Wednesday 30 June 2010

Lanercost Priory

Lanercost Priory, Cumberland. West Front, from Priory Gateway

Postcard produced by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works.  The handwritten note on the back gives a date of 7 July 1973.  A year later than this there was a local government reorganisation which swept away the name and county of Cumberland, it, together with Westmorland, the Furness area of Lancashire and part of eastern Yorkshire became the county of Cumbria. Of course this is only a government designation and those individual parts of Cumbria still retain their different identities. The Ministry of Public Buildings also no longer exists

I have visited this priory a quite few times, it lies 2 miles NE of Brampton near Carlisle. It is a little gem which never seems to be visited in any numbers so on a sunny day it is a peaceful haven to wander around. The postcard writer tells us that he "called here on our way home from Alnmouth, the sun came out after a heavy shower".  This is a natural mid journey stopping off point if you are travelling from the north east coast over to the north west.

This Augustinian priory has had a turbulent history for it is located in an area that the Scots and the English fought over for centuries.  The Priory of St Mary Magdalene at Lancercost was founded in about 1166 by Robert de Vaux.  Its position 400 yards from Hadrian's Wall meant that during the Scottish wars of the 13th and 14th centuries Lanercost was raided many times. The first raid came in 1280, shortly after Edward I and Queen Eleanor had been staying there, this was followed by another in 1296 when the cloisters were burnt down.  In 1306 Edward I had returned and laid six months mortally ill (which put the priory under great financial strain) and moved to Burgh on Sands on the Solway to die. The worst attack was to come in 1346 when an armed force under King David II of Scotland  wasted the monastery's lands, ransacked the buildings and damaged the church.  These must have been some tough monks for after each raid the priory was re-occupied and rebuilt and the community even produced its own chronicle history of England.

Lanercost's troubles were not over with the passing of time for when Henry VIII broke with the church of Rome and started the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 and suppressed the smaller houses (including this priory) it seems that the canons became involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace (a protest about the dissolution).  Henry sent the Duke of Norfolk north to Lanercost "without pitie or circumstance to cause all the canons that be in anywise faultie to be hanged without further delaye". Nothing is know of the fate of the canons but the priory was finally dissolved in 1537.

The church is well preserved, for although after the dissolution it stood empty for two centuries, in 1740 the nave was sealed off from the rest of the church, re-roofed and once more used.  Last weekend they held their annual music festival.

Monday 28 June 2010

Teddy Bear

"Father's Day teddy". Illustration by Crystal Collins-Sterling. I inherited my fathers carpentry and other tools, the basics I know but some of these objects he collected over a lifetime I haven't got a clue about.  Still for any job around the house I probably have a tool for it, if not two.

The illustrator of this postcard as well as producing teddy bear postcards also produces paper dolls and postcard stickers.

This card came unexpectedly from Pam in Georgia, USA thanking me for my Postcrossing card.  Thank you for the surprise Pam.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Postal Van

Royal Mail Van in the valley of Weasdale. 

This picture is a celebration of the universal postage rate, no matter where you live a letter or parcel can be delivered from anywhere in the world.

Weasdale is sometimes called a secret valley and one of Cumbria's Howgill Fells 2000 footers is here with amazing panoramas from the top with little effort, not on this day for the low cloud covered all of the Weasdale Horseshoe.

Got a post of a photo of anything that relates to mailboxes or post?  Then join the Weekend Mailbox meme hosted by Gemma at Greyscale Territory.

Friday 25 June 2010


Farming is at full tilt at the moment and some grass fields are being cut for silage but we are not at the time of the year, yet, that this Canadian card depicts of "Threshing in Western Canada".  Farmers would put together entire threshing crews to help with this chore. The picture looks to depict steam threshers.  The steam thresher-man bought his steam traction engine and seperator to the farm to do the threshing.  Farmers paid the thresher man a set rate per bushel of threshed grain, fed workers and helped out. This machine dominated the grain harvest from 1905 until the 1930s.

The card is one of the Stedman Brothers, a large publisher of central Canada and the Great Lakes postcards from 1908-1915. They produced a lot of these retouched cards.  I like the almost painterly feel of this one.

