Tag Archives: collecting

Picture Postcard Parade: West Street, Horsham

4 Apr

This postcard shows one of the main shopping streets in Horsham, Sussex and as such is not particularly unusual. The reason I bought it was to do with the message more than anything else.

West Street, Horsham, West Sussex is now pedestrianised and I pass along it almost every evening on my way home from work. Although the shop fronts have changed the upper floors and roofs of many of the buildings haven’t altered a great deal, on the outside at least.

The interest is in the subject of the message, postcard collecting. To save you standing on your head here is the message the right way up.

Mr D. Bryce of East Street, Horsham was sending this to a fellow collector of PPCs (Picture Postcards) with the hope of receiving similar cards in return. Note the request for views only, obviously he wasn’t interested in postcards of flowers or kittens or such like. The address side of the card adds further interest to the card.

Not only is the card being sent to Mademoiselle A. Trabuchet in France and the postmark reveals quite an early posting date of the 7th July 1903, but it also provides an excellent illustration of the postal regulations in force at the time.

For foreign countries only the front of the card could be used for the message and cost of postage was double the usual rate of half a penny. I am not sure whether this was the official rate for France or whether the sender was just being over-cautious. Either way Mr D. Bryce must have been a very keen collector, I wonder if he got any cards in return?

Picture Postcard Parade: West Dean Church

19 Oct

The postcard below is one that I have had for quite a while. It shows the ivy clad St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex and a few of the headstones in the churchyard.

West Dean Church

There is not a lot more that can be said about this postcard. The card was posted from West Dean on the 6th September 1920 and sent to Mrs C BOXALL of Brown Hill Farm, Ashington, Sussex. The BOXALL connection was naturally of interest, but from what I can find it doesn’t look like this Mrs BOXALL was a close relation.

In light of my current obsession with the parish of West Dean I have decided that I am going to start seriously collecting picture postcards of the parish. It is not that I haven’t been collecting them already, just that I haven’t been making a special effort to find them.

What makes collecting postcards of West Dean (in West Sussex) particularly challenging is the fact that not only is there another West Dean in East Sussex (as I previously mentioned), but also one in neighbouring Hampshire. From what I saw at the Shoreham Postcard Fair last Saturday most postcard dealers don’t distinguish between the eastern and western parishes, and sometimes Hampshire cards are to to be found amongst the Sussex cards. Likewise I probably should check for Sussex cards in with the Hampshire cards.

Examining postcards of an area, working out where the views were taken from and when, is a great way of learning about a place and how it has changed over the years, although of course the bulk of the postcards I am likely to find will only cover a short period of time, probably from 1900 to 1930.

Apart from learning more about the parish of my ancestors the other bonus is that my increased attention on West Dean postcards will hopefully turn up a postcard sent to (or by) one of my closer relations.

Six reasons why postcard collecting is like family history research

28 Sep

As I sat on the train making my way to the postcard fair at Woking last Saturday I started considering the similarities between postcard collecting and family history research. I came to the conclusion that there is some common ground between them which probably explains why I love doing them both.

1. The thrill of the chase is as important as the end result – If someone handed you a neatly bound, fully sourced copy of your complete family history you would probably be interested, but not as interested as if you had put in all the effort and done the research yourself. In the same respect if someone handed you an album of postcards you would be pleased, but you would be lacking the experiences and feelings that go with the whole process of searching and discovering.

2. It can take a long time to find what you want – Patience is a virtue they say, and never more so than when it comes to family history research and postcard collecting. There may be some short cuts (and the internet has made things easier), but in both cases it might take a long time to find what you are looking for, that is if you find it at all.

3. The thrill of discovery is a huge part of the experience – Nothing beats the feeling of finding the answer to a particularly difficult question, or locating a missing ancestor who has been hiding for years. Well, the same feeling of euphoria is experienced when you discover a particularly unusual, unexpected or long sought after postcard.

4. Each discovery leads to more questions – Every record you discover seems to lead to more questions, finding a missing individual is just the start of a longer process of find out more about the individual. Discovering a new postcard can also be the start of a longer research process, so many more questions are raised such as who is on the postcard? What does it look like now? Who published it? When was it published? Who was it sent to? What does the message tell you?

5. You never know quite what you are going find – A good example is the WW1 British Army Service Records, you may not be certain that someone served with the army during WW1, and until you actually look you don’t know whether the record survived. With postcards there is very rarely any way of knowing what postcards were actually published and how many examples (if any) have survived.

6. The internet has made both of them a lot easier – It may not be the complete solution and of course not everything is on the internet, but it has become a lot easier to find you ancestors and postcards online these days. The postcard collecting community hasn’t embraced the internet as whole-heartedly as the family history community (but it is getting there) and sites like eBay make adding postcards to your collection far too easy!

Do you share my passion for postcards? Do you think there are other similarities between family history research and postcard collecting? What do you think makes them different? Let me know in the comments below…

Picture Postcard Monthly now available through online subscription

2 Apr

Picture Postcard Monthly describes itself as “the top magazine for collectors of old and modern postcards worldwide”. Whilst there is a definite bias toward UK material, there is still much to interest postcard collectors worldwide.

Although it has previously been available by post for readers outside the UK (through an annual subscription), it is now (from the March 2010 edition) also available online as a pdf download, again through an annual subscription.

The magazine covers all aspects of postcard collecting, from old to modern, news and events, research on publishers, photographers and artists, book reviews, articles on subjects or places on postcards. There is an article index on the website which will give you some idea of the wide range of material covered.

Currently on the publisher’s website (Reflections of a Bygone Age) there are two sample issues available for download. So not only can you see what has been going on in the UK postcard collecting scene, but there are also some wonderful articles in the two editions.

In the November 2009 edition there is an article of Sussex interest about the Bonfire Night celebrations in Lewes. In the December 2009 edition I really enjoyed reading about Jacob Popp the High Wycombe shop-keeper and his continued defiance of the Sunday trading laws.

I am not sure if I can give up getting the printed edition, partly because it gets passed around the family after I have finished with it, but it would be such a great way of keeping back issues of the magazine without having to take up precious shelf space.

I just can’t stop buying postcards

11 Oct

Whether it is in person at postcard fairs or online on eBay, I just can’t seem to stop buying postcards. Now I have even started buying postcards for no other reason than they would look good on my blog, trouble is I never get around to writing about them.

I went to another postcard fair today, in fact it was a Stamp and Postcard Fair, at Broadbridge Heath, Sussex. It would be wrong to say I have no interest in stamps, but I certainly don’t collect them and would have no idea where to start, so naturally it was the postcards I was after.

Postcard were not very well represented will only one decent size selection, but there were enough Sussex cards there to keep me busy for an hour or so before I had to walk back into Horsham to catch my bus home.

I came away with eight or nine postcards, of various places and subjects. I promise you will see some of them in the coming months. The postcards were a very good price to, so often I see cards that are a silly price, well outside of my price range and I wonder if they will ever sell, but today’s were really good value.

Now I think I am going to have to get some more pages for my postcard album, because I am getting seriously low on space!

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