A lovely old early twentieth century picture postcard of Scarborough, showing, if nothing else, that extreme weather conditions are not just a twenty-first century phenomenon. I have managed to find a large number of vintage postcard views of rough seas at Scarborough – but not this precise photograph, so dating it is more difficult, especially as it has no postmark or stamp.
The reverse of the card is hardly an object lesson in the lost art of correspondence! The message is somewhat limited: “Dear Margaret, I hope you are very well. We are very busy at school now. Must close. xxxx”
One very noticeable thing about the message and the address is that they have been written in indelible pencil – the purplish colour is typical of such pencils that were still commonly used when I was young. They were the kind of pencil where you would lick them to get them to write more clearly. I looked them up and was somewhat concerned to discover that they were highly poisonous because of the aniline dyes they contained. Exposure could lead to eczema, acne and carcinoma. Penetration of the dye from the pencil lead into the body commonly leads to severe and debilitating effects such as fever, anaemia, elevated white cell count, gastro-intestinal upset, kidney and liver damage, anorexia, and necrosis of the tissue. Given all that, it was perhaps a good job that our correspondent closed early.