Memories in photos and postcards

I like the featured image above, the shapes and colours its weirdness. It is also a memory of a wonderful weekend Valerie and I spent in Berlin.  We went down into a subterranean shopping mall and the complexity of what I was seeing struck me and cried out “photograph me”.  That night we were serenaded at our dinner table under the moon and stars by a guitar and violin; the next day it was curry wurst and chips in a converted railway dining car.

The image may be around in a hundred years and someone may like it but will not be aware of what it means to me.

Looking through my collection of postcards over the last couple of days,  I was reminded of why, from time-to-time, I buy them ; I like those from between 1900 and 1920.  They are often beautiful images, sometimes  smaltzy, cheeky and carry memories in the messages on the back.  I preferred used cards as it is a link to people in the past.  How they were produced is also interesting and I hope to write about this in the near future.

Market Place


This is of the market in Enfield Town.  The post date is 1908. As the split back for both message and address did not come into effect in 1904 it may be the photo was taken between these dates.


Market Place back


The message on the back apologises for not coming that day as the writer had had an accident with their horse and would  C. Boosey bring them round on Monday -I think.


Enfield Market Nov 2017


Yesterday I took a photo of the market from about the same place.  The church is dwarfed by trees, the pine on the left is only half way up the tower on the postcard.  The cast-iron bollards are replacements though in the same place.  Pub, and the central structure are still there but mostly hidden by cars and fast food outlets.

St Mary photo back

The cards above  are of St. Mary Magdalene at the top of Windmill Hill.  The sails were taken off the windmill in 1901 and it was demolished in 1904 so the photo and the painting show the scene between these dates.  I feel the painting may be taken from the photograph.  The photo graph was posted to Hants. saying this is our church; can’t read the rest.  Here is a photo of the same scene, taken yesterday, from about the same spot yesterday.

St Mary Magdelene Nov 2017

Not a rural scene now with a farm horse but farms still form 22% of Enfield’s area though 51% is built on.  I suppose the tiled tower is a reference to the windmill though it was a smock windmill which refers to its shape I imagine.

Our French house is in St Maixent L’Ecole where the Porte Chalon is one of the notable buildings.  It is a triumphal arch built in the late 18th century.  Last month we found a postcard of the view from the road.

Porte Chalon road side


It is so busy, covered with fly posters and the writer has continued the message on the front a hangover from the time the back could only be used for an address. this changed in 1904.  the card is of about this time I think.


Porte Chalon road side back

It is impossible for me to understand much of the messages on French postcards but I enjoy just looking at the script. Some are so beautiful.  Mougon is a nearby town and was posted to someone in the same town.  Telephones were rare then.


Porte Chalon from road photo


Here is a photo taken from about the same spot.  see how clean and shiny it is.  The right hand side is now the tourist office.



Porte Chalon from Rue Chalon

And here is the view from Rue Chalon, the other side.  The yellow is hand tinting.  The clothes look about 1910 or just before.  It was much busier then,



Porte Chalon from Rue Chalon Photo




as you can see from a photo from, again, the same spot.  Behind me in Rue Chalon there are sometimes 20 empty shops in a street of about 300 metres.  There is a good food market and street market on Saturdays and it is much busier then.





I just remembered an Audio Visual I made a while ago which has a bit on St Maixent l’Ecole at the end. An early one for me but it was fun making it.


Hope you liked it.





2 thoughts on “Memories in photos and postcards

  1. Really enjoyed this as I too collect old postcards (and old birthday cards too). Like you I prefer the ones with writing on them. Such a sense of history and connection across the years. Christine

Leave a Reply