A Little Fun by the Seaside - Saucy Postcards
What is considered to be the “British” postcard is the saucy seaside postcard, which started life in the early 1930’s.
The saucy seaside postcard contains a humorous cartoon usually loaded with double entendres, big ladies, skinny men, glamorous girls, flustered doctors and naughty children!
In its heyday, sales of the saucy postcard in the UK reached a phenomenal sixteen million cards a year! (which goes to show our mums and grans were a naughty lot!)
During the 1930’s to the early 1960’s the humour was quite clever with a high standard of artwork – the leading exponents at this time were the legendary Donald McGill whose skill at rendering a scene was superb.
Other artists included Bruce Bairnsfather, John Hassall, Tom Browne and Alfred Lees, the female artist Mabel Atwell whose work was not of the rude genre, produced a famous series of postcards featuring cherubic children in cute, humorous situations.
The most famous publisher of British postcards was Bamforth & Co founded in 1870 by James Bamforth in the Yorkshire town of Holmfirth (home of Last of the Summer Wine), and began printing scenic postcards which were distributed right across the country.
(Bamforth’s other lesser-known business was producing silent movies, but the family ceased production of these after the First World War)
But it is for the saucy postcard that Bamforth’s has come to be remembered for.
Other famous publishers were Davidson Brothers, Phil May and J Salmon (Salmon’s still publish many of the famous Bamforth cards today).
The Decline and Rise of the Saucy Postcard
During the 1970’s and 1980’s the quality of the artwork and humour sadly declined (much like the Carry on Films that were being produced at the time.)
Also the public’s tastes began to change and a touch of political correctness began to have an effect on postcard sales and the end looked in sight.
But as with all things, during the 1990’s there was a change in attitude towards the saucy postcard, and people began to appreciate their history and unique humour.
Even today Walls Ice Cream have produced a series of eye-catching posters based on the saucy postcard and is using them to advertise its ice creams during this summer!
Today, saucy postcards are as popular as they ever were - and if you should happen to see a group of people giggling and nudging each other – you’ll know that the saucy postcard is still working its holiday magic! From the Great Yarmouth Website
Saucy Seaside Photo Album