Postcards of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

Today deltiology, also known as postcard collecting, has become one of the most popular of hobbies. Old postcards have also become valuable as records of times past.

Most subjects imaginable have been recorded at one time or another on a postcard. They record changes in the buildings and the landscape of places. They may also illustrate changes in transport methods, for example early horse-drawn carriages, followed later by trams and cars.

Postcards also provide us with a valuable social document of a particular era. It is often possible to examine the fashion of a particular time, and what was important to people then, through information gleaned from postcards. Messages written on postcards, if still legible can also provide interesting clues about a particular era together with postmarks and stamps.

The world's first postcard was issued in Austria in 1869. The design was relatively simple with a plain back. Britain and a number of other countries also used this format at the time. It was not until 1894 that regulations came into effect in Britain and Ireland, allowing for a picture postcard to be used. The rules stipulated that the address only was to be written on one side of the card, whilst the message and picture were to be on the other.

These rules are clearly written on the back of this postcard posted to a lady in Pennsylvania. Interestingly the postcard was made in Germany where they upheld this regulation about the undivided back until 1905.

In Britain and in Ireland the 'divided back era' began in 1902.The message and the address were now allowed to be on the back of the postcard but with stipulations. This only applied to inland postage. Any postcards destined for other countries could only have the address on the back.

Gradually this evolved to include postcards destined for other destinations as well. So began what many refer to as the golden age of the pictorial postcard and this era was to last until about 1914. By the early 1900s people in Dublin were using postcards frequently.


Next - Postcard Publishersnext