Wednesday 19 August 2009

British seaside postcards

Postmarked Margate and dated 25 July 1924. W.B. 12. Signed Donald McGill.

Unused.  Inter-Art Comique Series.  Signed Donald McGill.

Postmarked Margate, dated 14 June 1924. Celesque Series. No. 2250.

Postmarked Canterbury, dated 22 July 1953.  HB Ltd. Comicus.

British seaside postcards became popular as the seaside became a popular place for holidays in the early part of the twentieth century.  By the 1930s they developed into a more risqué form.

Donald McGill was the artist most associated with the saucy postcard but not all his postcards were saucy, nor were all of them seaside cards, nor were all seaside postcards saucy.  Nevertheless, in 1954, the British government decided to crack down on declining morals and Donald McGill was charged and found guilty under the Obscene Publications Act.

By the 1950s, the censorship had eased off and the postcard market, which had suffered greatly, recovered.  The saucy postcard once more became very popular, until the 1970s and 1980s when the quality of the artwork and humour lessened.

The four cards shown here were all together in a collection which my father was given many years ago.  Only two could be described as amusing (they are the only funny ones I have) but I've included the other two to use to illustrate the "non-saucy" versions of the British seaside postcard.  Both of them from Margate and it looks as though they were massed produced with the specific seaside resort added later.  Certainly the printing of "AT MARGATE" in the first card is different colour and at an angle from the rest of the printing.

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  1. hi sheila! first off, thanks for taking time to read my blog & for posting a comment. it's really comforting to hear words of support from people who have gone through the same experience.

    secondly, what a cool site you've got here! it's a rare thing for me to be able to receive a postcard nowadays. perhaps, that's one disadvantage to the internet boom. keep up the good work & perhaps u can allow me to post some postcards here too in the future :)

  2. I like the cute postcards, the Benny Hill brand of humor was never my favorite anyway.

  3. Thanks for the interesting post. I am alsways surprised how different the British and American versions of humor are.

    I thought this topic would be really easy, but I guess it isn't.

  4. @Mama Mia, thank you! You'd be very welcome to post some cards. Just get in touch by email - my address is in the sidebar.

    @Descartes, Benny Hill's was a very particular type of humour I suppose. Not my favourite either.

    @Postcardy, it's surprising, isn't it, how humour varies from country to country. I found the topic difficult because of the type of card I have, but there should be plenty of funny cards out there, judging by what people have in their Postcrossing collections.


Welcome to my postcard collection! I love hearing what you think of the cards - but spam WILL be deleted.

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