West Lothian in Old Postcards
Before the internet, social media and other instant communication; in an age when few owned cameras or telephones, picture postcards provided an inexpensive way for friends and families to keep in touch. A card dropped in a postbox would usually be delivered the next day, carrying simple messages, family news, thanks or best wishes.
During the early decades of the 20th century, picture postcards of local scenes became hugely popular, and most post offices and stationers in towns and villages produced their own range of local views. For folk working away from home, a picture postcard could be an opportunity to show the family where they lodged or worked (a cross drawn on the picture often marked the spot). In other instances, images of familiar home scenes might be sent to relatives living far away.
Postcards were sometimes kept as mementoes, or collected as a hobby, which has ensured that good range of these simple cards have survived. The pictures provide a fascinating record of how the world looked more than a century ago, while the messages they carried provide glimpses into the lives of those who sent them.
All images featured in these pages are from original postcards in Almond Valley's museum collection. This collection focusses on the shale and coal mining districts of the county, but includes a selection of interesting images from other parts. The boundaries of the county have changed considerably during the course of the last century, and some areas covered here now form part of the City of Edinburgh or Falkirk districts.
How to use these pages
Clicking on the index map on the left side of the page will select district maps based on one inch OS plans. Arrows at the margins of each district map link to the adjoining area. Most larger settlements are highlighted in red. Click on these highlighted areas to link to town maps based on six inch OS plans. These town maps can also be directly selected from the left-hand menu.
Red markers on the maps show the location of an image, and on town maps a yellow pointer also shows the direction of view. Clicking on a marker displays the postcard further down the page. Links below the map enable the markers to be seen against a modern aerial image.
A basic description of each post card is listed at the foot of the page:
- click on the "then" icon to display the postcard
- click on the "now" icon to display a modern day image from the same location
Can you help us ?
We're continually adding to these pages and always welcome further information about any of the scenes shown in the old postcards. If you are aware of the history of some of the buildings and scenes featured, or have reminicences of those who lived there, we'd be very pleased to hear from you. We'll add this information as we develop the pages.
....and naturally we're always keen to acquire (or copy) further local postcards and photographs.