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Tuck’s view from the Wharf

Date sent: 30 JAN1917; Battersea 

Sender: N/A 

Recipient: Mrs Lofthouse, 64 Princes Avenue, Withernsea, nr. Hull,  Yorks 

Transcription: 28/1/17 

Dear Mrs Lofthouse 

I am still having a ripping time here, College goes down better everyday, all the same, I wish tonight, it was three weeks ago. 

Kinds regards to Mr L 

XX for Pellie 

Yours Dora 

Sepia image of the white tower

For Dora simply wanting to message to Mrs Lofthouse a Raphael Tuck picture postcard was perfect.  Tuck’s were one of the leading quality publishers in a prolific market. She wouldn’t have minded that the view was not the most current – the clock in the corner turret of the White Tower had been removed in 1913, before the outbreak of the current war. She may not even have known that the Tuck family originated in Germany.  

Papa Tuck established his paper printing business in the City of London in 1866.  By 1870 his 3 sons were also involved, and the following year the company produced their first Christmas greeting cards. The company specialised in fine art reproductions earning a Royal Warrant of Appointment from 1893 – as this postcard notes.  

Postcard message

Adolph was the firm’s postcard champion. He was instrumental in changing Post Office regulations thereby resizing English postcards and permitting the use of adhesive stamps.  Britain’s golden age of picture postcards was firmly launched, and Tuck’s were ready – issuing their first set of picture postcards in November 1899.  Clever marketing, sustained quality and an extensive catalogue assured their success.  

As is so often the case with postcards, questions remain. Who was Dora?  Her use of a postcard tells us little about her social status – by 1917 the initial snobbery surrounding their use had long gone. Turns out that “ripping” had been a slang term for excellent since 1806. What college was she enjoying so much? Given her neat writing it is tempting to speculate that it might be Secretarial.   And who or what is Pellie? Our money is on a pampered pooch. 

Tags :   London; River ThamesTower of London; Tower Wharf; First world War; Withernsea, Nr Hull; Yorkshire; Raphael Tuck and Sons; Tuck’s “Sepia plate-marked” postcards; First World War. 

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