Friday, December 7, 2012

Princess Gardens, Torquay, UK - A bank holiday with bombs

old postcard armchair antiquarian
Torquay in the 1930's
Here we see a rather newer postcard from my antique collection. Not postmarked but probably taken in the 1930's, this card shows a rather more modern photograph from Torquay. What I like most about this image are the cars. Is that a 3 wheeler in the centre? The palms indicate a breezy day, possibly a weekday, no-one is lingering much and there are few people out and about.
The gardens along the Torbay Road promenade look much the same today:

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It is impossible to get the same viewpoint as the card, as the Google street view man does not go along  Rock Walk. The high and mid-rise developments further up the hill make it impossible to gain a clear view of the sea, the best I could get was a glimpse of the pier from a laneway:

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The reverse of the card reads:

Aug. Bk holiday
Hello Everybody,
Just a card to let you know that we are having a good time, we have only been here 2 days and we've experienced thunder, lightening, rain and bombs. Got good lodgings Love Dick  


This clues us in that the year may have been 1942. Dick sounds pretty chipper. Let's hope he got home unscathed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ilfracombe, looking back the other way.

From the summit of Capstone Hill, Ilfracombe looking back the other way to where we stood in the last post, the view once looked like this:

armchair antiquarian
Capstone Hill postcard 1917
The card got cropped a little in the scanner. It is impossible to get Google streetview of the same scene, though there are some spot pictures that the yellow man can jump to from this map:

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The red building in the foreground is now the tourist information centre: a pair of grey conical looking buildings. The Emmanuel Church behind the red building didn't seem to have a spire back in old postcard time, otherwise, some of the other old buildings are still there. The gaps have filled in considerably.

The reverse of the postcard looks like this:

The armchair antiquarian
I find this handwriting difficult to read.

The address is something of a tongue-twister: Mrs Dance, Fair View Villa, Binfield, Bracknell, Berks.
It reads:
"I am writing you within a few days. So glad to get letter. I am now at this place Started on Monday. All news in letter love from .......  ............."

The postcard is a photochrom from the Celesque Series posted from Ilfracombe on the 2nd of July 1917 with a 1/2 penny stamp.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Capstone Hill, Ilfracombe, UK - then and now

Holidays in Ilfracombe were tinged with slightly more adventure than might be found there nowadays. For one thing, if you wanted to get a good vantage point to see the Capstone Hill, you had to wade through bushes onto a rather rough looking coastal path, rather than get out of your car or walk down the footpath.

The Armchair Antiquarian
Ilfracombe in 1908
Other, than that, however the Google view looks pretty similar.

The card is an Empire series No. 228. It was addressed to Mrs Chamberlain of Waterloo Gardens, Salisbury, Wilts and it reads:

"Dear Alice, Just to say I shall behome to-morrow Saturday about 5 o'clock. Artherl (??) "

It was posted at 10pm on July 23rd 1909 with a half penny stamp.

By the way, Francis Frith have a photo of Capstone Hill in 1911 festooned with people.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Esplanade, Exmouth, UK - then and now

The Armchair Antiquarian Andrea Kobayashi
The Esplanade, Exmouth, UK

Who doesn't like a seaside holiday? In 1918, when this card was posted to Mrs de Saffel of Hamilton House, Bishopsgate, seaside holidays were a rather newish pastime. In this card, there are no bathers, but plenty of boats. There are a few groups on the sand and the saplings lining the wide promenade seem rather new. The reverse reads:

"Dear Madam, We are having a glorious time down here and the weather is still lovely. We are having a quiet day today. I had a lovely bathe this morning. With love, John. "

John wrote this from Bicton St, Exmouth and sent it on the 5th of July 1918. The card is by Boots the chemist and was sent with a one penny stamp.

Here is much the same vantage point today taken from the Google car:


You can easily see the clock tower on the left. If you wiggle the street view around a bit, the buildings in the background of the postcard, on the hill, are still there.