Tony Morrison

Exhibition: The Stratford Postcards

  • Free to view:
    There's no need to book, just turn up and explore the exhibition in our building.
  • Dates:
    Thu 8 - Sun 18 Nov
  • Times:
    During building opening hours

Drawn from the postcard collection of local historian Tony Morrison, these postcards show Stratford in a bygone age, at the beginning of the last century. The postcards have been enlarged and mounted to create this striking display.

The 'Golden Age' of postcards was from around 1902 to the end of the First World War in 1918. During that time, thousands of postcards were sent every day in London and across the country. There were several collections and deliveries daily, and a card posted before 10am would arrive in most parts of London by midday. In 1902 the Post Office allowed messages to be written on the back of the postcard (up to then messages had to be written around the edge of the picture on the front of the card). Then the sending of postcards really took off – they became the emails of their day, passing on news, making arrangements to meet, sending greetings.

The images here were all taken by local photographers in Stratford, who just went out into the streets and took pictures of local scenes. They were then printed in their thousands and sold in local shops, where people often bought bundles of cards for their messages.

Some of the cards have faded; most have years of dust, dirt, scrapes and tears. Also many early coloured postcards were hand painted with detail often roughly drawn in. Fortunately these images can be given a second life by computer scanning and restoration, to produce the images you see here.