A Snapshot of early Postcard Production
Just a brief article about the evolution of the Picture Postcard, and an Island photographer’s work between (1878-1913)
In Victorian times the introduction of a postal system and the invention of photography led to the beginning of the picture postcard. Ryde was in a perfect situation for the promotion of this new business, the photographers themselves quickly realised the potential, particularly with tourism expanding and visitors would want to buy postcards to send home
Ryde had the greatest number of photographers of the Isle of Wight towns, Mr Frederick Nutt Broderick jnr. of Aurora Villa, West-street, Ryde, being one such well-known and successful photographer. In 1878 he entered into business with his father, also a photographer and printer, who had produced a short-lived monthly satirical publication in the 1870’s called The Earwig, but the postcard venture was to prove more lucrative for Broderick jnr.
Broderick’s subjects were very diverse, hence his popularity and success. Apart from photos of all types of events and views around the area, he photographed members of the Gentry of Ryde in their own homes, and family portraits, also pictures inside and outside of their property to send to their friends. There were endless opportunities. Then there was entertainment, where performers wanted postcards of themselves to sell, and for advertising purposes. Shop keepers and Hotel Proprietors began to use picture postcards of their premises as a way of advertising. Many postcards showed people going on outings with coach and horses, embarking on ferries or in small boats. Sporting events, Regattas, Agricultural Shows and Hoop Parades were popular subjects. On the more serious side, funerals and military parades were always attended by large crowds who lined the pavements, and many of those spectators would be only too eager to purchase a postcard reminder of the event.
Broderick’s work was not just restricted to the Isle of Wight as he travelled a great deal in Britain and Europe, during which time he photographed and produced many series of postcards called “The Aurora Series.” Note the name Aurora, being the name of his Villa in West-street, and the name of his daughter.
Postcard collecting became a great hobby, especially for the ladies, and ones depicting major events and disasters were a must-have record of history. Mr. Broderick was very adept at capturing those moments with his camera.
The hobby of collecting old postcards is still very popular today and gives us a very real sense of the way things were in days gone by. A wonderful historic record of the people, fashions, pastimes, properties, and the general way in which they lived. It is such a good thing that so many have survived all these years.
More about all Island Photographers can be found on Gordon Childs excellent website at http://www.iowphotos.info/
Sources: IW Observer, Gordon Childs website and RSHG Archive
Images; RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett