Early 20th century social media: writing postcards around Lancaster and Morecambe Bay

Thursday 15 July 2021, 1:00pm to 2:00pm


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All Lancaster University (non-partner) students, Alumni, Applicants, External Organisations, Postgraduates, Prospective International Students, Prospective Postgraduate Students, Prospective Undergraduate Students, Public, Staff, Undergraduates


Free to attend - registration required

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Event Details

A talk by Professor Julia Gillen on the Edwardian Postcard Project.

Join Professor Julia Gillen (Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University) as she brings to life the Edwardian Postcard Project. This event, supported by Lancaster City Museum is featured in the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) #OurCentury programme.

Edwardian postcards were the original social media. There were several deliveries a day in towns and cities and postcards could arrive from early in the morning until late at night. The newly invented picture postcard was cheap and an extremely popular craze embracing all sectors of society. People could send quick, cheap attractive picture messages that would arrive within hours. Just as today, friends exchanged messages while travelling or at work.

The Golden Age of picture postcards, 1902-1910 coincided with the reign of Edward VII so postcards of this period are known as Edwardian postcards.

The Edwardian Picture Postcard Project at Lancaster University has a collection of over 3,000 cards, many of which involve Lancaster and the Morecambe Bay area. We have cards sent from and to the area, with a tremendously diverse range of images and messages. Combining the postcards with historical data, especially census records, we have been able to trace details of many postcard users, fleshing out their life stories at the beginning of the twentieth century and seeing how postcards fitted into their daily lives.

Join Professor Julia Gillen, the project director, as she explores links between the Edwardian Picture Postcards and contemporary social media. She will introduce you to the project website and show you how you can explore your own family or local history interests. She will also show how you can contribute to this citizen humanities research project yourself.

We will be pleased to invite questions in a dedicated question and answer session following the talk.

Lancaster City Museum and Lancaster University are delighted to work in partnership to deliver this lecture.

➜ Visit the Edwardian Postcard Project Facebook page

➜ Visit the Edwardian Postcard Project Twitter page


  • This event will take place on Zoom and automatically generated captions will be available
  • You will be able to ask your question either verbally or in writing during the Q&A session



Gillen Julia

Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University

Julia Gillen is Director of the Edwardian Postcard Project.


Contact Details

Name Julia Gillen