Edwardian Postcard Project
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Edwardian Postcard Project

The early British postcard is a fascinating multimodal communications technology. In the heyday of the postcard during the Edwardian age (1901-1910), it offered an opportunity for the exchange of everyday messages with pictures at very low cost. This opportunity was not to be available again until the contemporary digital revolution. Up to six deliveries a day were being made in major cities and 6 billion cards were sent in the period. We have collected 3,000 cards from the period to examine the creative responses of the population to this new technology.

This site now features a searchable resource of 1,000 of our cards, together with their transcriptions. We've added historical records wherever we've been able to find additional historical information, especially from the 1901 and 1911 censuses through findmypast.co.uk.

To get started go to search postcards. If you want just to browse our collection, get started by selecting a year.


We are seeking donations of postcards, or their scans.

  • Please send only postcards dating from 1901­­—1914.
  • Please send high res (.tiff) images if possible, but all will be accepted.

If you can contribute please contact EVIIpc@lancaster.ac.uk, or call (+44) 01524 510830. Many thanks in advance.

Retweets and re-posts also appreciated.

Note for potential contributors: Please share your postcards or scans only if you are willing for them to be shared with the greater public without restriction. This will allow for the most inclusive research and widest involvement in the project.

AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund (Feb. - May 2016)

This new phase of the Edwardian Postcard Project sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council is seeking fresh contributions from the greater public. Using crowdsourcing and citizen humanities we are endeavouring to double our current collection of 3000 postcards, and to explore better this unparalleled resource of early twentieth-century, spontaneous, everyday writing. Questions to be explored during this phase of the project include: How did the postcard shape epistolary culture and understanding of place? What kind of geographical distances did postcards travel in this period? How did individuals use the formatted space, and what reference did they make of the picture on the front? In this expanded study of early twentieth-century postcards, a new aim is to inform our understanding of contemporary modes of communication. Dr Amanda Pullan is the AHRC Research Associate working with the project from February - May 2016.

Watch this YouTube video introducing the Edwardian postcard project

Nessie postcardApart from the light shed on writing practices of the Edwardians, our studies are revealing much about the travel patterns, social networks and concerns of the age. We are also investigating the mobilities of the postcard today, through collecting cards ourselves, interviewing and photographing at postcard fairs, and reviews of secondary sources.

The project has previously been funded by the Bowland Trust and the Friends Programme of Lancaster University. In 2015-2016 the project is funded by the Lancaster University Public Engagement with Research Leadership Group and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Cultural Engagement Fund.


Site updated: 04 April 2016

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