Postcards from the Huddersfield Broad Canal

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Winter 2019

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis explores the details of 20th-century postcards depicting this West Yorkshire waterway

A Brief History of the Postcard Anyone wishing to use old postcards to research canals should know a little about the history of the postcard. Although printed postal stationery dates back to the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840, the first postcards were not introduced until 1870 and these were simply cards with a printed front for the address and a blank back for correspondence. These first postcards had no illustration at all. When the Germans started to produce illustrated cards in the 1890s, the British Post Office was saddled with regulations that specified a card of 4½ inches by 3½ inches, later known as the ‘court’ card (from the French word for ‘short’). Any illustration had to be on the same side as the correspondence. The size problem was resolved in 1899 when regulations were amended to permit the Continental size of card, which was roughly an inch longer. This is commonly referred to today as the ‘Golden Age’ size, t…

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