Saturday 25 June 2011

City Cross, High Cross, or Buttercross

I bought this rather tattered card for two reasons.  The first is that I used to live in Winchester and regularly walked down the High Street.  Secondly, I found the message interesting:
My dear Ethel
Many thanks for your P.C.  Am looking forward to your letter.  So you are not going this week.  I don't think I am.  I had a card from Flo this morning asking me to meet her in Winchester so am looking forward to seeing her.  I wish you were there. We are having a dance here tonight. Two or three Controllers have been here today and all at my meal table. Love to Miss Emms. Love from Amy
And it was addressed to
RASC Supplies Office
Bovington Camp

The card is dated 6 November 1919 which ties in nicely with the address.  QMAAC was the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, renamed in 1918 from the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and was disbanded in 1921 when it was thought the women were no longer needed - the war effort was over.  Here is the tenuous link with the Sepia Saturday theme - women during the war though in this case WWI.  The women of QMAAC freed up experienced soldiers to go to the front line.  There were four sections: cookery, mechanical, clerical and miscellaneous. The women didn't enlist but enrolled.  They had ranks - the Controllers mentioned in the message were officers.  Most stayed in the UK but some 9,000 served with the British Expeditionary Forces in France.  Winchester had, and still has, strong links with the Army.

The High Street in Winchester hasn't changed very much.  The shop which was Allen's Sweets has had various occupants but the last time I saw it, it was back to selling sweets - this time chocolates.  Behind the Buttercross itself is the oldest building in Winchester, now a sandwich or pasty shop.  There are a few "then and now" pictures on Winchester Council's site, worth looking at if you like viewing progress.  Progress could be debatable because most, to my eye, seemed to look better "then" rather than "now".

This is my first entry for Sepia Saturday


  1. How strange! I happen to be in the same city, for this Sepia Saturday!

  2. Great card and even greater message

  3. I agree - progress isn't always desirable or attractive.

  4. This card would have been worth buying for just the front or the back. What a great find.

  5. Welcome to Sepia Saturday. I know that view of the Buttercross very well. Until 2009 Salisbury was my home town and we would often have days out to WInchester. You’re probably right about things changing very little. I love the message and the connection with Bovington Camp.I used to be Head of a school attended by the children of service families on Salisbury Plain, so that’s another connection for me. Thanks for posting.

  6. i find it is often the case that some things looked better before as they had more charm, but our building code has improved, making buildings safer and more practical, if not as enchanting... and we unfortunately see too often cookie cutter concepts. you see one, you've seen them all!! i wish there was a middle ground here...

    nice post!! welcome aboard!!

  7. I'm glad you've joined us on Sepia Saturday Sheila. I don't know Winchester at all other than reading about its cathedral. The Buttercross is superb in any era.

  8. I was mystified by the title until I googled it and found this site that tells about the Cross:

  9. It's fascinating how postcards used to be used almost like email. Drop each other quick lines, keep in touch with brief messages, make dates for future gatherings. And in the end they had a nice postcard. Now we have a crummy digital file and feel we must respond as soon as we read it.

  10. I am intrigued by women's service during the Great War, the varied types of jobs they did, and how that might have fitted in with women's emancipation. Some time ao, I posted some photos on Photo-Sleuth of a young woman who served in the Land Army, another service where women took over predominantly male roles for the duration. The story behind your card is another piece in the intricate jigsaw, thanks for sharing it.

  11. During my very first trip to England so very long ago, I did a short four day Trafalgar, "Taste of Britain" tour. It was great fun, really. We went to Winchester and several other places. I really thought Chester was a lovey place and we also stopped in Grasmere and visited Edinburgh. I've been back to England at least ten times since those days!

  12. The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was disbanded in 1921? I had heard of another Englishwoman involved in something similar, only in WWII. Perhaps they revived it. Can't remember her name.

    I've heard of Winchester. Didn't know about the sweets there, though. Beautiful picture.

  13. Ditto!It's very rare for me find new better than old .But Winchester is still a fine place whenever.


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