Hertfordshire Post Cards

Erroneous and Misleading Old Post Cards

We all make errors - and so did the people who printed and published post cards 100 years ago. In addition pictures were sometimes modified to make them more saleable.  As a result you can't always be certain that the information on an old view post card is correct. The following examples illustrate some of the problems that arise in trying to interpret Hertfordshire views from the early 20th century.

Just Plain Wrong

A most attractive view claiming to show 

Hertford Bridge & Cathedral

The Problem is that there is no cathedral or wide river at Hertford

The picture actually shows the River Wye at Hereford!

The Wrong Coat of Arms

Quite a lot of the early view post cards include a coat of arms - but it is not always the correct one!


This Frith card of Hitchin includes the coat of arms of another Hertfordshire town - Hertford - but labels it as "HITCHIN"

Right Name - Wrong Place

Broadwater, Knebworth, Hertfordshire E. Munning had a shop in Hertford which sold local views postcards of places such as Stanstead Abbots, Tewin and Ware. In particular he sold a card of Knebworth House and another, with a similar back, of nearby "Broadwater"


The problem is that there were two versions of this card in circulation with very different backs. The other was published in the "Victoria Series" and was being sold, along with many other "Victoria Series" cards, in Sussex - including Worthing - where there is another place called "Broadwater." Thanks to an email from Stuart I now know that the "local Hertfordshire" post card being sold by Munnings in Hertford in 1905 is actually Broadwater in Sussex.

Printed in Germany so text in German!

Berkhamsted High Street - PC by A H HillChurch und High Street, Berkhamstedt

Arthur Hill had a fancy goods shop in Berkhamsted for a short time at the very beginning of the 20th century and ordered some local view cards which were printed  in Frankfurt.

 Presumably he expected the title to be printed in English.

In fact the spelling of Berkhamsted/stead was not agreed at this date so some variations must be expected.

Misspelt Place Name

Beckhampton Place - Postcard by Wrench

Beckhampton Place

The Park


Bechampton is a small village in Hampshire  but errors in the titles of view cards produced by Wrench are quite common. The photo was also used by Raphael Tuck with the correct title "Berkhampstead Park."

Misleading Painted Views

An attractive painted view of a "Cottage near Hemel Hempstead" - or is it?

The publisher, Birn Brothers, is well know for comic/seaside post cards with different place names inserted. In 1905 they also produced a number of painted view cards such as this one - always with vague locations. Similar idealised cottage views also appear on their Christmas cards - with no location at all.

Without good supporting evidence it would be wrong to assume the picture is in any way an accurate representation of a real cottage near Hemel Hempstead.


A Cottage at Lingfield

A Kentish Cottage

There are similar style pictures (basically mirror image views) showing

A Cottage near Mitcham

[????] Lane


Doctored Photographic Views

Modern photographs can easily be doctored using digital techniques. It was far harder 100 years ago - but a number of Valentine cards have definitely been "improved."

There are two versions of the Tring High Street photograph - and while not one pedestrian has moved the second version has acquired a stage coach! The photograph showing the windmill was reissued, with no windmill, after the windmill was demolished.

See Valentine Problems



And Mistakes still happen ...

In fact. if you are collecting Hertfordshire view cards the most likely cause of error is in the descriptions by the sellers on auction sites such as ebay. For instance, at the time of editing this text, a third of the cards advertised as being of Albury, in East Hertfordshire, were either of the better known Aldbury, in West Hertfordshire, or of Albury in Surrey.

February 2019   Prepared for Archive