Meet the Collection: Postcards

by Helen Young

At Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust we have heaps and heaps of postcards of amazing images from in and around the Royal Borough of Greenwich, most dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. 

The Victorians and Edwardians were profligate letter writers, often sending one another notes two, three, four times a day. The backs of postcards were scribbled with messages of congratulations, best wishes, salutations, sympathises, and invitations and of course, with holiday greetings. Some of our postcards are covered in spidery handwriting which covers every spare inch of white space. In some ways they were like the text messages or tweets which we exchange on a daily basis. Of course postcards, like today, were also bought as reminders of a holiday, or a visit to a house, church or monument - a keepsake of a lovely day out. They were also used to send Christmas greetings and anonymous Valentines messages. 

The Meet the Collection project has been taking many of our postcards out to events around the borough so that people are getting the chance to see for themselves these wonderful snaps shots of holidays and days out from a by gone era. The range of images which we hold is really wide and we hold several thousand postcards so the RGHT collections team are always able to select images which are local or relevant to the different MtC events. At Eltham Library we were fortunate enough to meet school children from Gordon Primary school and to show them a postcard from 1930 showing what a classroom looked like at that time. The children enjoyed seeing what had changed and what has remained the same during the 90 years since the image was taken.  Similarly Greenwich Civil Service Retirement fellowship enjoyed seeing images f familiar places in Greenwich and remembering how the borough used to look in the past.

Gordon Primary School Postcard

Tags: charlton house, local history, greenwich, local heritage, communities, meet the collection