So far this month we’ve looked at the local Post Office locations and the letter boxes in the parish but what about what was sent. Postcards were popular from the late 19th century and are still available (although not so popular) today. Our ancestors however unlike us today made use of them widely, and today many old postcards are available on auction sites like eBay, at collectors fairs and family history shows. For many places the photos from old postcards are the only images we have of days gone by in towns and villages throughout the county. Many posts on this blog include images from old postcards some of which I have colourised too.

Example 1 – From my Grandparents photograph collection

This first image shows a photograph of my Grandfather Robert “Bob” John Bevis (1924-1982) the last of my direct line to be baptised in St Peter’s Church, St. Mary Bourne. Based on the uniform he is wearing it would have been taken 1946/7 during time he spent in Austria and would have been an official one taken by the Army.

Bob joined the army age 14 in 1938 after leaving school, he was a Bandsman in the Royal Hampshire Regiment and stayed in the army until 1953 after which he went back to work on the land as did all his forebears. On the reverse of this photograph you can see the lines printed for an address to be added and the dividing line between address and text he wrote:

To Mum & Pop, Best wishes. Bob

His parents were Herbert Charles Bevis (1899-1978) who was born in Wadwick and his mother was Elsie Golding (1896-1983) who was born in Binley. This simple message on the back of this military portrait, that he must have sent in an envelope doesn’t tell me much other than the name he called his father. That may not seem like much but still that is interesting as people call their parents different things, and often it changes over time. As I child like many it was Mummy & Daddy and as I got older it was Mum & Dad. I’m sure we all remember the moment in 2022 that the then Prince Charles called his mother Queen Elizabeth II, ‘Mummy’ a moment that was talked about worldwide and a surprise I’m sure to many. That was not personal to me, but still interesting but the word ‘Pop’ is personal, it’s lovely knowing what my Grandfather called his father. Although I was young when Bert died I do remember him, and very much remember my wonderful Grandfather Bob who also died young just a few weeks before my 12th birthday.

The second image is of the Hampshire Regiment Band in Solingen, Germany. I estimate this to be late 1945 as I know the band spent Christmas 1945 in Hilden, Germany and the photograph quality is similar to other photos I know were taken at that time. Bob is standing immediately in front of the black door, I can’t see what instrument he has in this photo it’s possibly symbols held at his side as I know he did play them during the Hampshire Regiment Freedom Parade in Winchester, September 1945. Again like the previous example this photograph has been printed onto a postcard as the lines again are on the back. Like before it’s clearly been posted in an envelope. This time it’s not to his parents but his ‘sweetheart’ my Grandmother Kathleen Vivienne Rose (1921-2001) who he met during the war in Winchester when she was serving there in the A.T.S.

This was taken on our last parade at “Solingen” Germany. “What do you think of it darling?”. Bob xxxx

If this was indeed taken in 1945 it would have been prior to their marriage that took place the following year in 1946. It’s a really sweet message that I’m sure meant a lot to her when she received it. I do love that he ended with four kisses.

It was very common for photographs to be printed on postcards, I also have older examples from the first part of the 20th Century of family members photographs that were printed on postcards.

Example 2 – A. Cook, village photographer postcards (my own collection)

Alfred Cook was a local photographer who lived on the High Street, St. Mary Bourne opposite the village shop. He took many photographs of the village in the first decade of the 20th Century which were used on postcards.

The first image shows Church Street, St. Mary Bourne and has written across the bottom: –

Aug 28. 1904
D[ear] Miss T, This is a view of the village where I have been staying, I have been away a month, I went to London for a few days.

I have no idea who wrote this or who Miss T is but it’s nice to see that a local card was sent somewhere and that the author wanted to make sure the Miss T knew what the place he or she was staying in looked like.

The second image of St. Peter’s Church, St. Mary Bourne and was sent to Mr. W. Baldwin, 26 Coventry Road, Reading states: –

It is quite convenient for me to come tomorrow Wednesday about 2.30 or after all being well. I hope it will be fine how very wet it was yesterday not much better today. With love, yours A.H. Nov. 14th 1905.

A couple of things I find interesting in this short message, firstly it has to be the fact that this message was written on a Tuesday and it was expected that Mr. Baldwin will have this card the next morning. I do remember the days when I was young when post arrived early before I left for school, and even second daily deliveries. Today we honestly never know when we are going to receive mail as sometimes we’ve all seen days, even weeks between deliveries and bundles when it does arrive. Secondly, the weather how very British this message is nearly 120 years old and today we still talk about the weather especially the rain which at present we seem to see most days despite it being the middle of May.

Example 3 – Postcard sent to the village (Clive Wedge, Postcard collection)

The first image shows an Easter postcard sent to Miss E. Hocking, The George Inn, St. Mary Bourne

Dear Etty, Many thanks for your postcard at Xmas hoping you are well. From E. Ashley

Not a card that tells us much but we do know it was sent on March 22nd 1913, Hungerford, Wiltshire and that Etta (Miss Hocking) had previously sent a Xmas Postcard to E. Ashley. Also as Easter Sunday in 1913 was March 23rd, I have to wonder whether the card was stamped the morning of March 22nd in Hungerford and delivered later that day in a second delivery in St. Mary Bourne.

The second image is of Charterhouse in Goldalming, Surrey and was sent in April 1907 to Mrs Selfe, Springhill, St. Mary Bourne.

M’s bicycle came back with me as far as the H[urstbourne] Station and is in the cloak-room. I forgot to say so when I called at the lodge to-day. Yours G. Parkes

From the message the G. Parkes sent to Mrs. Selfe it seems she borrowed a bicycle from M to get her back to the nearby train station but forgot to say before she left that she would leave it in the cloak-room presumably for someone else to collect later to return to M.

It’s interesting looking at the different messages we see today on old postcards and it makes me wish that all those holiday ones I have received over the years were still with me and not consigned to the bin after removal from the fridge door where they no doubt ended up upon receipt. It also makes me wonder, do any that I have sent from holiday still exist today, will they turn up somewhere in 100 or so years. It’s been a long time since I last sent one as today with social media it’s the norm to do updates (posts). In fact I like it that I can check in anywhere in the world and leave a statement, add photos etc. I know I can look back at that and those memories that come up are interesting. But what about the future, will our social media archives be available to descendants we’ll never know, will they be able to see the sometimes ridiculous things we write, the photos we share (obviously including the many awful selfies).

Anyway, it’s something to think about and I hope in the future any postcards received are kept instead of binned as they truly may be valued at a later date.

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