I wonder what you thought when you read the title of this post. Did you immediately think of the fantastic (in my opinion) Pink Floyd Album or did you imagine I was referring to the standard picture postcard message, associated with holidays?

Much as I am a huge Pink Floyd fan, I was actually thinking about picture postcards. I can remember when it was the custom to send friends and family postcards when travelling. Remember when we used to travel?!

Dan Gold

‘Wish you were here’ is the standard cliché phrase associated with postcards sent by people on holiday. Often, the expression ‘Having a lovely time’ accompanies ‘Wish you were here’!

I follow several bloggers who have a regular ‘Postcard From…’ feature and it was this that got me thinking about postcards. I used to love getting postcards but these days they are few and far between. I must confess that I am guilty of only sending them to older family members and one or two friends.

When I do send a postcard, I enlist the help of technology, using my own photos taken with my phone and an app called ‘TouchNote’. (Other such apps are available!!) I find this so much easier than queuing for cards, buying stamps and so forth. I also take great pleasure in using my own photos.

The photo below, from our visit to Cape Town, is one that I used for creating a TouchNote postcard.

I have to admit that technology and social media have been in part, but not wholly, responsible for the demise of the picture postcard. I don’t think my sons (in their twenties) have ever sent a postcard in their lives, except when they were small and I used to persuade them to write to their grandmothers! However, I have received countless WhatsApp photos from their holidays and travels.

This brings me on to ‘deltiology’. I had never come across this term before writing this post. It means the study and collecting of postcards. I’ve only met, so far, one person who collects postcards and he was passionate about his hobby, regularly attending postcard fairs. Apparently, one of the biggest, regular postcard fairs, held in London, has up to 120 tables filled with postcards. Collecting postcards is the second most popular hobby in the world, after stamp collecting. Who would have guessed?!

Elena Ferrer unsplash.com

The first postcards were issued, in the UK, in 1870. They were plain, with a pre-printed stamp and were issued by the Post Office. No others companies were permitted to print them.

In 1871, the Bank Holidays Act was passed which resulted in many day trippers from factories visiting British seaside towns. These seaside towns would later feature on picture postcards when, in 1894, the Royal Mail gave publishers permission to sell picture postcards.

The Golden Age of postcards followed in the early 1900s. Postcards included pictures of landscapes, portraits and exhibitions. Royalty were often featured, as were comical scenes. In 1902, the Post Office allowed messages to be written on one half of the side normally reserved for the address. This led to the ‘divided back’ postcard. This left the back of the card free to be completely filled with a picture and the type of postcard that we are more familiar with today.

Are you a postcard lover? Do you send them or maybe collect them? Do you keep postcards as a souvenir of your travels? Or maybe you see postcards as a relic of the past? As always, I’d love to know!