It was sent to my Grandmother and says "I am sending you a PC or two. Hoping you like them.  The weather is very severe here just now. Hope these PC find you in best of health as they leave me quite well. Yours truly, Abe".  The family emigrated to farm in Canada and experienced some bad winters on arrival. One can only imagine the shock of Canadian winters to someone used to English ones. They got through these first winters with the help of neighbours and friends.  I think this card would probably be sent about 1910.

I keep it in an album with this stamp
which is a 1930 20 cent stamp of harvesting with a tractor overprinted with the "World's Grain Exhibition & Conference, Regina 1933".  By coincidence the family of the post card farmed in Saskatchewan.  I wonder if they went to this exhibition.  The event was supposed to take place in 1932 which was the 50 year anniversary of the founding of Regina but the great depression and the fall in grain prices meant that it did not take place until the following year. The exhibition hall was an important public works project providing work for those hit by the depression. In recent times the building stored agricultural products but it burnt down in June 2009.

To continue the harvesting theme here is my Great Grandfather farming in Lancashire, England where the Canadian family were from.
 My Grandmother wrote on the back "Dad and Ernest on the Combine it threshes and cuts grain all in one operation, a change from when we started with oxen and then horses".

Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy is our hostess for  Postcard Friendship Friday

Wednesday 23 June 2010


A wonderfully summery map card from Finland makes me feel I want to travel there, the summer meadows and lakes look so inviting, maybe sailing by the ferry on the calm water.  The Viking Line sails every day from Finland and their advertising line is "Step on board the Red Ships and discover a world without Mondays".  I think that cat must be phoning them now to book a passage.

My sender lives in a small town near Tornio in Lapland on the border with Sweden.  Located on the card near the little red house.

It came with the 2006 stamp by the artist Pirkko Juvonen-Sandbois  of bilberries, (vaccinium myrtillus).
A nice composition of pie, plant and berry. One of my favourite pies. We ate our way round the French Vosges one September tasting a variety of bilberry pies from  the Auberges we passed when walked the hills.

Bilberries grow on poor acidic soil but its rather backbreaking work to pick them.  They grow wild on one of the hillsides near where I live in the Lake District, a hardy little plant that makes a lovely coating of green on the slopes, press on them and they just spring back.

The card travelled 1,232 miles (1982k) and took 23 days.          Thank you Kai. 

Monday 21 June 2010

St Petersburg

The Great Palace. Taurida.  Wikipedia says it is the " largest and most historic of the palaces in St Petersburg" and in a city of beautiful palaces that certainly puts it in illustrious company

Built between 1783 and 1789 by Ivan Starov for Prince Gregory Potemkin it is plain neo-classical on the outside but very elaborate in the inside. I cannot tell you which room this is because the full title of the card was partially covered by a stamp.  It looks like a reception hall.   Potemkin was called Prince of Taurida for his successful military command during the conquest of the area, which we now call the Crimea, and was a favourite of Chatherine II.   He lost her patronage and in an attempt to win back favour put on festivals and illuminations for her but was to die on April 18 1791 without attaining this objective.

Although Catherine was not impressed by his attempts she must have been impressed by the palace for she bought it and employed Fyodor Volkiv to alter the interior and also put in a theatre and a church; transforming it into her summer town-house.

More changes happened in 1906 when it was partially rebuilt for the State Duma (parliament) and was the centre of revolutionary events in February 1917.  The main hall can seat 1000.  The present occupant of the building is the Commonwealth of Independent States and it is not open to the public but is still used for conferences.  How wonderful to work in a building like this.

The card came with a 4 of the 12 definitive stamps issued on October 1st 2009 of Russian Kremlins.  The name kremlin means a fortress or castle.
Now you can see why part of the title was covered by the stamps, what a great selection from my sender.
From top left to right they are: 5.00 - Novgorod Kremlin; 2.50 - Kolomna Kremlin; 10p. Moscow Kremlin
Botom left to right: 1.50 - Zaraisk Kremlin and another 5.00 Novgorod Kremlin.

My sender sends greetings from Moscow where summer has arrived and everything is green, very warm and sunny.

