Other postcards


Introduction


The Great Western Railway was not alone in using the medium of postcards to publicise their services, destinations or technical achievements, with most of the other railway companies also publishing their own sets of postcards. Some of these companies went on to produce many different series, much as with the GWR, and it would be prohibitive to attempt to collect them all. The scope of our collection is limited therefore to simply trying to find a representative example or two from each company. Those we have found so far are illustrated.

Our collection also holds a number of postcards by various other publishers, some of which have been used for illustration within the website. Having decided to feature non-GWR postcards it seemed logical to also include a page for these other similar items.

A potted history of British postcards



Rough Sea at Teignmouth
Unknown publisher, circa 1900

Rough Sea at Teignmouth
Undivided back

Rough Sea at Teignmouth
Unknown publisher, circa 1900

Rough Sea at Teignmouth
Undivided back

In 1870 the Post Office started selling plain cards with a pre-printed ½d stamp, the address would be written on one side of the card and the message on the other. From September 1894, the Post Office accepted postcards published by others and several manufacturers started to produce picture cards. These early cards were generally 4¾"x3½" in size (called 'Court' size) and, as only the address was allowed to be written on the plain back, messages were written in the space (often left for that purpose) around the picture on the front. In 1899 a standard size of 5½”x3½”, already in use in other countries, was adopted in Britain. In 1902 the Post Office changed its rules and allowed both message and address to be written on the back so postcard manufacturers began to issue cards with a line drawn down the middle of the back to show where the message and address should be written.

This postcard from our collection is an example of one of the early undivided back variety, with a vignetted image on the front which leaves space for a written message. Whilst not published by the GWR it does show one of their trains braving the sea spray whilst travelling along the embankment near Teignmouth.

The standard charge for posting a card remained at ½d until June 1918 when it was increased to 1d. This was raised to 1½d in early 1921 but was quickly reduced to 1d again in 1922. In 1926 the Post Office revised the sizes of postcard that were allowed to a minimum of 4"x2¾" up to a maximum of 5⅞"x4¼", but postcards larger than that became more common later in the century and postal charges were gradually increased.