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. - June 2016)

This phase of the Edwardian Postcard Project sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council explored ways of increasing public involvement with the project. In February 2016, the project launched a freely accessible database of 1,000 cards, their transcriptions and historical information about the cards, drawn from the censuses. Our project has encouraged public participation and use of the new resource to develop the research. We held several public events and also promoted the project through YouTube videos, a new Facebook page and other social media. Lively public interest in the project resulted in many discussions online and offline as well as donations of Edwardian postcards or their scans. Seeking to further explore ways of involving people, we are trialling the use of Zooniverse, a crowdsourcing hub for Citizen Science projects. Dr Amanda Pullan is the AHRC Research Associate working with the project from February - June 2016.

AHRC The Creative Exchange Mini-project Physical Social Network (May - Sept. 2016)

Amanda Pullan and Julia Gillen are collaborating with Adrian Gradinar and Paul Coulton, LICA, and Kevin Bacon, Digital Development Officer of Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums, in this new mini project, funded by the AHRC between May and September 2016. The project objective is to create a physical prototype, which will explore past writing practices through a physical, interactive experience with a digital collection of Edwardian postcards. One of the guiding research objectives of the project is to study how physical interactions can be merged with digital ones. A physical prototype will be exhibited at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

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: 14 June 2016

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