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Moonlighting at the Tower

Date Sent:     1 SEP 1905

Sender: Alice Mary

Recipient: Miss S A Ashworth, 4 Peel Street, Cloughfold

Transcript:  Dear Sarah Alice

I have landed home all right I hope you enjoy yourself at Blackpool. I shall want to look at your Phots the next time I see you and I hope you have not burn them as Edith as do. With love Alice Mary

A hand written postcard with a green stamp

Moonlight views became a popular novelty postcard in the early 1900s – not least because a true image illuminated only by lunar light was a considerable technical achievement. Sadly, publishers turned to fakery to transform daylight originals and fulfil demand. Clear, round moons sailed among carefully crafted clouds above sepia toned views while passing rivers sparkled with enhanced reflections.

Millar & Lang produced the National Series – Millar published his first postcards in 1903 and formed the limited company in 1905.  Later postcards bear the company trademark of a shield emblazoned with the logo “NATIONAL SERIES” and topped with a lion couchant.  The company produced postcard series in all the fashionable categories and claimed the widest range of “views” on offer. Based in Glasgow with a London office, Millar and Lang were avid promoters of British printed cards and actively resisted imports which at this time had the reputation of being superior.

A night view of the tower of london

Alice Mary was unconcerned by such considerations, and more than happy to send Sarah Alice a trending card (obviously double Christian naming was also fashionable in 1905). I’m pretty sure she didn’t pour over the picture with a magnifying glass questioning why the benches on the Wharf were occupied so late at night, or wonder at the figure leaning over the rails staring into the river. The fact that every Tower building blazed with lights simultaneously and through suspiciously symmetrical uncurtained windows did not cause her to consider this was as stated a moonlit view of the Tower of London.

Meanwhile, don’t you just long to know more about Edith’s pyromania – why she burned her “phots” – and quite how much Sarah Alice enjoyed herself in Blackpool away from her day job as drawerin in a cotton mill?

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