided to consign his memories to a three-year-old girl, I never knew. Perhaps they had seen me, from over the fence, sitting in the garden with my nose, even then, always in a book, turning the pages carefully as I had been taught.

As I turned the pages of the album, I fell in love with the hues of the scenic cards:

I also loved the cards with pictures of people for the fashions told their own stories of a more leisurely, elegant age [for the rich]. I have the first of these two framed:

This is just the outfit to go adventuring in, don't you think?

These two ladies are sitting in a courtyard at Lourdes. If they were ailing, I do hope they were made well:

And how about this for the good old days of travel? [The Folkestone boat arriving at Boulogne.]

Brought up on stories of the Second World War, from postcards I began to learn about the First, the "war to end wars". A concept of the grief and devastation that war causes began to enter my head:

Regular readers will have seen this postcard before as I have used it in previous posts about war. It reads, "I often see my mother crying and I wipe her tears away with a kiss".

There are also one or two funny cards, dating from the WW1 years. Here is one that I have framed and I often wish I had heeded its advice more often. ["I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."]

However, there are some cards that I will not display, such as this one from a hunting series:

And the sentiments that accompany these portraits of King George V and Queen Mary are too imperialistic for my taste!

Later my Dad added some postcards of another George to my collection, for he had watched King George V1's Coronation procession from the Albert Memorial:

I might have been able to sell that one for a packet, especially around the time of the Queen Mother's death, if I hadn't, as a child, decided that Their Majesties' crowns would be improved by a little blue colouring in the centre! [I have tried, reader, but it won't come off.]

I hope you have enjoyed this "tour" of my postcard collection. Uncle Fred's album fell apart in the 1960s but I always treasured its contents. The three-year-old girl has kept them for over half a century and who knows? Perhaps leafing through that album engendered in me a curiosity about foreign parts and a desire to decipher the words on the cards. Thank you, Uncle Fred and Auntie Rosie!


Unknown said...

Wow...what a fabulous collection you have, I do someday one of my descendants will enjoy my collection as much as you enjoy yours...thanks so much for sharing, I keep scrolling over those old postcards, what fabulous shots xo

jmb said...

I am sure you treasure that wonderful collection. Isn't it funny how something serendipitous can start us on a lifelong path.

Thanks for sharing them with us.

Unknown said...

Fascinating postcards, and it is wonderful that you have cared for them for all these years.

Minnie said...

How lovely, and what an wonderful collection - of evocative memories as well as 'simple' postcards.
Such a moving and interesting account of the range and depth of some childhood memories - and, yes, the past can yield glimpses into the future in so many ways.
I'm sure I, too, ruined things with an 'embellishing' crayon ;-)!
Thanks for the memories, Welshcakes!

Whispering Walls said...

What a fabulous collection, WL! It's tempting to frame old postcards but an abum keeps them in the dark and in better condition. Sothebys does decent trade in Victorian postcards.

Sean Jeating said...

Lovely idea,lovely realised, Lady Limoncello. A pleasure for my eyes. Thank you.

Saretta said...

I love those old postcards, such a slice of time travel! I also used to collect such things...until I developed allergies to dust and mold! Woe is me! :-)

Lucia said...

Wow, glad the postcard made it. You have quite the collection. I'm going to look for one of those books and start putting my postcards in it from over the years!

jams o donnell said...

THat is a great collection of postcards there Welshcakes

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Kyles. I'm sure your descendants will enjoy your collection, too. Hi, jmb. Yes, it is strange, that. My pleasure to share the cards. Thanks, Lost. Thank you, Phidelm. We "embellishers" must stick together! Thanks, WW. Well, I frame the ones that give me pleasure. Thank you, dear Sean. Hi, Saretta. I've got a dust allergy too! Glad you like the cards. Hi, Lucia. I must get these older cards back into albums, too. Thank you, jams.

Barbara said...

Hi Welshcakes,
Wow !! That is a supurb collection !
I do not collect postcards, but I like old images very much ( this includes old photos too). I'am a hobby genealogist, and when I see old images of the places where my family lived, it is fascinating for me.

Thanks again for sharing :)

Gledwood said...

I love old stuff like that. I used to have loads and loads of cigarette cards my grandad gave me. He must have smoked like a chimney as you only got one per box and I had an entire shoebox full!!!!

That royal family one's funny. Crowns on at jaunty angles. They'd obviously been at the gin by that hour of the day ...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Barbara. I am so glad that you like my collection. I can imaging that seeing images of places where your family members lived must be fascinating and very moving.
Hi, Gleds. What happened to your cigarette cards? You're right - those two do look as if they've been on the gin!


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