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Robin Cook   ‘Local History through Early Postcards’

Robin is a local historian who has been collecting old postcards for forty years starting with the history of Swainby with scenes from the years before WW1.  He has now produced 12 books relating to local towns and villages showing aspects of life from bygone years.  His collection of over a thousand postcards formed the basis his talk. Robin first became interested in collecting postcards in 1975 at a history exhibition on Swainby before WW1.

To illustrate his talk Robin selected 84 cards highlighting moments of life in South Bank, Redcar, Saltburn, Whitby, Skinningrove, Great Ayton, Staithes, Guisborough, Kildale among others.

Examples include:

A photograph taken outside The Globe at South Bank ,showing the Royal Order of Buffalos who were benefactors, on their way to Scarborough.

 the Ironstone Railway at New Bank Eston, the North’s Klondyke, showing full carriages down pulling empty carriages back up the bank.

 Eston Hospital built by Bolckow and Vaughan, which was demolished and replaced with a Home for Old People.

A view of High Street., Redcar in 1902 illustrating the Coronation Celebration with Eton collars worn by the youngsters.

Redcar Pier, which was originally two hundred yards long, but suffered from corrosion and ships crashing into it during the night.

A card dated 12thSeptember.1912 showing a beached whale screened off by businessman and people charged to take a look.

The oldest lifeboat in England,which is now now at Zetland Museum, built in 1802, which saved over five hundred lives.

ACard of Herbert Samuel, Cleveland MP and Postmaster General, at the Zetland Hotel, Saltburn.

A photograph of the Ship Inn at Saltburn showing Bathing Machines and Mortuary for people drowned at sea.

– A Middlesbrough postcard sent with message ‘Meet me at Empire at 3.30pm today’ which was sent when there were four deliveries per day.

These early cards are very collectable, they were designed to tell stories compared with the bland scenes of today. They are rare, only a hundred or so of each were printed & very few survive, these are now valued at between £30-£40 each. The period 1900 to 1914 were the peak years, in 1916 the postage doubled from 1/2d to 1d & killed the card trade.  Later coloured cards were produced in vast quantities but of poorer quality.

Copies of Robin’s latest book are available at £9.65 per Paper Back copy