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Lydia’s second week…

Hello again everyone! I have finished my 2nd week here at the Archive and have been thoroughly enjoying myself already. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since my first day! I started the week looking through the Archive’s vast collection of postcards, many of which dating from the early 20th century to the 1940s.

Poster Image

Most were simply a note to send the recipient best wishes and inform them of the weather (very stereotypical!), or sometimes completely illegible due to some messy handwriting! However I was able to find the odd fascinating story play out on the postcards, one of my favourites being written during World War 2 talking about a recent air raid. What I find so intriguing about the card is the nonchalant manner in which they refer to the event, and then casually go on to ask how the recipient is. Makes you wonder how they can seem so unaffected by the experience, is it because they had become so used to air raids? Because they didn’t want to panic the addressee? Or perhaps they wanted to demonstrate a ‘stiff upper lip’ at a time of war? Unfortunately with such a small snippet into this person’s life, we can only speculate their intentions.

Another slightly sadder card was addressed to a patient at Canterbury mental hospital, with the note wishing them a swift recovery. As a modern reader knowing the suffering of many vulnerable people in mental hospitals, it is difficult not to feel a sense of sadness thinking about what this person might have experienced.  On a lighter note I also found some lovely little messages clearly written between a parent and child, which I like to think shows the human side of people from history, even though they often lived well over 100 years ago. Although this has been mentioned in a previous blog, I found for myself a few postcards where the positioning of the stamp was used to send secret messages between the correspondents. While there were plenty of cards exchanged between clearly very loving couples, unfortunately one stamp was positioned upside down meaning “I am not free”, hopefully things worked out for the pair!

The postcards display a fascinating glimpse of the spirit of the people who lived before us, something that helps capture the imagination of an audience who don’t have a background in history, and hopefully will create a wider interest in the subject! Besides the postcards I have also been looking further into the Archive’s collections, and making more progress with my task of finding gems, of which there will be hopefully more details in the weeks to come. Thank you for reading!