Putney Library to host an exhibition of over 70 cards featuring Putney
This show, running from 1-13 July, is of the Putney post and greetings cards which Hugh Thompson, Vice President of the Putney Society and resident for 45 years has collected. It is reckoned that in popularity post card collecting comes only after stamps and coins.
Pride of place in this show must go to the ten cards from the golden age of Post Cards .This is reckoned to be 1902-1918 after which the postage for a postcard went from 1/2p to 1p. A time before telephones but a time when the postal service was a national treasure. Homes could have as many as ten deliveries a day. Correspondents could be so sure that local cards would be delivered on time , with certainty they could say, see a you at 4pm tomorrow! In their time post cards were the prime social networking tool.
Although the Post Office allowed picture cards from 1894-before then only blanks were allowed-most of these cards date from the first decade of the 20th century. Pride of this show goes to the 1907 card which celebrates Putney as a holiday destination! Some cards have been deliberately sent to card collectors- as with stamps, post cards became a great vehicle for collectors-to a lesser extent they still are. Post card collecting’s technical name is deltiology.
To cater for the modern collectors market both Wandsworth(Putney) Libraries and others have reissued reproductions of vintage cards.
Cards and postage generally may not be as popular as they were in the golden age but they still exist and shops still sell cards and postcards. As well Putney scenes feature in Christmas and greetings cards. Here the Boat Race is used as a way of giving the local scene a national currency.
Putney has many artists, some who issue cards,all of whom use local scenes to advertise or sell their ware. Margaret Knot is the first among equals among local artists but others also use local views.
Modern digital techniques allow any one interested to make their own cards and these exist. As personalised cards did in the golden age. The Putney Society has published cards, as have various commercial operations either as a card or as a flyer. Not least All Saints Church with its rich Burn Jones/William Morris heritage.
Postcards are dying, the slow decline from the golden days has been accelerated by social media. It is estimated while 70 per cent of UK holiday makers text home only 10 per cent send cards. Even in 1997 sales of cards in the UK were 25 million, now they are less than 5 million.
A last word from collector and exhibition organiser Hugh Thompson: ”Selfies, email, text and instagram maybe more popular but my grandchildren and some of my (older) friends still get a thrill from a hand written card,nearly as much as I get buying, writing and sending them! For me they are as much part of my holiday as buying an ice cream. Logically cards should die out,but they haven’t. Maybe like vinyl records and books they have a residual attraction. For a collector they are part of our history and are fascinating and very cheap to collect. I hope you enjoy my collection.”
June 20, 2019