Brislington Community Museum

Coe (including E Coe)

The St Anne's postcard publisher who variously identified themselves as Coe and E Coe, produced a wide range of local postcards. Her name was Edith Coe and at the time she was publishing she ran the Post Office at 22 Langton Court Road, which gave her an ideal platform for selling her postcards.

Edith was born in or around 1868 in the village of Ottery St Mary, Devon. The 1881 census shows her at Ridgeway, Ottery St Mary, as the second eldest of seven children, her elder sister was two years older than Edith. Her parents were Margaret (then aged 38) and James Peak (aged 41) who was a farmer of ten acres.

The 1891 census shows Edith as one of several live-in assistant drapers at a shop on the Wells Road (then part of Bedminster), Bristol - her fellow assistants came from Nailsea in Somerset, and Edinburgh.

In the summer of 1893 she married Richard Hugh Coe, with the marriage registered in Bedminster. He was born in Bristol in or around 1867, and the 1871 census shows him living in Richmond Road, St Andrews, Bristol, the second youngest of five children. His parents were Elizabeth (then aged 34) and Charles (aged 33) employed as a 'boot and shoe traveller' (presumably a travelling salesman).

The 1881 census shows he had three additional younger siblings, and the family had moved to 6 Oxford Street in the united parish of St James & St Paul, Bristol. His father worked as a cordwainer (shoe maker), an occupation fourteen-year old Richard shared. The 1891 Census shows his father had died, and the family had moved to 31 Upper Street, Bedminster; Richard now worked as a salesman for a wholesale boot warehouse.

In 1895 the couple had a child - Harold, who was born in Bristol. Richard died in 1897, leaving £175 in his estate. The 1901 census shows Edith as the head of her household living with Harold and her mother-in-law Elizabeth (also now a widow) at 8a Langton Court Road, Brislington, where she was self-employed as a draper.

In the first quarter of 1904 the death of Elizabeth was registered. This means she could not have provided the initial E on the postcards published under the name E Coe.

In the spring of 1910 Edith married John Emery in Bristol. The 1911 census shows John as 62 years old (Edith is now aged 43), living on private means, and was born in Midsomer Norton, Somerset. Edith is still self-employed working at home in a drapery and post office, where they live with Harold (now aged 15 and at school) in St Anne's.

In the spring of 1952, a widow living in Eastville, Edith died (probate was granted to her son Harold).

She's the only known female publisher of picture postcards in St Anne's (in Brislington there was Caroline Hollister), and was one of the most prolific and successful of all the local publishers. In terms of the sheer number of her postcards that have survived - which is a natural measure of popularity - she's second only to Charles Foster. And if we use a different measure of success, and reckon it in terms of how many different pictures she published (which is favoured by local historians), she outstrips him, producing more than half as many again. Even so, that doesn't make her the most prolific local publisher of unique views - that accolade belongs with Louis Elson.


Her postcards:

Langton Court Road - POST OFFICE, NEW BRISLINGTON. Also available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 35). The corner shop on the right-hand side has "E. Coe" above the door - this was where Edith Coe lived and worked. Earliest known picture: Oct 1905.

Langton Court Road - Langton Court Hotel, New Brislington. Available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 34). Earliest known picture: 1908.

Langton Court Road - Chapel and Schools, New Brislington. Available in print (Williamson, B 1985, page 12). Earliest known picture: 21 Aug 1905.

Langton Court Road - Schools and Police Station, New Brislington. Earliest known picture: 21 Oct 1905.

Langton Court Road - THE SCHOOLS, ST ANN'S. Available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 37, and also Fisher, Janet et al 1985, page 28). A variant is available in print (Chard, Judith et al 1995, page 76). Earliest known picture: 5 Oct 1912.

Langton Court Road - St. Ann's Park Church, New Brislington.

Salisbury Road - Salisbury Rd., New Brislington. Earliest known picture: 15 Sept 1910.

Arlington Road - ARLINGTON RD. ST ANN'S. Available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 36). Earliest known picture: Feb 1918.

Highworth Road (here the previous name is used) - Addison Road, New Brislington. Available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 36). Earliest known picture: Feb 1906.

Highworth Road (here the previous name is used) - ADDISON RD ST ANNE'S Available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 35). Earliest known picture: 1918.

Newbridge Road - NEWBRIDGE ROAD, ST ANN'S A variant is available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 38, and also Fisher, Janet et al 1983, page 39). Earliest known picture: 24 Oct 1912.

St Anne's Wood - a variant is available online: ENTRANCE TO THE WOODS, ST ANN'S.

St Anne's Wood - St. ANNE'S WOODS. Earliest known picture: 6 Sept 1906.

St Anne's Wood - THE WOODS. ST ANN'S A variant is available in print (Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 39). Earliest known picture: 11 Aug 1918.

First Avenue and railway station - St. Ann's Park Station and First Avenue.

St Anne's Park railway station - Station, St. Ann's Park. Available in print (Williamson, B 1985, front cover). Earliest known picture: 29 Oct 1905.

St Anne's Park railway station - a variant is available online: ST ANN'S PARK STATION.. Earliest known picture: 22 Aug 1930.

Wick Road - "Brooklea" New Brislington. Earliest known picture: 4 Oct 1907.

Sandy Park Road Sandy Park Road, Brislington.


Some notes

The earliest postmark for any of her postcards is 21 Aug 1905 (Chapel and Schools, New Brislington.), and it's likely she published a set of ten pictures around that date which means (unsurprisingly) there are some gaps in our catalogue.

Her early postcards were printed using the collotype process, but later - from around 1912 onwards and in collaboration with W. H. S. & Co. B - they were all printed directly from photographic negatives (real photographs). Real photographs were more prestigious than collotype prints, and had the benefit of being more or less 'print on demand' rather than necessarily ordering hundreds of copies in one go. That flexibility was a bonus when popular demand required her stock of postcards to be updated from the traditional spelling of St Ann's, to the new style of St Anne's (it would be interesting to know when that happened, but we'll need to see many more examples to determine that).

If you have a local postcard by Edith Coe - or anyone else - please get it touch so we can add its details to our catalogue, creating a permanent record for future generations. Even if you don't think it's rare, or special, it has a place in our survey. Please contact us without obligation.


Regretably we can't exhibit any of these postcards until either the identity of the photographer/s is known (and perhaps also the copyright status of their pictures), or we secure funds to apply for a batch of orphan works licences.