Lost Dorset, The Villages & Countryside 1880-1920 In the late 19th century the General Post Office introduced a halfpenny stamp for postcards,
Lost Dorset, The Villages & Countryside 1880-1920
In the late 19th century the General Post Office introduced a halfpenny stamp for postcards, with an image on one side, the writing and address on the other. The picture postcard had been born. By 1910 not far short of a billion were being handed over post office counters or pushed into pillar boxes. Many were the equivalent of a modern text message – written in the morning, posted in the afternoon and delivered the following day. Deliveries took place seven days a week, whatever the weather. Bloxworth’s first postman, Frank Squire, is reckoned to have walked 165,000 miles during his 42 years of service.
Choosing the 350 or so postcards in Lost Dorset from Barry Cuff’s remarkable 10,000 card collection was never going to be easy. It was not our intention to select only those of a place that is truly ‘lost’ – though many do. Nor to include one of every village in Dorset: there are many for which no early postcard exists. What I have tried to do is give a sense of the way of life in rural Dorset in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – a period of upheaval and change as great as any in its history, and one marked by considerable hardship. The postcards chosen may seem a window into a vanished world, but the men, women and children who face the camera in Lost Dorset’s 200 pages helped shape the Dorset we live in today.
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