It's Monday morning and I haven't anything in particular to say and therefore I turn to my faithful old postcard collection for inspiration. It is not a particularly big collection but the two or three hundred postcards dating back to the early years of the twentieth century have the capacity to provide me with endless entertainment. Ah, the simple pleasures of an old man! The majority of the postcards were handed down within the family from my mothers' Uncle Fowler who, like many people in the first decade of the twentieth century, kept an album for the picture postcards sent to him by his friends and family. As they knew he collected postcards they would search out colourful or interesting cards and send them to him for his growing collection. The combination of image and short written message provide a unique view of a world in transition. It doesn't take too much effort to see the strong similarity between exchanging postcards and blogging : what do we call our daily efforts if not "posts"?
The two postcards for this morning do not come from Great Uncle Fowlers' collection but they are cards I have added to the collection over the years. The cards I have added tend to reflect my own interests such as politics and beer and the two examples this morning illustrate this.
The first card shows a group of 29 named gentlemen gathered for a formal picture outside a grand-looking building. Other than the names there are no clues or titles on the reverse of the card although someone, at some stage, has pencilled in "First Socialist Government" If that description were true it would be 1926 and the first minority Labour Government of Ramsey Macdonald. Whilst Ramsey Mac is clearly featured in the photograph it can't be 1926 as it also features the first Labour MP in Britain, Keir Hardie, who died in 1915. The clue as to the date and the event is in the number of people pictured - 29, the number of Labour MPs famously elected at the 1906 General Election. This was seen as the great political breakthrough for the Labour Representation Committee - which within months of this photograph had renamed itself the Labour Party. I am very fond of this postcard, there seems to be so much hope and so much expectation in the faces of those 29 political pioneers. Most, but not all, of the dreams were broken, but that, as they say, is another story.
The second card provides a lighter note. Although dating from the same period (either 1903 or 1904 at a guess) it features full colour printing. It was published by Miller and Lang (one of the largest firms of postcard publishers in Britain at the time) and forms part of their "National Series". My interest in old breweries tempted me to try and trace the origin of the bottles but I decided that would be too scholastic : there comes a time to just sit back and enjoy the image.