On this site I have included
examples of old post-cards. I still have a lot more details and
images to add to this site. If you have any particular questions or
requests, please email me.
I may be able to help.
I have grouped the cards into two
These were produced by many of
Edinburgh's studios in the early years of the 20th century. Most
followed the tradition and style of earlier cartes de visite and cabinet
prints. They probably produced very small numbers of each post cards
which then found their way into family albums and collections.
These post-cards had markings for the
stamp and their backs were divided into two parts, to take the message and
address - but in practice, they appear to have seldom been sent through
Some included interesting props and
backgrounds in their cards.
A few photographers such as
Russell produced post cards of
ministers, professors and other eminent figures. These presumably
sold in larger numbers but, again, I have rarely seen any that have been
sent through the post.
All the portrait post cards that I have
seen are monochrome.
Many photographers and publishers have
produced views of Edinburgh. Some like
Valentine of Dundee or
GW Wilson of Aberdeen
produced very large numbers of cards, covering scenes throughout Britain
However, many of Edinburgh's
photographers appear to have produced cards concentrating on views of
Edinburgh, or in some cases on their own area of the City.
Many of the landscape post cards are in
Types and Dates
1870 - Britain's first
Postcards have been used
in Britain since they were first introduced by the Post Office in 1870.
These cards were plain cards issued by the Post Office. They had a
The address was written on one side of the
card and the message, often very brief, was written on the other side.
There was no picture. Here is an example form 1890, in which one
Edinburgh photographer is advising another of the date of a photographic
1894 - Britain's first
1 September 1894, the Post Office allowed postcards published by
others to be posted. A halfpenny adhesive stamp was to be added to
these cards before posting.
Several manufacturers produced cards. The first publisher to include
pictures to the cards is believed to have been George Stewart of 92 George
1895 - Court Cards
1895 onwards, a size of 4.75 ins x 3.5 ins was adopted for
postcards. These were known as Court Cards. The address was
written on one side. The reverse bore a small picture leaving
sufficient space to write a message.
1899 - Standard size of
1899 onwards, the standard size of 5.5ins ins x 3.5 ins, already in use
in other countries, was accepted in Britain.
The address,, and nothing else, still had
to be written on one side of the card. The other side being for the
picture and message. In many cases the picture covered most of the
card, leaving little room for the message.
1902 - Divided Backs
the Post Office changed its rules and allowed:
- pictures to appear on the front of
- message and address both to appear on the
message was to be written on the left-hand side of the back and the
address on the right-hand side of the back. Great Britain was the
first country to allow this practice.
From around September
1902 onwards, postcard manufacturers began to issue cards with a line
drawn down the middle of the back to show where the message and address
should be written.
These cards soon replaced the earlier ones with
1926 - Postcard Sizes
the Post Office specified the sizes of postcard that were allowed:
- Min size: 4 ins x 2.75 ins.
- Max size 5.875 ins x 4.125
Postcards larger than the sizes above
became more common later in 20th century, but they were not unknown early
in the 20th century.
I have tow examples of Valentine Series
- Giant Postcards. Both are views of Edinburgh, measuring 7.5ins
x 5.5ins. Both were posted in Edinburgh on 22 April 1910 (with a 1d
stamp on each).
If the cards have
been posted, the postmark date can establish the latest possible date that
a postcard was produced - sometimes the date is not legible, so the stamps
used can be a guide
Postage rates were
sometimes printed on the backs of early UK postcards. These can help
to determine the date of publication.
The normal postage rates
for postcards are given below:
½d until 1918
There was no change in the 1/2d postage
rate for inland postage for almost 50 years. (The overseas postage
rate, at least in 1901, appears to have been 1d.)
- 1d from 3 June 1918
This doubling of the rate resulted in a decline
in the number of postcards posted.
from 13 January 1921
A further increase, imposed shortly
after the 1918 doubling of the postage rate.
- 1d from 24 May 1922
This reduction came about following protests
over the previous two increases)
However, in some cases
many years, or even decades, passed from the time that a photograph for a
card was taken or the time that a postcard was
first published to the time of posting.
Please click one of the images below to see examples of
stamps on postcards.
|With acknowledgement to reference
books, including The Dictionary of Picture Postcards in Britain -
1894-1939 (by A W Coysh) for providing some of the dates above.
Here is a
postcard advertising photographic material, including "sensitized
postcards of all kinds". Please click here to enlarge the card.
Postcards bearing AZO
Please click here to discover how to date
postcards produced on Kodak photographic paper bearing
AZO stamp boxes.