Reading List

Sunday 10 April 2011

The Emely Post

A few weeks ago I was invited to an artists' residence called The Emely Post at Frances Bardsley School for Girls in Romford, on the outskirts of London.

Two artists, Rosalie Schweiker and Denise Hickey, have created the most extraordinary postal den. It's brilliant.

Students go to tinker with old typewriters, put messages in bottles or simply leave notes for friends in pigeon holes.

Over lunch, a group of us (some students, Denise and I) discussed how Edwardians used postcards. We each read out the message on an old postcard. Then chatted about the stories that lay behind the cards and how the way we communicate has changed over time.

Next, looking at the messages as a whole, we identified some of the techniques the Edwardians used when writing postcards.

So here are some of the Edwardian techniques we discovered;

tilt the stamp if you want to show your affection for the person you are sending the card to

use code if you want to hide what you're saying from prying eyes

make your message snappy if you want to have the most impact, and

think about how you can relate the message on the back to the picture on the front.

Finally, we put these techniques to work by replying to some of the cards we'd read out. Exhausting stuff... but great fun.

Thanks go to the girls, and to Denise and Rosalie... and good luck with future projects!

PS A date for your diary

I'm giving a talk on postcard messages at Clerkenwell Design Week for the British Postal Museum & Archive on Thursday 26 May.

If you'd like to come along, please do. It's going to take place at 7pm at the Phoenix Centre in Farringdon, London.

If you want to reserve a ticket call 020 7239 2570 or email to book. For more details click here.