Friday, February 20, 2015

A Dozen Dollops Of History : 7 - The Mills Are Silent And The Feasts Are Gone

My seventh found dollop of history (50 pence from the second hand shop) features a 1905 vintage postcard from Blackpool.


The seaside is a special place: a place where land gives way to the sea. Where the crowded streets of back to back houses suddenly ceases, like a straight line drawn in the sand - or just above the sand. And if you happen to be in Blackpool, on the west coast of England, first there is a road, then there are the tram tracks, then there is a wide promenade, then the sand, then the sea. You can revisit the scene of this 1905 vintage postcard one hundred and ten years after it was sent and nothing much will have changed. Still the houses, still the road, still the tram tracks and still the promenade.


Few cards are sent from the seaside these days. But when Fanny sent this card to her friend Beatrice Milnes back in September 1905, the postage stamp cost just a half penny and the card would have been about the same. Beatrice was just 21 when she received this card, a mill worker living in Huddersfield. Fanny might have been a friend, a fellow worker or a relative. The "feast" referred to will have been one of the local holidays, peculiar to each northern working class town, when all the mills and factories would close down for a few precious days.

The houses, road, tram tracks and promenades may not have changed, but so many other things have changed profoundly. The mills are largely silent and the feasts have gone.

6 comments:

  1. I would like to walk along the sea there...no feasts that is a bummer:(

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  2. Blackpool illuminations - founded in 1879 and first switched on 19 September that year.

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    1. I had no idea it went back that far. That is why I call this series "dollops of history" - these randomly bought old postcards can send you off in so many directions. I spent an hour yesterday trying to discover which "feast" it might have been, but to no success. But it doesn't matter, it was a fascinating hour.

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  3. It looks like it could be turned into an impressionist painting.

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  4. My husband proposed to me while on the bus coming from Blackpool on our way back to Liverpool -- about 56 years ago.

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  5. It is quite amazing that so much is still there.

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