Interested in Postcards?

Sticklepath is lucky to have had many postcard photographs taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Quite a few are still circulating on eBay and other places! I always hope any I get hold of will have been posted, as messages can be great to unpick. Also the postmark and stamp often give some indication of the date.

This one posted with George V ½ penny stamp. Wikipedia says:

George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 Jun 1865 – 20 Jan 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. (I note postage went up to 1 penny on 3 June 1918). I can’t read the postmark but helpfully the sender wrote the date.

It is at the top of the card in black ink, an unusual arrangement of Wednesday 15th December 1915. “Post office, Sticklepath” confused me initially – but this is the address of the sender. The Yeo family ran Sticklepath Post Office for many years. See the note in pencil top left “‘Fancy old Gert inside Tawside” we will come back to this. The pencil continues “Your photo fine trete? Write soon from Auntie P”. Plus 3 kisses. (trete? – Any ideas what that says? Is it just treat?) Aunt P is likely Poll referred to later in the card.

‘Old Gert’ is Gertrude Harvey who lived in Tawside, the arts and crafts style house on the postcard. Tawside was built around 1900 and was once part of the ‘Wood’ estate.

It is always worth using a magnifying glass (or zoom function) to study photos. This card by Chapman, photographers of Dawlish, Devon, one of the JC Yeo series, shows Tawside house with the river Taw to the left, with rather overgrown banks. There are two prams outside the house at the front. One is quite distinctive and I may know who it belonged to – more anon!

Tawside House, Sticklepath.

If you were to walk up the river here and turn around you would see Sticklepath bridge as in this postcard:

The Gertie I knew (Miss Harvey) was a real character, who lived for many years in Tawside with her brother Willie. I am sure people who knew her will have entertaining stories – I would love to hear them. She was a Methodist and as a child I used to collect ‘missionary money’ from her each week. She always had numerous kittens – this photo doesn’t do her or the 5 kittens justice! Typical housewife of the later 1960s wearing an apron. I assume the ‘Old Gert’ referred to on our first postcard must have been her, though she was only about 20 at the time! (Her mother was called Emma)

This is a picture of a Sticklepath WI outing to Sampford Courtenay Church perhaps in late 1960s or early 70s? Gertie is second from the left. Her distinctive leg shape suggests she had rickets as a child.

Our final postcard is earlier (the garden is not so developed). This one has a clear postmark, 16 Aug 1910. The message makes it clear they took paying guests at the time. Have a close look at the man on the lawn:

SUMMARY of genealogy: When Gertrude Elizabeth Harvey was born on 1 June 1895 (registered Okehampton) her father, William Henry Stanbury Harvey, an ag.lab, was 28, and her mother Emma, nee Wonnacott, was 25. She had one brother, William James Harvey (known as Willie). She lived initially at No 1 Taw River Cottages in Sticklepath (there were 2). In 1911 she was already a ‘dairy worker’ aged 15y. She helped out on the farm most of her life, living at Tawside House Sticklepath, (South Tawton Parish), from at least 1910, but moved to Effra opposite the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Sticklepath in old age. It is likely she had rickets as a child. Willie died in 1974. Gertie never married. She died in Greenacres nursing home on 3 March 1990 in Chagford, Devon, at the age of 94.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s