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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sepia Saturday: Braving the Traffic Across the World

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

This week's prompt focuses on street crowds and horse drawn traffic. 

Travel from one of Europe's most famous cities,  to a Far East waterfront, and   a small country town in Lancashire to experience some  busy traffic.

 I can't see any horses here, but a busy scene in the Square outside Paris Opera House, May 1940 - a photograph from my father's war-time album.

 The Bund, Shanghai, China, c.1939.
By the early 20th century,  this was a major financial centre for East Asia.
Another "service" memento,  this time from my husband's uncle, Matthew Iley White 
who served in the Durham Light Infantry in China. 1937-40.  

Mattie's Service Book showing his time in China

 Waiting for the Bus at Poulton Market Square, Lancashire - early 20th century. 

Not a very good photograph, but the man on the left in the peak cap  standing by the open topped bus in the Market Square is my great uncle Bob Danson,  a postman in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,  I don't know if I would feel all that safe on the top of this vehicle, ready to take passengers into Blackpool.

I was pleased to see  that the British Postal Service Appointment Books had been made available on www.ancestry.co.uk.    It is always fascinating to see an original record relating to an ancestor, but  to be honest they gave little information besides recording Bob's  name and appointment in  1907 in Preston as a Rural Postman,  with a further entry showing  his appointment  as postman in Blackpool in May 1925.  

His daughter Irene  presents a much more colourful picture of Bob's working life and recollects that:

"He went a long way on his bicycle from Poulton over Shard Bridge [where his grandfather Henry Danson had been a toll keeper] to deliver the post over Wyre.  He had a little hut at Presall where he had to wait until it was time to do the collections and then ride all the way back to Poulton.

In later years he worked from Blackpool General Post Office where his round was North Promenade and the Cliffs - very windy, but it seems the hotel people looked after him with cups of tea now and again. 

He was told at the oubreak of the First World War when his five brothers were joining the army, that he had a bad heart.   But work must have kept him fit, as he lived to be 89 years old and died in 1970."

Horse drawn traffic of a different kind: 
One of the many beautiful wall paintings you see in Austria

A carter in Newcastleton, Roxburghsire in the Scottish Borders. 
From the postcard collection at the Heritage Hub, Hawick.

How many of us have carter ancestors?  This was the occupation of my great great grandfather Robert Rawcliffe of Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  

A horse drawn charabanc for getting around Krakow in Poland, 2007

And finally  - my daughter enjoying a quiet donkey ride in the park 1974

Click HERE  to find  out how other bloggers have braved the traffic 
with this week's theme


  1. How interesting to have a real postman in yoiur family, and one who did a great service too, riding out in all weathers to make sure the post was delivered. I was a postie on the Christmas post each year as a student so I know what it was like. At least it seems to have kept him fit.

  2. I love your family photos. I had none of streetcars from my own family album, but did have a few postcards.

    And your daughter on her little donkey is adorable!


  3. I love the Poulton Market Square photo--it has a lot of interesting details.

    If you hadn't mentioned the date and the fact that it was your daughter, I would have thought the last photo was a lot older.

  4. Love the photos of the busy streets but that service record is amazing.

  5. Beautiful family pictures! I particularly love the picture of your daughter on the donkey. I would have loved that as a kid :)

  6. Great merging of old pics and ancestor's stories and records. So glad you got to get some verbal reporting too. Smart. THanks!

  7. I really enjoy the pictures of the horse-drawn forms of transport. We have some touristy horse drawn carriages in Melbourne but moves are under way to ban them from the city at the moment. I hope the movement fails ! A most interesting post.

  8. Very appropriate photographs from your family albums. I have several carter ancestors too, thanks for the insight into what they did.

  9. Fine family photos with a variety of transports. The carter postcard is a gem.

  10. Interesting stories. My grandfather was postman. It was a job that you did 'for life'. He loved it..

  11. I don't think I would have enjoyed a ride on top of that carriage in the Poulten Market square photo!

  12. Very interesting tour, I especially adore the horse drawn carriages and the sleighs by horses. Never heard that term carter before..

    1. Thank you, Patricia, for taking the time to comment. "Carter" is quite a familiar term in census returns in Britain. My ancestors seemed to go from "agricultural labourer" to "carter" to "farmer".

  13. As always, you have managed to create your Sepia post around both the prompt & your family history which is neat. I love the bright red charabanc in Krakow, but have wondered, since I first saw the word in another's Sepia post some time back, where the name for such a vehicle came from?

    1. Thank you, Gail. Charabanc comes from the French and means a wagon with benches/seats - it was also an early name for motor coaches and I featured one in a quite recent SS post..

  14. That was a fun ride. My great grandfather was a postman in his small town in Minnesota. He may have start with a horse and cart but we have a photo which I hope to show one day of his first auto c.1910.

  15. Enjoy seeing pictures of the old structures in the cities, they had so much character! Thoroughly enjoyed the picture of your daughter on her donkey.

  16. A really lovely post. Yes I had an ancestor who was a carter so it is lovely to see a visual representation of what he did for a living.

  17. What a cool collection of photos. I was really impressed that photos of the Paris Opera house and the Shanghai Bund were in your family albums. And to be topped off with your daughter's donkey ride. Way cool.

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