Old photos, maps and postcards

By | August 24, 2020

If you’ve been reading emails from The Helpful Book Company for a while, now, you might have already heard of this website.  I’m pretty sure Tim’s mentioned it before – but it was probably getting on for 10 years ago now!

It’s called francisfrith.com

I’m a bit of a sucker for old-fashioned things, and this site is a treasure trove of old photos and maps of the UK.  It started as a way of sharing the archives of Francis Frith himself – a Victorian photographer and postcard-maker whose collection was rescued from the teeth of a bulldozer back in 1969.

The archive is great to browse through, and there are some really interesting bits and pieces of local history up on the site now as well.  A lot of the pictures are from the original Francis Frith archive, going all the way from 1850 to the late 1960s.  (There are a few more modern pictures on there, too – mostly from postcards.) For example, I found this one of Millom Square from 1950 (can’t say it’s changed much since then!)

But what I really wanted to mention was their free e-postcard service.  You can choose any picture from the collection and send it as an email postcard.  I think they’re great for a birthday or to celebrate an anniversary – you could look for a photo from the year they were born, or from the place they got married.

You can send as many cards as you like for free – here’s how it works:

  1. First you need to register with Francis Frith – they just need an email address and password, it’s completely free (they’ll send you emails about photo mugs or jigsaws or whatever, but feel free to unsubscribe if you’re not interested!)
  2. Then have a browse the archive to find the photo you want to send.  You can search by place or year.
  3. Once you’ve found a photo you like, click on it and choose “Send this photo as a Free ePostcard”.
  4. You then need to type in the name and email address of the person you’re sending it to, your message (you can write up to 400 characters – that’s about 60 words) and your own name and email address.
  5. There are six different designs to choose from, including “Birthday Greetings!” and “Happy Anniversary”
  6. Once you’re happy, you can preview the card and send it – your friend with get an email with a link to click to take them to the card.

You can send as many ePostcards as you like this way – completely free.

Hope you enjoy messing around on this website as much as I have!

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