I am a postcard fiend. I’ve been collecting them since I was sixteen, and while it’s not (yet) an obsession which requires a separate room to house it, it’s something I dearly love. When I went to Italy in 2010, I came away with something like thirty postcards. Recently I’ve developed an even bigger obsession with vintage (pre-1960, but preferably pre-1930) postcards.
The postcard below of Blossom Street in York is one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite. I used to live just off Blossom Street, and I walked past those buildings (those which hadn’t been flattened to make way for Premier Inn and Costa etc.) every single day. The white building in the center of the photo is the Windmill Pub, the building to its right (separated by a road, although you can’t tell that) is now a little cafe, and on the far right is Wetherspoon’s Punch Bowl pub. I just love the idea of getting a glimpse of a past I’d never otherwise know about, especially when some of the buildings still remain.
Below is another of my best loved postcards. It’s of the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, and I bought it after having just stayed at the hotel and searched up City Square on eBay to look for postcards of what it might have looked like at the time the hotel was built. Once I found the postcard I had to have it, because not only was it bought by someone who had stayed in the hotel, it was also written and posted. The idea of owning something bought by someone who walked through the same hotel reception and used the same elevators as I did, over 70 years later, is almost too much to get my head around.
Another thing I love is the detail – the postcard describes the holidaying family as ‘just off to a theatre now and then on to a dance’. Knowing the approximate date the postcard was sent, it could be possible to find out what was on at the theatres in Leeds at that time, and make an educated guess at what they could have seen.