Fringe Box



Season’s Greetings Edwardian Style

Published on: 28 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 28 Feb, 2012

By David Rose

Would you send a Christmas greeting on a postcard? Well, the Edwardians were happy to do so.

As the picture postcard craze swept through the UK in the early years of the 20th century, thousands of cards were published for the festive season.

At one end of the spectrum were cards specifically designed and illustrated with Christmas themes. At the other were street views (often already in circulation) but with the addition of a short and simple message printed over the top.

And if you did happen to leave it until the last moment to send your greeting, you would be safe in the knowledge that your postcard (or card in a sealed envelope) would reach its destination in time, as there was a postal delivery on Christmas Day. It’s said that every item sorted and franked by 9.30pm on Christmas Eve would be delivered the following morning.

There was a rather long message of woe written on the back of the postcard (seen right) with the printed words “Christmas Greetings” over an illustration of an ivy leaf and some holly. Part of the message reads: “Arthur went to the job at Kingston but only stayed a week. It was such a rotten job.” The card was sent from Tunbridge Wells to a Mrs and Mrs Jones at Brixton and is postmarked “23 Dec 12”.

The card showing a view of North Street, Guildford, and the words “With the Seasons Greetings” printed in red across the image was published by the Surrey Pictorial Post Card Company of Guildford. It is postmarked “Guildford, 6pm, Dec 23, 05”. It was sent to a Miss N. Green, Vale Lodge, Leatherhead. The sender wrote: “Dear Nell, just a line to thank you for you PC [postcard] and to wish you a happy Xmas & New Year. Hope you have not got this PC. Lily. Ha.”

Perhaps the sender, or the recipient, of the postcard with a view of Guildford railway station had an interest in trains? It is postmarked “21 Dec 11” and was sent to Mrs W. Bateman, Longwall, Littlemore, Oxford. The message on the reverse reads: “Just to wish you a happy Xmas and bright new year from yours sincerely R. V.” The card was published by Young of Guildford.

The postcard that includes the wording “Dear old Santa Claus” is an odd mixture of a photograph in the centre with some greenery and candles around the outside, drawn by an artist. It was published by a company going by the name of E. A. Schwerdtfger & Co, of London, and printed at its works in Berlin.

This postcard featuring New Road in Chilworth, near Guildford, with a simple message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”, printed over the top, does not have a message or recipient’s address written on the back. Perhaps the person who originally bought it had second thoughts about actually sending it as the scene is hardly festive. The photo must have been taken in summertime as there are leaves on the trees!

And finally, an American card published by the Ultimate Mfg. Co, N Y. It would appear to be more of a greetings card for the coming year. The message on the front reads: “Dear Ruth. Uncle Arthur, Charley, Ralph and Stanley wishes you many happy returns of the day. From Jack.” But Jack was not wishing them greetings of either Christmas or the new year. Oh no, sent from the USA to an address in Weston-super-mare, it is postmarked “June 21, 1906”.

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