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A European holiday, May 1955

Back in January, I bought over one hundred postcards from the Omni Sunday morning car boot sale in Edinburgh (see my previous post for more details of the car boot). The postcards were all sent from the same sender to the same recipient over an approximately twenty-year period, and provide an account of the sender’s holidays in Europe.

I’ve had to give a bit of thought to the best way to bring the cards to you; I’ve decided to group them into holidays and bring them to you one vacation at a time. It definitely won’t be a perfect production: I can’t make out some of the handwriting or dates, and I can’t be sure that I have every single postcard in the ‘set’. Still, I think the fragments are enough to tell a story.

The postcards are from one woman to another; the recipient lived at the same Edinburgh address throughout, and I think the sender may also have been from Edinburgh. I’ve decided not to give information about the identities of the sender and recipient here, or to show the handwriting on the postcards, as I think one or both women may still be alive. In the event that you might know more about either of the women, I would love to hear from you, but please don’t speculate about their identities publicly on this blog or anywhere else.

An editorial note: I’ve left the punctuation exactly as written.

So, here we go with a 1955 tour of some of Europe’s snowy bits…

London, SW1

6pm post collection, 22nd May, 1955

Arrived in London, are seeing the sights in a tea room at present. We stopped at Greenlaw [a town in Berwickshire] for a cup of tea and Londonderry [a village in North Yorkshire – not the city in Northern Ireland] for supper, I don’t know where we had breakfast. Got [or not?] [xxx] untill mid-night today is very warm I hope it lasts till we get across the Channel. Haven’t got a Sunday post yet.

A long trip down to London from her probable departure destination of Edinburgh. In the part of this card that’s hard to make out, maybe she’s talking about not arriving in London until midnight.

Loewen Hotel, Vaduz, Liechenstein

May, 1955

Just received your letter. There is a Londonderry in England, maybe not very big Up till now we have dodged the rain but it has caught up with us to-day. I hope it won’t be much. Imogen has decided to wash her hair so I am waiting for her. This is our hotel I tried to mark our room it is at the front. I’ll send the [xxx] after the [xxx], it’s always an excuse to buy another one. 

The date is difficult to make out on this postcard, but it would fit in with the sequence if she was here around 24th May (although that would make the post very fast if her correspondent in Edinburgh had already received and responded to her previous postcard, querying there being a Londonderry in England). I would love to know what she was sending back to Edinburgh!

The Loewen Hotel is still running today. Indeed, according to its website, it’s been doing business since 1380.

Alpen Hotel, Malbun, Vaduz, Liechenstein

25th May, 1955

Had a glorious day yesterday we were right at the top of the mountains. We had tea at the Alpen [?] Hotel, it was lovely. I don’t think you will get your parcel I’ll just bring the things when I come. To-day we are being lazy, we baked in the garden this morning and are going to the Rhine this afternoon. Our tour yesterday was in a huge car.

St Anton Am Arlberg, Austria

26th May, 1955

Spending the day at St Anton. It is a lovely place but all the shops are shut just now. Last night we had a thunder storm but it is sunny again now. We had to come through snow fields to get here, we are in frocks but all the others have costumes and coats. I can take a [xxx] as usual and we sunbathed yesterday. We are travelled by private car and our guide is a Prince [?]. My pen won’t write an other P.C. 

The fact that her pen was running out might explain why this postcard is especially hard to read. It’s only thirty miles to St Anton Am Arlberg in Austria from Vaduz in Liechenstein, so this would have been easily manageable in a day.

Hotel Bad Schachen, Lindau, Germany

28th May, 1955

Have arrived in Germany. It is a good day but not very sunny. Yesterday in Switzerland we were soaked and didn’t get a chance to send a card. This is a beautiful place. We  had lunch in an open air place with the band playing nearby. It felt great. Prices are much cheaper than in Vaduz, we should have come here first, there isn’t much money left. Both enjoying ourselves very much. 

No more cards for 1955 after this – at least that I can find – so it appears that Germany was the end of the holiday. Just as well, seeing that the ladies were all spent out.

I hope to have some brief snippets from later in the 1950s for you next.

As with all of the postcard posts, please don’t publicly speculate about the identity of the author or recipient. 


About SarahAnderson

I love old stuff and like to write.

3 responses »

  1. Auld from Reekie

    Thanks for the likes, all!

  2. Carolyn Brock


    What a find! I have read all posts. What an insight to travel at that time, and what they discovered about each country. I will look forward to the next holiday. Best wishes x


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