Postcards from Bryant and May

Large-size postcard, part of a series from holiday destinations

Exhibitor : Rupert Harris

One small part of my collection is postcards. Nothing says “wish you were here” quite as well as the good old postcard. Once a quintessential element in the travel experience, crafting a ten-line missive for the folks back home (saucy for the colleagues at work, respectful to the relatives), was as much a part of your two-week break as sunburn and sandals. Now a postcard can cost anything up to £35.

Patented in the U.S. in the mid nineteenth century, the first postcard was created for the World Fair in Chicago in 1893. In Britain it enjoyed its heyday in the 1930’s and 1940’s with the growth of the seaside holiday resorts.

Will the postcard survive the digital age? The Royal mail advises that postcards are more popular than they were a few years ago and that it is presently processing around 135 million per year. Postcards typically measure 90 x 140 mm.

The subjects are many and varied. On display here there are examples of postcards that were produced under the commission of Bryant and May to commemorate special occasions, depict Bryant and May factories, advertise a product or just endorse the company. Click on an image below to enlarge it and see the postcard – you may need a magnifying glass to see the Bryant and May advert!

Here are a few more, vertical postcards.

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