Vintage London: World Postcard Day 2021.
Friday October 1, 2021 was World Postcard Day 2021. World Postcard Day is the global movement to do exactly what it says on the tin: Send postcards! If you'd like to participate in the snail mail revolution year-round I recommend checking out Postcrossing, the worldwide postcard exchange project. Thanks to the charity From Me To You for inviting me to join them on an Instagram Live from The Postal Museum in London, England for the day.
It was so fabulous to tune in and chat with Alison, co-founder of From Me To You, and Liz Kentish. I met "Liz K"in the the Letters Connect monthly letter writing workshops. It was hard not to be jealous of the epic Postal Museum where From Me To You were hosting a Postcard writing meetup and where Liz and Alison were live-streaming from. Needless to say we three were making more plans for my Spring 2022 trip to the U.K. I can't wait!
Earlier this year Alison and Lucy, founders of Letters Connect, invited me to talk about vintage postcards for a workshop. That was such a treat that I couldn't resist pulling out a few vintage English postcards on the Instagram Live to celebrate the Dublin-London element of the day. Read on for more of those beauties!
This card has no date and unfortunately a stamp collector got to the stamp before it came to the archive, so while I can't say much about the date specifically it's a really great treasure. It's soft to the touch with age and the style of penmanship on the reverse has me guessing it's like 1920s-30s rather than later. On the highly colorized front of the cart we can read: "The Strand and Charing Cross Station, London".
On the reverse, it says:
"I hope the herr. Mace is getting on all right. I will be especting a driver in your new pony trap when you have it yolked up. Mother + Evelyn sends there love to you. Love from Auntie Susan"
Hopefully I didn't bungle the transcription of that too much! The handwriting is doozy -- me thinks Auntie may have been writing from another pony trap! And would you look at that postmark...totally gone with whatever stamp was used to send this some hundred plus years ago to Saltmills in County Waterford, Ireland.
This beautiful "London: Tower and Tower Bridge" is the first of two to an "Elizabeth" in Ohio, U.S.A. These Postcards were donated to the archive by a friend of the project "@foundoldphotos" on Instagram. I love the focus on the trees and the idyllic fairy-tale-esque vibe of this souvenir card.
On the reverse, our writer Thomas confides in Elizabeth:
"I'm writing this from Fleet St. and Shoe Lane close to Dickenss 'Cheshire Cheese'.
Dear E -- went to Court today it was terrific! Saw the guard change of Buckingham Palace, and I live in a flat in West London (Westminster) you know, not far from the Palace! Here me lives in a stout on lane, not on. Thomas
(Plenty bomb dust met in here)"
Dated two days later, Thomas has shifted views slightly to "London: The Embankment". Here there's a bit more of city life captured, with busses and office buildings, still featuring the brilliant green of the many trees that to this day line the parks in London.
This was the reverse of the cards which I teased a few ideas from on the Instagram Live. I think Thomas has a brilliant way with capturing the very essence of his trip in just a few lines:
"Dear Elizabeth Am waiting in Waterloo Station for a confection from Southhampton. I'm learning my way about London. Having a suit made by the tailors to His Majesty. Shortly I shall visit Stratford-on-Avon and shall be here only a few more days then return to Mon Paris. London is terrifically efficient, courteous, well dressed (formally in day time) high hates, monocles, etc. Prices are high. have a perfect flat in Westminster. London itself only 1 mile square. Thomas."
Get in Touch.
Thanks again to Alison, Brian, and the From Me To You team for inviting me to join the festivities. And thanks to Liz Kentish for always being a smiling face on the screen (and a prolific Letter Writer!). Thanks to the Postal Museum for hosting the event, thanks to Postcrossing for their part in spreading the glory of Snailmail and thank you for reading! Do you have a letter story you'd like to share? Send us email -- we'd love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org