Much has been written of the
delights of Tenby, the town in which I live and work. Visitors
have constant praise and occasional criticism of the area but
many return year after year.
Charles Norris, renowned local
artist and writer, mentions the following in his book, An Account
of Tenby, in 1818: 'The principal advantages which Tenby enjoys
over other sea bathing places, consist in the variety of its aspects,
the strength and clearness of the salt water, the firmness and
extent of the sands, the purity of its air, and its freedom from
the smoke of works, and from the noise and confusion of more frequented
and commercial sea ports.'
Postcard: Unknown Mayor of Tenby by G.W.
I have many fond childhood
memories of Tenby and as an adult have collected any memorabilia
and printed ephemera of the town and surrounding areas. Postcards
and photographs have always delighted me and the search for new
materials is endless. I have been helped by many warm, equally
interested collectors in the neighbourhood and further afield.
Whilst collecting postcards, I have learned a large number of
facts about their development, which may help you date your own:
*In 1859 Tenby's first letter
box was set up in the Norton.
*The first plain postcard originated
in Austria in 1869. Britain followed in 1870, and in the mid-1870s
the first picture postcards appeared.
*Our first picture postcard
appeared in 1894.
*In 1902 Britain became the
first country to divide the back of postcards into two for address
and message to appear on one side.
*'The Golden Age' of postcards
ranged from 1902-1914. In the pre-telephone period, this represented
the cheapest and quickest way of getting messages to people. It
was quite common for a postcard to be posted in the earliest daily
postal collections and arrive early enough to notify the recipient
that: 'I shall arrive at 3 o'clock today.'
*This was also a Golden Era
for collecting postcards. 'I hope that you like this card for
your collection,' was a regular message seen at the time.
*The oldest card posted from
Tenby is listed as being 13 Aug. 1900. If you have an earlier
example please let me know so that the record may be updated.
*World War I saw a reduction
in the printing of postcards as the majority of British cards
prior to this period had been printed in Germany. Of course, many
postcards were sent from the Front and many still exist in family
circles to this day, especially those termed 'silk' which were
embroidered sentimental cards sent home by the soldiers on active
service to their loved ones.
Postcard: Unknown 'Scotsman' by H. Mortimer
*Between the wars there was
a decline in picture postcard collecting, There may be reasons
for this, e.g., the recovery needed after the horrors of World
War I, the doubling of the inland postal rate for postcards, the
developmental use of the growing telephone systems and the need
for businesses to re-establish themselves after the damage caused
by the war.
*World War II saw a slight
rise in popularity in the production and collection of cards,
especially in the Aviation and Military series and those that
dealt with political and military personalities.
*From the 1950s, interested
collectors formed clubs and groups to re-establish the hobby which
received a massive boost in 1970 with the travelling Centenary
Exhibition of Postcards run by the Victoria and Albert Museum,
and the increasing number of magazines, sales lists and Postcard
Catalogues. The one I refer to, IPM, has been running since 1975.
*Today, there are numerous
fairs across the country dealing with the sale of photographs
and postcards. As a trades person in Tenby, I am delighted to
share in viewing all types of collections and am pleased to bring
enjoyment to visitors perusing postcards in Cofion.
In my personal experience,
I have been amazed at the range of collecting in the postcard
world. It is a healthy hobby that attracts people from all walks
of life. Many friendships have evolved through collecting cards
and related items. There are many people who have a keen interest
in discovering new cards of their hamlet, village or town.
At work, I am surrounded by collections from the past. The Tudor
Merchant House has constant visitors through its season. Tenby
Museum has a wonderful range of artefacts, art and local exhibitions,
library and postcard collections, and provide assistance with
family history research. From Cofion's window I can see the townhouse
in which Charles Norris once lived, and have a beautiful view
of a section of the harbour.
Postcard: Unknown by G.W. Barnes
In order to find local cards,
I have had to travel miles around the country. I am constantly
amazed at the number of cards produced in, and taken of Tenby.
I even found one in a Parisian street market. I take great pleasure
in examining all the photographs and art work on local cards as
they all reveal something different each time. Norris and other
artists used their media to capture scenes of Tenby, whereas the
camera helps us identify a unique moment in time, the event, the
people, the family and the slight changes that occur through natural
The messages on the cards also
reveal the attitudes of people visiting Dinbych-y-Pysgod. A photographic
card published by HB & S Ltd. [Bristol], showing Castle Hill
and Royal Victoria Pier saw David writing to Splott, Cardiff,
from Clarence House, 1, Esplanade:
Pleased to say we're all
O.K. at Tenby. Weather not so bad: a little misty rain. Had shocks
this a.m: Saw a dirigible passing over the bay - wasn't a Zepp.
though, worse luck. Quite pleased with the place, etc., quite
pretty. [Tenby, 11th September 1916].
Another card posted on 17th
June 1949 to Watford, Herts. shows a sepia photograph with a single
car in a quiet street outside the Five Arches:
Thank you for your letter and good wishes & Mummy &
Daddy & Treun too.
I had a lovely birthday with a bathe in the morning and a coach
ride to Bosherston, St. Govan's Head and Stack Rocks. The guillemots
were thick on the top of the rocks and made such a noise. Granny
and I are sitting down by the harbour watching the tide coming
in and the children digging on the sand and bathing. We wish you
and Treun & Ruth & Derek were here.
We shall be sorry to leave tomorrow.
With love to you all from Quintine Jan.
98 words for the price of the
card plus 2d postage!
On a card posted from Tenby
to Hanwell on 14th July 1954 'A' records:
Today is smashing, we are
exploring Tenby, it is a lovely place. Smashing views. Sitting
on the beach now, in the exact spot this p.c. is showing, The
building on the rock is a monastery, we have seen 2 or 3 monks
in the town. Boy! oh Boy! this is the life, no work, smashing!
wish you were here to enjoy it.
Unfortunately, despite the
joy, there appears to be some confusion as to the home of the
monks seen in town as the postcard is a watercolour, Salmon published,
of St. Catherine's Rock by the artist AR Quinton!
Another card showing a photographic aerial view of Tenby posted
19th August 1966 reveals:
What lovely weather we've
had this week! It's a pity Joy &Co. weren't here this week.
Very high & very low tides. On Wednesday evening there were
water-skiing demonstrations in North Bay [round Goscar] - still
hoping to get to Caldey but haven't managed it yet. The pleasure
boats are packed today. A steamer went to Ilfracombe. It would
be a very quick way for me to go to Pat's - I am going there on
Monday next. Hope you are having a good time. Much love, D.
The card was posted to Anchersholme,
I have always admired the art
of the photographer, from the earliest periods to the present
day. I remember saving up my pocket money for my first basic camera,
one in the Coronet range, and still have the earliest shots at
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