The Vaughan Postcard Collection

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Laura Murdoch, Museums Learning Assistant

A huge collection of postcards gathered by a local man, Roy Vaughan, is being researched and made public on the Know Your Place website by a wonderful team of Bristol Archives volunteers.

The Vaughan postcard collection contains historic views of many of Bristol’s streets, as well as photographs of buildings, businesses, theatres, parks, monuments and more – some we might recognise today and others that are no longer part of living memory.

Our volunteers are regularly adding new images to Know Your Place so that anyone visiting the site can explore a virtual view of Bristol’s past, as well as reading about the stories and messages written on the back by the city’s residents and visitors.

Researching the collection has been an interesting and immersive experience and the volunteering team have really delved into the rich local history of Bristol. When I started assisting volunteers with research, I must admit I didn’t have a great deal of knowledge about Bristol’s past. Three months into the process there is so much that I, and the volunteers, have learnt from working with the postcards.

Many of the stories found by the volunteers have really captured our imagination and offer a great insight to the way our Bristolian predecessors viewed the city. One lovely example is this postcard sent to a Reverend Shelled in Cheltenham from a Knowle resident, circa 1900. The postcard depicts the Wells Road looking from Totterdown to the top of George Hill. Some of the houses had been recently converted into shops – a greengrocer’s, confectioner’s and butcher’s. The sender declared the “shops are too posh for me”!

With many more postcards still to be researched, there is so much more to be discovered. If you’re interested in joining the volunteering team, head over to the Know Your Bristol blog to find out how to take part.

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