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Birthday greetings on parade

Date Sent:   14 JULY 1910     

Sender: B. 

Recipient: Mr William Young,  Oakwood, Chorley New Road, Bolton 


To wish you very many happy returns of tomorrow when I hope to send a better remembrance with much love & regret that it did not go earlier. 

Hand written postcard with a green stamp

B’s intentions were undoubtedly very honourable in sending last minute birthday wishes to William, but are rather undermined by the messenger. It’s a pity that this Shurey’s postcard was all that came to hand. Were it not labelled ‘Tower of London’ most recipients would probably not recognise this view of the castle inner ward. The cannon in the Gun Park are visible, but the iconic White Tower lurks in deep shadow obscured by a tree. The Parade occupies the middle ground with the Waterloo Barracks to the north, and  Officer’s Quarters – today the HQ of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers – fill the eastern horizon.  Various figures lurk in the distance – are the group in the top corner a tourist party? – while a horse and carriage wait patiently by the far steps. Might the white, slightly pyramidal shapes in front of the Officer’s Quarters be a polite gathering of crinolinded ladies? Sadly, the resolution is poor, and given the nature of the site and the regularity of the arrangement, they are more probably another group of cannon.  

View of the towers grounds on a postcard

Truth is, the quality of reproduction is mediocre, to say the least.  It provides an interesting insight into colour printing (scanning the original has been kind to it), but the colourist has had a bad day.  Not only is the White Tower red, but the Parade has become a grassy lawn rather than a marching surface. So much for Shurey’s publications claim to offer a “beautiful … Fine Art Post Card”. Perhaps they should have words with their card publishers Delittle, Fenwick & Co of York – if this is an example of their “Defco- Chrome” process, it leaves much to be desired.  

Known as inserts, these cards were given away free, lodged between the pages of the publications they were designed to advertise throughout Great Britain, the Colonies and Foreign Countries. 

Even B acknowledged the deficiencies of the post card, and we can only guess what constituted “a better remembrance”.  Might it have been Shurey’s generated too? Somehow  “Smart Novels”, “Yes or No” or “Dainty Novels”  don’t seem appropriate for an 18-year-old engineering apprentice.  In 1910 twenty -one was the significant coming of age birthday, but no doubt Dr James Young, Physician and Surgeon, his wife Annie Elizabeth and younger daughters Charlotte and Annie, celebrated William’s birthday in style.  

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