This is my Granddad on the last tram to run in Halifax. he served nine years in the Coldstream Guards.


Recently, I had to clear out some boxes, and an old, leather strapped suitcase, which contain much of the family history on my Mother’s side. I’d expected to do this job fairly quickly but, with laughter and tears along the way, I still haven’t finished. The old letters, post cards, and photographs, some of which date back to the late 1800s, hold a wealth of fascinating family history. Does anyone remember the Mable Lucy Attwell postcards? One particular Auntie seemed much in favour of them to send messages. This same Auntie was obviously very widely travelled as she sent cards home from many exotic places. One such, from somewhere in Austria, had the message, “Had a good time, I shall be home on Thursday, 25th, please meet me at Halifax station.” The postmark was the 23rd. Two days from Austria – what has happened to our postal service?

Here lies the down side to our present electronic mailing system, Emails written and discarded, photos taken on digital cameras, or cell phones. Sometimes the pictures are transferred to a pc, but more often than not they are forgotten about as the next event takes over, and who sees them on the pc? This mistake was made back in the 70s when photos were put on to slides and not printed out.

No longer do we have the pleasure of rushing to pick up a letter or a postcard that has dropped through our letterbox – just bills and circulars galore. And somewhere down the line, no one will have the great pleasure that I am having reading old letters; trying to put names to faces on old photos and marvelling at the familiarity of a face to a present family member.

The electronic age with all its wonders is pretty marvellous, but it cannot compete with the treasures of the old handwritten letters and sepia photos in the family archives.



2 thoughts on “LETTERS

  1. I love rummaging through old postcards and photographs from the family collection, Jeanne. I have quite a few sent to my father by his father when he was away during WWI and postcards have been collected by family members for ever it seems, including a couple of Lucy Mabel Atwell examples. Postcards were even sent between relatives living close by as they were cheaper to send than letters and at least one was sent early morning to say the relative was arriving for tea. Four deliveries a day in towns it seems although my relatives lived in more rural locations.

  2. Thanks, Ann, this is a lovely way to spend an hour or two. We now find that our grandkids just love looking back at their baby photos so it’s well worth the effort to make sure they are kept. It’s not the same with emails, they are written, read, answered sometimes and forgotten – all that history lost!

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