Then and Now

Then and Now

Three more postcards from the DDHS’ collection this month for the Then and Now feature.

1958 postcard of Dunbar (click to enlarge all photos – recommended)

The postcard above, showing various views of Dunbar in the late 1950s, is another Valentine’s card. On the reverse side, it reads “SILVERESQUE” 3059v Style Postcard. Copyright. Published by Valentine and Sons Ltd., Dundee and London”. Referring to silveresque, this site notes that “Carbo-type and Silveresque cards were printed in black & white line block halftones to simulate photographs, while Carbotone cards were printed in sepia. Also in sepia was their Photo-gravure series”. In the enlarged photo, you will see that the Winterfield Promenade is referred to as THE PROMENADE although, strictly speaking it is THE WEST PROMENADE as there is an east promenade on the other side of the town i.e. in the distance on the bottom left photograph. The main photo at the top – of the swimming pool – looks to have been taken on a quiet day. The postcard has a serrated edge which has not scanned in.

Back of 1958 postcard

The writing above is “Here are some more views of Dunbar. The holiday time has passed quickly, but we have had a very pleasant time here. We have managed a few picnics and visits to some beaches in spite of indifferent weather. We shall be coming home on Friday evening, and we look forward to seeing you during the weekend. Trust you are well – R&K Clywson (?)”. It is addressed to Miss Langlands, 493 Strathmartine Road, Downfield, Dundee. The postmark is 14 August 1958 Dunbar East Lothian. It is interesting that the weather is described as “indifferent” – maybe rain, maybe haar for a week? A weather site stated that for UK in August 1958 “The most notable events of the month were the thunderstorms” with Aberdeen having 2 days of thunder. This postcard message is more than a holiday report as it refers to the coming weekend.

View from the east beach

The bottom left photo on the postcard is entitled EAST BAY. The photo above was taken from the east beach promenade by Jim Herring on 17 December 2021. Unsurprisingly, there are no holidaymakers but the sand on the beach has returned. There was of course, no smoke from the Cement Works chimney in 1958, but the view is very similar.

1968 postcard of Dunbar

The postcard above is dated 7 August 1968. The reverse side shows that this is an example of the “M and L National Series”. The postcards were produced by Millar and Lang Ltd who were “Founded in 1903 and based originally in Glasgow and latterly in London. Initially they issued black and white real photograph postcards but in the 1930s they also started publishing hand coloured cards… Many of their cards were published using the name ‘National Series’”. The view of the harbour at the top left looks like it was taken from the castle.

1968 Dunbar postcard

The handwriting here suggests that this may have been sent by a boy/young man named Callum, whose accommodation was obviously close to the shore, with the beach (i.e. not the view) only 5 yards away. Hunting for crabs along the rocks at Dunbar would have been a popular pastime for young people, especially with “excellent” weather.

Dunbar harbour in 2021

The photo above is a contemporary view of Dunbar harbour, taken from across the harbour rather than from the now inaccessible castle. While the background buildings have changed, the harbour itself, built in 1842, remains much the same. You can read more about the “new” harbour here.

1903 postcard of Albert Hotel Dunbar

The postcard above is unusual in that the sender has chosen to write on the front of the card and not on the back. The message is “Dear M, Our party numbers 13, two more expected tomorrow. This is a picture of our abode”. It is signed by what may be N J M. The writing is quite formal e.g. “abode” and not “hotel” or “accommodation” and suggests that the writer may have been fairly affluent, in that he (probably) uses his initials and not his name. The publisher of the postcard on the left hand side reads “Gibson, Gateshead on Tyne”. Examples of Gibson postcards can be found on the internet but no information could be found on the company itself.

Reverse of 1903 postcard

While there is no message on the area delineated as “This space may now be used for writing on – for Inland Postage only”, the postcard is addressed to Miss M Blanche, Murray House, Perth. The sender was obviously confident that Murray House could be identified without a street address and this suggests that the house was of some substance. You can check out this impressive building here and recognise that the sender was justified using only the house name and the town.

Albert Hotel today

Today, the old Albert Temperance Hotel is known as the Dunmuir Hotel and the photo above is taken from their website. In the enlarged photo, you can clearly see the “1902” sign on the hotel and it appears that the postcard may have been sent in the 2nd year of the hotel’s operation.