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Hot tidings from the Tower

Date Sent: 18 JUN 1920     

Sender: Dan 

Recipient:  Mrs Redford, 57 Poulton Road, Seacombe, Cheshire 


 D Jenny 

I travelled up this morning from South Sea to London. 5 Hour journey. 8/- it is awful hot here I will be home tomorrow night leaving London about 2.15 hope you have had a good week & visitors enjoyed themselves from your loving husband Dan 


Harnd wirtten postcard with red stamp

Dan has abided by the instructions on his postcard of the Tower and as his greeting has exceeded the five words stipulated, so he’s paid the full rate of a penny stamp. 

Frustratingly, we don’t know why Dan was travelling back from Southsea, or what kept him overnight in London. Today his journey would probably have taken half the time or less, but the price is roughly equivalent. Sounds as if he is catching his breath before a Saturday journey back to the Wirral. 2021 travel time would see him home by four thirty, all being well – but as he’s told Jenny to expect him “tomorrow night”, Dan’s 1920 journey would appear to be more leisurely.  

Sepia view of the white tower and river

We’ll never know if he visited the Tower, or just picked up a recognisable view of London. Postcard No.1193 (no publisher has chosen to add their name, although Dan can rest assured it was printed in England) is a pretty standard view – a couple of barges on the Thames foreshore, with a further pair moored on the river in the foreground.  Tower Wharf is not that busy. It still awaits the arrival of the cannon from the gun park to the west of the White Tower where many of them had lain since the Great Storehouse fire of October 1841 had made them homeless. The leafy trees suggest a summer day.  In the distance the Mazawattee Tea Warehouse dominates Tower Hill, while the gable roofed Main Guard rebuilt in 1890 is clearly visible to the west of the White Tower. The real giveaway is the clock face in the latter’s northeast turret. Its installation provoked an offended letter in the 24 January Times newspaper labelling it “tasteless and absurd” and rendering “the White Tower what the National Gallery now is – an eyesore to the metropolis”. 

If Dan were undertaking the journey today, while no doubt enjoying the greater speed of modern trains, he might be surprised to find that No 57 Poulton Road is now home to an aquatic and reptile centre. 

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