Brislington Community Museum

Brislington postcards

To contribute details of your postcard/s (not the postcards themselves) please contact us .

Brislington, already fortunate to have been the subject of so many paintings and sketches in the 1820s-1830s, again became a focus for photographers in the early decades of the twentieth century. This happy coincidence of visual representation around a hundred years apart begs the question of how the neighbourhood should celebrate the third century of imagery - in the 2020s - but that's a subject for another page.

As usual in such situations, it was a combination of factors that brought popular attention to Brislington and St Anne's. To start with, the city of Bristol took over parts of the village in the boundary change of 1897 and then, in 1900, trams which had recently begun serving the new housing developments that were springing up on the outskirts of Bristol, went over the hill to reach the very heart of the village.

Part of the village though, remained a rural part of Somerset, and a visit to the greenery of countryside provided definite wellbeing benefits to people living in the brick and stone canyons of the inner city. Moreover, many of the grand estate houses built in the 18th century by prosperous Bristol merchants looking to raise their families in the fresh air, still withstood development of the rustic landscape, providing excellent views and genteel attractions for day trippers.

Postcard collecting was a practically a craze in England in the early years of the 20th century, and over the next two decades scores of postcard publishers saw Brislington as the site of an excellent business opportunity, printing hundreds of pictures to meet public demand. Here's a list of these postcard publishers.

Photographic picture postcards are not only miniature works of art in their own right, but provide a unique insight into our local history - each being literally a snapshot of daily life in our community. It may be ambitious, but this museum is attempting to produce a complete catalogue of all the images. Also, by collecting other data such as the date from the postmark and other information on the back of the postcard - even when not posted - we can home-in on when the picture was taken and place the picture in its social context.

Many sites were photographed again and again, such as the centre of the village - the Village Square - which has dozens of separate images. When we can put these images in chronological order we'll have a visual record of changes through the years, changes that can be tied to historical events.

More than 400 picture postcards of Brislington and St Anne's have been recorded, but it's estimated there are half as many again that remain to be seen and, sadly, most of those are likely to have been lost forever. So if you have a local postcard 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, and who knows, something about it may surprise us all! Please contact us without obligation.