Monday, 13 February 2017

On Zetland Road with a postcard and an odd message in the March of 1905

I have looked at this postcard of “Draycott” a dozen times over the last few years and not given it much thought.

It is on Zetland Road and was sent by Edmund Holmes to his daughter Mabel in March 1905.

It was a Monday, and it was posted in Chorlton sometime before 10 in the morning.

Mr Holmes was a chartered accountant, had been born in Derby in 1849, was married to Julia and they had three girls of which Mabel was the youngest.*

Now we will never know why Edmund sent his 17 year old daughter the post card or whether the others also got one.

Perhaps the clue is on the message on the back which just says “Puzzle: Find yourself.  This is Draycott.  Love from father”

Now I am not going down the route of idle speculation.  It may have been the result of some profound discussion about how Mabel was feeling on that day or just that he saw the card on sale and decided to send it on a whim.

Commercial postcards such as this were regularly available and were often an opportunist move on the part of the photographer who would take a series of shots of houses to sell to the residents with surplus copies making their way into the local shops and station kiosk.

Edmund was part of the partnership of accountants of Morris, Gregory, Holmes and Hansford who had offices at 32 York Street, which may have meant he caught the train from the station to Central and walked the short distance along Mosley Street past St Peter’s Church and on to York Street.

Now there will have been many other routes and no doubt someone will suggest a quicker or more scenic journey but as the offices were at the junction of York and Faulkner Streets I will stick with my mine.

And before someone questions his choice of the train over the tram I have to point out that the tram service was not extended from West Point until 1907, and so on that March day I rather think he would have walked down what was then Holland Road [now Zetland Road] to Cavendish Road [now Corkland Road] and across to the station.

He may have bought the card at Mrs Burt’s stationary shop on Wilbraham Road but more likely from the kiosk on the platform.

At this point dear reader you either mutter something very rude at the degree to which I can show off with the knowledge or sit back impressed.

Either way it is a little lesson in how a postcard can with the help of the 1901 census, Slater’s Directory and the odd OS map get behind the message sent on that Monday morning.

Picture; from the Lloyd collection

*Edmund Holmes, born in 1849, Derby, Julia, 1850, Manchester, and Alice, 1880, Gertrude, 1883, Mabel, 1888

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