The card travelled 1,606 miles (2585k) and took 12 days.
Thank you Vadim.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Post Box #1 Borwick (LA6 13)

Post Box by The Green, Borwick, Lancashire. How useful if you lived in this house to just pop to the post. But then there are 116,088 post boxes in the UK so perhaps no-one is too far from one. We are a long time away from 1852 when the author Anthony Trollope installed an experimental post box in the Channel Island.
I do like wall post boxes as they nestle into the landscape.  Traditionally made of cast iron they are painted every three years.  This one has the royal insignia VR so was installed sometime between 1881 to 1901.  Postie is up early on a Saturday as the collection is at 7.30 am.

Participating in Gemma's Grey Scale Territory Weekend Mailbox meme.

Friday 18 June 2010


We have had some glorious sunny weather recently so lets take back a trip in time. The postcard is entitled "Soaking up the sun at Morecambe, early 1950s"  Yes the great British summer and we do like to lay in the sun, but sometimes it is best to wrap up.

Morecambe is a seaside town on the north west coast of England.  The weather was so clear yesterday that I could see it from my side (north) of the bay, and Blackpool Tower further along.  Fifteen miles away as the crow flies but 50 miles, without wings, to travel by land round the bay.  I suppose the 1950s were the last of the mass holidays to British seaside towns.  In the 1960s the population became more affluent, package holidays arrived and people discovered you could guarantee sunny weeks abroad.   Despite its decline I always have a soft spot for Morecambe or maybe it is a memory of the giant ice creams they used to sell there.  Brucciani's Ice Cream Parlour in Morecambe have been selling ice cream for nearly 100 years, maybe that is where this idea came from

Edwardian holiday poster for Morecambe, circa 1905.  The Naples of the North.  Yes Naples is on a bay and by the sea, full marks for imagination.

Our hostess for Postcard Friendship Friday is Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy,  Happy PFF.

Monday 14 June 2010


Back from the Howgills which for much of the week were under low cloud but there are lots of low level walks in the area to explore plus some quaint towns and villages.  The three views on this card probably sum up Sedbergh, a market town dating back to Saxon times. It is located at the foot of the Howgill hills and just inside the Yorkshire Dales national park but also part of the Lake District county of Cumbria, this is a town that has always straddled areas and was where ancient trade routes merged.

Its main industry in the past was farming, knitting and woollen goods. The set of ten steps are on Grade II historic buildings in Weavers Yard,  dated probably c1800 when the surrounding area had many mills and weavers were converting the local wool .  The streets are narrow and full of interesting buildings and at one end of the town is the 12th Century Norman Parish Church of St Andrews, restored in 1886 when the interior was altered.

In present times farming still predominates but many of the shops are now sellers of books and Sedbergh has become a Book Town, an ideal place for the bibliophile. But as it is also a walking and tourist area there are also lots of pubs and tea shops. What a great combination.

Friday 4 June 2010


A confluence on the North Yorkshire Moors.  Your could ring from here and say, I've just posted your card.

I'm heading east for a week's holiday but not as far as this as I am stopping off by the 'mountain' spine of northern England.  I wonder if I will find any interesting postcards?

Wednesday 2 June 2010


No indication on the back of this card to where this lighthouse is, or what coast. It is number 23 of 24 from a postcard book.  My sender sent greetings from Germany and tells me she has nearly finished University.  I browsed through Anke and Jens lighthouse site on the assumption it was German but the only one I could find like this was inland, so I admit defeat, but a great Lighthouse website and now I know a whole lot more about German lighthouses.

Being an islander the sea and it shoreline are endlessly fascinating, but then in the UK any parking spot with a view out to sea usually has someone in it gazing out at the horizon.

My card came with two of the flower definitive stamps.  I like this series which make cards and letters look so pretty. Wish our definitives consisted of more than the rather boring queen's head.
In floriography or the Victorian language of flowers if they sent a yellow tulip it meant hopeless love. There are many meanings for roses and combinations of different colours have other meanings but a deep red rose means bashful shame although a single rose means simplicity.

This card travelled 716 miles (1,153k) and took 9 days. Thank you Danja