Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Postcard of the Week : Chateau d'Esches



If there is one thing that I love it is serendipity. Faced with a file box full of vintage postcards I plunge my hand in and pull one out at random. It is a postcard which was used in 1905 and sent to a certain Wallis Cross who lived on St Leonard's Street in London. It shows a picture of a chateau in the village of Esches which is twenty or thirty miles north of Paris. The message is limited to the picture side of the card and it notes that this is the house where the writers' sister is staying in the country. The writer - as far as I can make out Millie - stayed there for her Christmas holidays and an "x" on the card marks her bedroom.



If there is another thing that I love it is the internet. You can go online and search for the chateau. You can download photographs of it as it looks now, 105 years on from the postcard. You can walk down the village street using Google Street View. You can read detailed descriptions of life on St Leonard's Street, Victoria, South West London in the notebooks of the famous social investigator and philanthropist, Charles Booth. You can even track down the family history of Wallis Cross using on-line genealogical databases.



Blend serendipity and the internet and you have as good a reason as you ever could require for not going out on a snowy, cold, January day.

16 comments:

  1. Well, you know I love all vintage emphemera, especially post cards. I turned some of my vintage ones facing out on the Christmas tree this year, so the lovely handwriting and old postage stamps could be seen.

    You have the best collection, Alan.

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  2. I have a collection stashed away in a hold-all somewhere. Maybe I'll dig it out and scan a few.

    You may have started something here Alan!

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  3. It hasn't changed much by the look of it. I remember always getting postcards where x marked the room or the beach or the place on an arial shot. Really should send more postcards! Oh, I actually saw a Google Street View camera come down my road a couple of weeks ago! I guess they'll be updating us soon!

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  4. stay warm alan. how neat that the only message is the x...it almost implies more...

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  5. Looks like Millie had a wonderful place to stay over a Christmas holiday! I completely agree that the internet is most certainly a wonderful thing! ;)

    And Martin H...absolutely, pull out that collection! LOL!

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  6. Love that you could find the chateau on the internet. That's just great. I'm off to Google now; you've inspired me!

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  7. That is SO cool, Alan!

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  8. Vewry very true indeed my friend. Good researching here too. It rally hasn't changed much, has it?

    I'm with Willow here, you really do have a wonderful collection and I am so glad you have decided to share some of it with us, than let it jsut sit there gathering dust.

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  9. Good job your internet connection wasn't affected by the snow huh?

    ;)

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  10. Fun combination of the old & new--the house doesn't look too much changed.

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  11. Is a gallery in the works for this, Alan? 'Twoud be grand, it would ;)

    Then there' sthe other thing I like to do, on days like this...settle in for alooong read!

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  12. I hope the blokes from Google Maps arnt working at the moment.everywhere would just.er........white

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  13. Interesting to study the subtle changes of the windows and dormers...

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  14. It is a lot of fun to see the past and the future in such a short time. I like how the postmaster canceled those stamps multiple times, looks like they almost missed the first stamping. It is a wonderful building.

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  15. I am continuously amazed at what we can combine serendipity, curiosity, and the internet!

    maybe in 2010 I should start a regular feature of vintage snaps and postcards. I so enjoy your postcards and old family photos....

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  16. This is absolutely beautiful! Antiquity is the best, isn't it?

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