Old and Modern Photos

TTX includes many postcards from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. These were early days for photography and it remained the preserve of the few – equipment was cumbersome, expensive and heavy and developing plates was a complex undertaking. In these days of instant digital photography it is hard to imagine how difficult it was for people to convey the appearance of where they lived or worked to friends and family in distant parts of the country.

They give a fascinating glimpse into the past - street scenes, traffic (horse, motor and pedestrian), state occasions and the everyday. And in every one you will find intriguing details of peoples’ lives. Here is a milkman in an otherwise deserted street.

In the 19th century the postal system in central London was astonishingly effective. In 1879 there were up to 12 deliveries a day in some areas. No wonder Sherlock Holmes was able to use this cutting edge communications technology to fight crime. People also used paper sparingly, happily writing on every spare bit of white space.

Even in 1907 one happy soul could write "Hasn’t this been a cheerful kind of day? Last night was rather amusing! See you in town today?" and be confident that the message would be received and replied to within the day. All this in 94 characters – instant messaging!

Bagpipe Seller

Some occupations don’t seem to have stood the test of time...bagpipe seller?