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Wish you were here: A look back at Norfolk postcards of the past

PUBLISHED: 15:42 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:42 01 August 2017

The perfect place for a sit in the sun. The Sunken Garden at Cromer. Photo: Archant library.

The perfect place for a sit in the sun. The Sunken Garden at Cromer. Photo: Archant library.

Photo: Archant library.

Happy holidays!

You’ve got to laugh. One of the clever postcards from yesteryear by talented artists working for Bamforth & Co. Photo: Archant library. You’ve got to laugh. One of the clever postcards from yesteryear by talented artists working for Bamforth & Co. Photo: Archant library.

Nowadays it’s a call on your mobile, a text or a smiling selfie to let family and friends know you are on your holidays.

There was a time when sending a postcard was an important part of the week – or two – away, long before the days of “fly and flop.”

And many of them were works of art, very funny, very rude, or just plain good to look at.

Us Norfolk folk are lucky to have the seaside on our doorstep and many of grew up spending holidays at Pontin’s, Seacroft and other resorts enjoying the attractions at Lowestoft, Yarmouth, Cromer, Sheringham, Hunstanton and the smaller resorts.

A postcard sent in 1964 of the launching of the famous Cromer Lifeboat. Photo: Archant library. A postcard sent in 1964 of the launching of the famous Cromer Lifeboat. Photo: Archant library.

You remember the kind of messages you sent?

 Wish You Were Here.

 Everything lovely.

 Dad came third in the knobbly knees competition.

It says it all...bootiful Norfolk. A great place to work, rest...and play.  Photo: Archant library. It says it all...bootiful Norfolk. A great place to work, rest...and play. Photo: Archant library.

 Little Jimmy has fallen off the swings and bruised his legs.

 Room a bit small.

 Still raining.

 Been to see young Harry Secombe at Yarmouth.

A postcard sent in the 1920s illustrating the booming herring business at Great Yarmouth. Photo: Archant library. A postcard sent in the 1920s illustrating the booming herring business at Great Yarmouth. Photo: Archant library.

 Off to Wroxham tomorrow.

Today most of these lovely old cards are very collectable and for many years you, readers of this newspaper, have been sending me your old postcards.

They are sold to raise money for the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society and to date the cards have raised a grand total of £26,295.68. A truly magnificent sum of money.

First they were collected by Clement Court on the EDP and then Whiffler on the Evening News.

A rare postcard of tough men in days of old. The lifeboat crew at Yarmouth. Photo: Archant library. A rare postcard of tough men in days of old. The lifeboat crew at Yarmouth. Photo: Archant library.

For more than 20 years I have been sending your cards to Sylvia and Michael Porter who have raised a total of more than £115,354 for the society since 1981.

Sadly Sylvia died recently but Michael is continuing to collect and sell cards.

“That’s what Sylvia wanted and I shall carry for as long as possible,” said Michael, who lives at Worlingham near Beccles.

“Once again I want to thank all your readers for their kindness and generosity,” he added.

An attraction which has delighted generations of visitors – The Model Village at Great Yarmouth in years gone by. Archant library. An attraction which has delighted generations of visitors – The Model Village at Great Yarmouth in years gone by. Archant library.

Think of a subject or a place – from aircraft to windmills and from Attleborough to Zambia – and the chances are that someone, somewhere will want it.

Postcards have been around for a long while – there was a time when one posted early in the morning in Norwich could be delivered later the same day.

The period between 1900 and 1914 is regarded as the “golden age” because they were the best way to get a message to someone before the days of the telephone.

And the manufacturers were astute business people picking out national and local events and getting cards depicting them on sale very quickly.

Welcome to Pontin’s New Pakefield – a favourite for so many years. Photo: Archant library. Welcome to Pontin’s New Pakefield – a favourite for so many years. Photo: Archant library.

The Norwich floods of 1912 were a prime example. And indeed some of the cards showing rescue operations took place when the photographer was present.

During the First World War chaos, death and destruction, the cards got through and many of them sent from the front line, especially the silk ones, were real works of art.

Over the years the scenic views and comic postcards took over as so many of us headed off to the seaside for our holidays. We were, and still are, lucky living in Norfolk with the seaside on our doorstep.

Happy days.

Postcards can be dropped off at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, addressed to Derek James or call Michael Porter on 01502 714352.

Better still pop into the Stamp 
and Postcard Fair run by the Norfolk & Norwich Philatelic Society at Hewett School, Norwich, on Saturday August 5 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Michael will have a stall there and there will be plenty of dealers and displays of postcards, postal history, penny boxes for the juniors, and other attractions. Admission is free.

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