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460 Postcards of Dover

In 2007 it came to Dover Museum's attention that a local Dover resident had been collecting postcards of the area for over twenty-five years.

The resident in question offered to let the museum look through his extensive, fascinating collection and to buy any of the postcards it did not currently own. 460 postcards were selected by the curatorial staff as important images worth adding to Dover Museum's collection.

This was an exciting opportunity for the museum to acquire a unique collection of images of Dover, assembled over many decades. All of the purchased postcards were rare enough not to already feature in the museums significant collection, which itself had been built-up over the last 150 years.

Significant contributions to the purchase price came from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Dover Town Council.

Most of the Dover postcards are hand-printed photographs by local photographers printed on postcard-back card. They are quite different from the more common mass-produced, lithograph-printed postcards. As a result, most of the cards in question are fairly rare. For example, a postcard of the ten officers of the Ancient Order of Philanthropic Prussian Hermits would only have been printed in small numbers by photographer John Gibson of Snargate Street.

All subjects are included in the collection, including school classes, meetings, special occasions, street scenes, buildings, industry and sports. There are some brilliant postcards featuring views of local shops and businesses. There are several postcards displaying views of obscure streets, which previously Dover Museum had no photographs of at all. 

As well as a being an important local archive, events of national importance are also covered in the postcard collection. There are postcards of Bleriot’s flight across the Channel, pioneer Channel Swimmers, the arrival of the bodies of First World War heroes Nurse Edith Cavell and Captain Fryatt and the funeral procession and burial of the dead from the famous Zeebrugge Raid of St. George’s Day 1918.

The Museum is committed to providing full access to all its collections. The Museum has identified its picture collection as that most in-demand by the public and thus has began digitising all its pictures and objects.

Dover Museum provides a public image database with almost 40,000 images included which can be accessed by appointment with our librarian. If you wish to access the collection, please contact Bryan Williams mailto:bryan.williams@dover.gov.uk or phone the main Museum number 01304 201066 to make an appointment. 


Postcards of Dover shops; Kennett’s the grocer, Clark’s the butchers and the Central Fruit Stores

Postcards of the Funeral Processions of Edith Cavell and Captain Fryatt on arrival.




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