Huge collection of historical Louth postcards set to go under the hammer

A postcard showing the aftermath of the Louth Flood in 1920.
A postcard showing the aftermath of the Louth Flood in 1920.

What’s believed to be the finest private collection of Lincolnshire postcards ever created is expected to make close to £20,000 when it goes under the hammer in Louth next week.

The massive collection - of around 15,500 cards - was amassed over a period of more than half a century by the lecturer, historian, writer and long-time editor of the Lincolnshire Life magazine, David Robinson.

This postcard capturing the Market Place, in Horncastle, will be included in the auction next week. EMN-180517-095729001

This postcard capturing the Market Place, in Horncastle, will be included in the auction next week. EMN-180517-095729001

James Laverack, from John Taylors auctioneers, said: “Believe it or not, the collection at one point topped 20,000 postcards but before his death at the age of 89 last year David refined and re-organised the archive, removing duplicates and less rare items. This is the best of the best.

“The collection covers the whole county and spans the period from soon after the introduction of the picture postcard in 1894, right through its golden age in the first half of the 20th century when the postcard was the quick messaging service of the day.”

“To satisfy the demand for the countless millions of postcards that were sent every year, photographers shot just about everything - views, street scenes, churches, historic buildings, festivals, Royal visits, you name it - providing a wonderful historic record.

“They also photographed and produced postcards recording major news events. As an example of that, the Robinson Collection includes a very fine set of images recording the Louth Flood Disaster in May 1920 when, after hours of torrential rain, millions of tons of water poured off the Wolds, sending a tidal wave through the town. Twenty-three people lost their lives, buildings collapsed and there was huge damage to homes and shops.”

Mr Laverack continued: “Photographers descended on the town from all over the country and postcards of the damage and clear-up were on sale within a matter of hours. They even produced postcards depicting some of the funerals - which seems very strange, but they did.

“These cards are now very collectable. Just a single flood postcard recently sold for £18. The Robinson collection has 100 of them.”

“To cater for specialist interests we have divided it into 38 lots, for the most part concentrating on specific towns or parts of the county. Even then, its obviously going to be a challenge to ensure that everyone has the chance to have a decent look at the sections in which they’re interested.

“We have extended the main viewing session on Sunday (May 20) to help”.

The full catalogue is available on the firm’s website, www.johntaylors.com.

The auction viewing sessions are on Sunday (May 20) from 2pm-4pm, with extended viewing for postcards only from noon.

Viewings will continue on Monday (May 21) from 2pm-4pm and Tuesday morning (May 22) from 8.30am until 9.45am.

• The auction is to be ‘webcast’ live via www.the-saleroom.com.