Monday, May 09, 2016

POSTCARDS FROM HOME : Discontinuing The Exchange With Halifax Infirmary

This is a picture postcard from the very beginning of the twentieth century featuring a photograph of the Royal Infirmary, Halifax. When this photograph was taken the building will have only been a few years old (it was opened in 1896), and the building remained largely unchanged until it eventually closed in 2001. One of the last departments to leave was the Pathology Department and my wife was a doctor there at the time. By then the building was full of ghosts and creaking timbers and I suspect you could still hear the trams rattling past, even though the lines had been ripped up sixty years before that. Some of the buildings you can see in this photograph still remain, although they have now been converted into houses and apartments. Now the site looks domesticated, but at its height, the whole complex radiated disinfectant and invalid broth.

The reverse of the card reveals that it was sent by Lucy Ineson to "Harrold Colton" at the remarkably truncated address of "Currie Street, South Australia". I suspect that the Lucy Ineson concerned was the then 13 year old daughter of Thomas Ineson a florist and fruiterer of Hammond Street in Halifax. The recipient of this rather brief message is far more intriguing because it turns out that the "Harold Coltron" is not some misspelled beau, but a rather famous hardware shop in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. As with all found postcards, you long to know the back-story. I have some thoughts of my own, but as Lucy said all those years ago, "sorry to say I cannot continue to exchange"



  1. Perhaps Miss Lucy's parents were concerned over the mail she received in response? One can only speculate...Best to you.

  2. It sure does get your imagination working overtime.

  3. I think Lucy was ending a pen pal relationship and the postmark offers a clue. She posted the card on June 22nd, where it left Halifax on the 25th and arrived in Adelaide on Jul 27. Out and back with two months between exchanges makes for a very slow conversation.


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