Reading List

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Picture Postcard World of Nigel Walmsley

Edwardian postcards make it onto the small screen on Thursday with The Picture Postcard World of Nigel Walmsley.

Jake Hayes and the rest of the BBC4 team did a great job unpacking their history. Messrs Tuck, Hartmann, Gladstone and all the other postcard heroes would be very proud. And I really enjoyed getting the chance to tell the stories of Dorothy and Miss Emerson.

As well as helping out on the documentary, I've been busy finishing my dissertation on the mysteries of old cards. Thanks for everyone's support. Now that it's handed in (phew!) I'll be writing up bits on Postcardese. Really looking forward to hearing what people think.

As I wrote it I realised the importance of this card from Meg to M. That word on the second line, "tonight", has had an impact on how I see all pre-WW1 cards.

Franked in Putney at 10.45am, Meg was so sure of the Edwardian postal service she was able to plan a trip to the theatre that very evening:

"H and I are going to see the "Girl on the Stage" tonight, would you care to join us..."

With one word the card reveals how postcards were not like they are now. As the documentary explains, rather than being a sign of not caring about the timeliness of a message, they could be sent and received within hours.

And because of this, they become such curious objects. On the one hand foreign, signifying a way of life that has disappeared. But on the other, eerily prescient of our instant means of communication today.

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy the programme. It will be on BBC iPlayer for a few weeks if you miss it on Thursday.

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Or follow @postcardese on Twitter. It's like a 21st century version of the postcard ;)


  1. Yours was the best part of the show~! Hope that man finds a postcard of his mayor grandpa.

  2. I have been a collector, enthusiast and part-time dealer in postcards for a while now and it's nice to see something on the TV or general media that does not imply that all there is to postcard collecting is the saucy McGill types (though they had to mention that of course). I have several themes for collecting but I am always fascinated by personal, odd and romantic messages, journey history etc. The back of the card is just as intersting as the front.

  3. I missed it, sob, hurray for iplayer.
    BTW You asked about the photo header on my blog, the location is High Nibthwaite on the eastern shores of Coniston Water. I once did a post on the village on my other blog

  4. wow wonderful jobs...........