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Museum of the Manchester Regiment Object Focus

First World War Silk Postcard

First World War Silk postcardSilk Postcards such as this one are timeless reminders of the ‘Great War for Civilisation’ (1914-1918). Though first produced in 1907, silk postcards grew in popularity from 1915. Some estimates suggest as many as 10 million cards were produced during the war.

Each card was produced as part of a cottage industry which saw mostly women engaged in intricate designs being hand embroidered onto strips of silk mesh, the design being repeated as many as 25 times on a strip, before being sent to a factory for cutting and mounting as postcards and greetings cards.

The cards themselves were bought from civilians trying to scrape a living from supplying the soldiers’ needs in the immediate war zone. They were not cheap, each one costing as much as 3 times the daily pay of the average soldier. Though true postcards they were sold and often sent home in simple envelopes intended to protect their contents.

There is a huge range; sentimental messages – ‘’friendship’, ‘birthday greetings’, ‘Home Sweet Home’ and so on were popular, and are commonest, as are cards celebrating festivals and holidays.

Many had delicately opening pockets with a small card insert; others would give ‘greetings from France’ of poignant messages ‘from the trenches’. But for many collectors, it is cards with intricately worked regimental crests that are the most sought after.

Who sent this particular card?

Written on the back of this card is; “From Ted to Bess with love, June 4th 1916” and the card was sent to; “Mrs E. Atkinson, 71 Derby St, Moss Side, Manchester, England”.

Are you interested in learning more about these fascinating Postcards?

There are 55 exquisite examples on display in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment