Alan Burnett : The Collected Works

Third Time Lucky In Brighouse Art Gallery

1806.204WThe thing about vintage picture postcards is that so often it is a trial of strength between the photograph on the front and the message on the back as to which can be the best source of historical interest. A perfect example is provided by a recent acquisition: a 1907 postcard of the Smith Art Gallery in Brighouse, Yorkshire. The Smith Gallery, and many of its paintings, were a gift to the town by Alderman William Smith, a local mill owner and benefactor. The gallery was built in 1906 and opened in the following year, and therefore this picture postcard must have been published to commemorate its opening. The gallery reflects a time when the northern mill town would compete with each other in terms of the grandness of their public buildings and the breadth of their provision for the arts.

1806.205W

The reverse of the card contains a message sent to Miss Lottie Roberts of Cleckheaton from her friend Laura in Brighouse. These were the days before holidays to the Costas or Dating Apps would provide the opportunity to meet the partner of your dreams, and young people were limited to the simple pleasures of a walk in the park.

Dear Lottie,

We have arranged to go to the park on Tuesday evening. Surely we shall get off this time, it is always said the third time pays off for all. Come down with Clara.

Love from Laura.

I hope Laura was lucky in love and lucky in her third walk in the park. I was certainly lucky to find this fine old postcard and the store of social history that it contained.

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