Thursday, April 15, 2010

Postcard Of The Week : Speed And The Soul

This postcard of Bradford Cathedral came through my postbox this morning. It had been posted in Shipley, Yorkshire in July 1959. However before people start citing this as yet another example of the inefficiency of the British postal service (which, by-the-way, I consider to be most efficient), let me explain that the card has passed through a good number of hands since a certain E Taylor posted it. Initially it was delivered - well within the target for the delivery of second class mail I am sure - to Miss R Williamson of Bridlington. Miss Williamson probably kept it until she died and then some distant relative decided to dispose of her belongings and it passed into the hands of a postcard dealer. From the pencil markings on the back of the card it appears to have been sold more than once and it eventually came into the hands of a collector in Liverpool who put it up for sale on eBay. I put up the winning bid (a princely 99 pence) and this morning the card finished up just a few miles away from where it was posted 51 years ago.

The main feature of the photograph is the massively squat and solid stone structure of Bradford Cathedral. If you look at the Bradford Cathedral website they have managed to create a composite picture which makes it look as though the Cathedral is set between rich parkland and rolling Dales countryside. As my postcard shows, this is not the case - the Cathedral is where it should be : in the middle of the warehouses, mills and terraced houses of the city centre. Why they should want to transpose it, I cannot imagine. I am no expert on these matters but I would imagine that there are more souls in need of comfort in the modern day city than in the peaceful surrounding hills.

The thing I love about such real photographic cards is the level of detail. You can take almost any part of the card, enlarge it, and find a fascinating level of detail which would allow you to successfully bore people about for at least a week. My example comes from the bottom left portion of the card and shows a collection of old wagons and cars trundling along. And if you look carefully you will be able to spot one of the old Bradford Trolleybuses and the power cables strung across the road. I remember such vehicles with fondness : they may not have been particularly fast but they were astonishingly energy efficient.

I started with speed and I will finish with speed. It has been pointed out that the new News from Nowhere blog template is very slow to load when using Internet Explorer. I tend to use Google Chrome and there are no such problems on that platform, but I have tried loading it with IE8 and it does seem to take its time. I would be interested to know whether other people are experiencing slow page loading of the blog when using Internet Explorer and whether this is just a problem with my new template design or whether it extents to all new Blogger templates. Once I have an idea of the extent of the problem I can set about finding a solution. Until then I would ask you to be patient. And remember, patience is good for the soul.


  1. Wonderfully detailed postcard! Some of my favorite postcards I've acquired from eBay.

    I'm glad to hear that you have no problems with Google Chrome. I've been thinking of switching, since my own new template, as well as yours, is slow loading with IE7.

  2. love being able to look at all the little artifacts of times past in these types of post cards.

    no problems with n f n loading....i use firefox myself.... have stayed away from internet explorer for eons.... too many bugs and potential risks from what i've heard

  3. I really like the thought of that beautifully detailed postcard coming 'home' after all the intervening years.

    Your template is slow to load with my IE 8, but it doesn't bother me. It's a good time to replenish my coffee ... or tickle the cat's tummy ...


    IE is slow for me with everything at the moment.I view you via Firefox & the page uploads just fine.

  5. Okay, I uploaded Google Chrome and it makes all the difference in the world as far as speed. But now all the font looks crappy. Any suggestions?

  6. No problems here, but then I use Firefox; I try not to let Microsoft products contaminate my hard drive (I use a Mac).

    Great postcard, and I love the way you included the provenance. As a former art dealer I can appreciate following the trail back to the origin.

  7. As a boy I loved the old double-decker trams in Sheffield, I'm talking of the late 50s.

  8. I love your postcards, Alan, and you could "bore" me for a week about them anytime. It's an interesting collection - and, unlike most collections, they don't take up a lot of space.

    I use FireFox on a Mac... and I'm very happy with it. Of course I'm insanely happy with my Macbook Pro. Best decision I ever made. far as computers go, that is...

  9. It does take a moment to load, but nothing more than a few seconds of "thinking" time. In the meantime, we can just read the first portion of your post.
    Lovely postcard. I sometimes imagine myself in them...back in 1959 in the beautiful moment someone captured on that postcard. Oh, how romantic a thought...

  10. It's a shame really that the Brits didn't preserve their cathederal grounds. The Germans are particularly good at maintaining the courtyards around cathedrals that now play host to markets and the like. Frieburg is a perfect example of a gorgeous courtyard and cathederal even if it is surrounded by modernity. Although your correct in a way, having it amid the city does 'bring it to the people'. Or maybe the people gravitated towards 'it'.

    Do you remember when all these buildings were black with soot? In Lancashire when I was a child, they legislated against using coal and wood in order to 'clean up' the industrialised cities. Manchester Cathedral was caked with soot!
    No problems with the page from my side but I use Firefox.

  11. Interesting post(card) - the cathedral itself is much the same but its surroundings aren't - for one thing it now has "The Great Hole of Bradford"in front of it - and anyone who doesn't know what that is will have to come to find out!

    I'm another contented Mac and Firefox user - and you load just fine with that.


Garden Visitor

  A chance photograph taken through the kitchen window in order to check to see if my Nikon B700 is still working. It is!