Stunning postal history archive explores rich heritage of Cumbria and the Lake District
A UNIQUE postal history archive showcasing the Lake District’s rich heritage from the Edwardian era to the mid-20th century is coming up for auction.
From Sir Malcom Campbell’s Blue Bird K4 on Coniston Water and the Miss England II disaster on Lake Windermere to closed railway lines, defunct stations and tram depot, the transport section alone is a historical treasure trove.
The carefully catalogued collection of 4,500 postcards also includes records of day-to-day working practices from bygone Cumbria to evocative images of the Lake District.
They feature in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Stamps & Postal History Sale on Thursday, May 13, starting at 9.30am and broadcast online live from The Lichfield Auction Centre.
Viewing is offered strictly by appointment only on Wednesday, May 12, between 9am and 4pm – telephone 01543 251081 to book.
“It shines a light on how people lived their day-to-day lives,” said ephemera specialist Robert French.
“Working images include steel works, blacksmiths, woodcutters, farming, quarrying, mining, weaving and fishing.
“There are postcards of harbours including ship launches, sanatoriums, schools, colleges, courts, police and the army.
“These sit alongside pictures of early tourism in the region.
“Rare and unusual examples from the Edwardian era and early 20th Century include rock climbing, skating on frozen lakes, swimming and beach games – in full Edwardian attire.”
There are several postcards of the Appleby New Fair, the ‘Uppies and Downies’ football match traditionally played in Workington at Easter, several fetes, pageants and shows including the Coronation Festival.
The Lake District’s famous environment is comprehensively represented.
“It’s fascinating to how these famous places looked a century ago,” said Mr French.
“Ambleside, Windemere, Grasmere, Scafell, Coniston, Derwentwater, Skiddaw, Ullswater, Helvellyn, Penrith, Keswick, Derwentwater and many more are all present, as are stately homes across the region and castles including Appleby, Brough, Kirkby Stephen (Pendragon), Penrith (Lowther), Dacre, Cockermouth and Piel.”
As well as Lakeland pleasure boats and ferries, water speed record attempts feature – Sir Malcolm Campbell in the Blue Bird K4 on Coniston Water, August 19 1939 and the ill-fated Miss England II disaster on Lake Windermere, on June 13 – Friday 13th – 1939 in which pilot Sir Henry Seagrave was killed.
There are also images of pre-WW1 biplanes, hydroplanes and two images of the Vickers’ Naval Airship Number One in Cavendish Dock at the Port of Barrow in September 1911.
“The airship was nicknamed ‘Mayfly’, in that ‘it may fly one day’. It never did,” said Mr French.
Another rare card shows the military funeral of Gunner Newell 33rd RFA, an artillery soldier killed by lightning on June 11, 1912.
“The archive opens up a fascinating window on a part of the country we all know and love and reveals what life was really like there a century ago,” added Mr French.
“The entire collection is beautifully presented and in fantastic condition.”
The May 13 auction also includes some of the UK’s most coveted postage stamps.
Specialist valuations and advice on watches, jewellery and silver are available by appointment only at The Lichfield Auction Centre from 10am-4pm on Thursdays.
Appointments for general valuations, also on Thursdays, will become available from May 6.