4th February 2019 Main Topic: Postcards of Penybont and District – Ray Price

Geraint opened the meeting and welcomed members to a new year’s programme. The room was packed as we entered our 8th year. Geraint explained that he, Mary, and Derek had initially started the group and had taken responsibility for guiding it over the years. Just like good shepherds who know that the sheep are really in charge. (Our understanding, or lack of understanding of democracy.) Shirley, as the youngster among us, has been asked, and she has agreed, to become a shepherd.

Though the room was full there were no new members.

The next session will be on Friendly Societies and Marion will address this topic. In thanking Marion for having agreed to cover this topic, he thanked Marion for the projector which she has made freely available to the Group. Geraint treats it as though it were his own, and he confessed that he also used Suzanna’s laptop in a similar way.

Geraint also mentioned that he had been in touch with Philip Jones, at the Radnorshire Museum, as Philip has done considerably more work on War Memorials, including the information on the Penybont War Memorial. Geraint has discussed with Philip updating his Booklet as he would like to bring it up to date as – Nothing Known is Know Known!

Elizabeth informed the group that Alan Stoyel is giving a talk in New Radnor on 12th April 2019 on the Mills of Radnorshire. Alan is retiring after this talk so, if any of the members missed his talk to our own group, this would be the last time to hear him. Elizabeth mentioned that Alan had been awarded an MBE for his work in keeping alive the history of Mills across Britain.

Marion is giving a talk for charity in the hall at New Radnor on 15th February at 7.30 p.m. on the Renaissance Gardens of Italy. Those attending will be invited to give a donation.

Main Topic: – Penybont and District Postcards

With Ray getting to his feet, and Geraint on the Projector, Geraint started the talk on the ‘Art of Deltiology – Collecting Postcards’.  See:


Postcards are the third most popular item to collect and there has been a long history of people communicating short messages on what can be described as transitory writing materials. At Hadrian’s Wall a number of stone tablets have been found dated between A.D. 85 and 160: – one reads:

“”On the third day before the Ides of September, sister,” to cite one letter, “for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival.”

In the 18th century decorated visiting cards and trade cards became popular. In 1840 William Mulready designed an envelope that had a pictorial element to it and, while it was derided as being over-elaborated, it became linked to the establishment of the 1d post and even more elaborate envelopes were designed. It was however in Germany in 1865 that the first postcard was designed by Heinrich von Stephan. The universal appeal of the postcard quickly developed leading to a ‘Golden Age of the Postcard’ between 1898 and 1919. They became so popular with collectors that jokes were told of how they were a ‘disease, epidemic, leading to insanity’. The cryptic messages, often in a type of code, on them were seen by some as a threat to good English. I winder where we have heard that recently!?

Postcards unlike stamps are unregulated, anyone can make them, from small specialists turning out a few, to huge companies printing 1000’s. There were some small companies locally and some much larger companies producing cards in this area. Some early postcards had no room for writing as the address area was only for addresses. By 1870 the Post Office had plain postcards that they sold, and subsequently an address and writing area was allowed on one side of the card.

Geraint explained that Deltiology – the study of Postcards. The third most popular collecting hobby in the UK – after stamps and coins. This comes from:

Deltion    diminutive form of  deltos   a writing tablet.   Latin – Tabulae

Postcards unlike stamps were produced in a decentralised and unregulated manner.

Hand produced drawings and reproductions of pictures appeared in large numbers from an early date and some may have been sent enclosed within a folded written letter.

The London Penny Post dates from 1680 and the Uniform Penny Post was established throughout the UK in 1840.

Postal Cards (plain cards for writing only) were sold by the GPO from 1870

Francis Firth started producing illustrated postcards from 1894

Raphael Tuck produced illustrated cards from 1866 and Postcards from 1900

Judges Postcards 1903 to present

Wallace Jones of Builth from 1905         

Bamforth Cards from 1910

Percy Benzie Abery (Builth Wells) from 1911    

Valentine & Sons from 1911

Ray has a ‘vast’ collection, 1000+ of cards from this locality and Geraint handed over to Ray.

Ray started by thanking people for coming to the talk and he thanked Geraint who had done all the technological work to have the cards projected on the screen.

Postcard 1.

Rather appropriately the first and second postcard is of the village, including the Thomas Shop, taken from the field opposite the Thomas Shop, and looking down the hill. This postcard is Park Newtown Card from 1911 and is No1. In the Penybont Radnors series. Park cards a rare as they were a small family business that operated under the motto: “Park for People”.

The post mark on this card says “Penybont Station”, and referred to the Post Office in Crossgates.  This title became a problem as Penybont itself was to have its own Post Office. The name was changed to Llanbadarn Fawr Post Office, and then subsequently to Crossgates Post Office.

Of note is the fact that the stamp is upside down, the card was sent to Breconshire, and read:

“Dear Cousin, Just a line to let you know as Dick is getting about a little again, I have no time to write, I will write the end of this week, Dad is here now. With love to all. MG”

Postcard 2:

The second card we looked at was very similar to the first one – the same picture but with a hint of colour. This card was also a Newtown Park Card but Series 2.

It was how ever the back of the card that excited members as it had been sent by Nellie Bufton who had lived in Ithon Terrace.

The angle of the stamp is again interesting. What is going on?

The card sent to Cardiff is addressed to:

Dear Bessie and Tom, I hope you are keeping alright and not pinning away. I shall be home at 11.0 on Friday night for the Colliery Job. Have my grey day suit ready for me, as I have to catch the 7.17 a.m. train on Saturday morning and expect to finish and be back home by the night then I will have Sunday at home and return here on Monday. Edith is improving and hopes you are both well, and sends her kind love. Albert sends his best respects. Tell you more when I get home. Nellie

(The words not in italics are my best guess.) The card demonstrates quite a lot of journeying for Nellie and the importance of family caring alongside other commitments.

Postcard 3 – First Bridge in Penybont

Another Newtown Parks Postcard, this time showing the rather beautiful Suspension Bridge with Bank House in the background.

 Postcard 4 – Severn Arms 1905

This postcard shows the Severn Arms Inn and the Iron Room, this is an another early Park Card

Postcard 5 :- Towers at Penybont Hall

This card shows the 2 towers, one of which was taken down some years later. It also shows what was described as the Squire’s Pitch, the road, that went past the front door of the Hall.

Postcard 6 – Lake at Penybont Hall

The man is the foreground of this Park Card picture of the Lake was thought to be a helper with the photographer. The picture evoked memories of over 100 people skating on the lake and Lord Ormathwaite whizzing around at 100 mph.

Postcard 7 : – Severn Arms with Stage Coaches

This picture probably dates back to about 1870, but was not mounted on a postcard until the early 1900’s.

Postcard 8 : – Severn Arms and gathering

This card of 1910 shows a postmark that is ‘Penybont’. It is a simple direct communication that would have been delivered the same day:

“I hope to see you tomorrow, but am afraid I cannot come before the afternoon train. Love Dores”

Postcard 9 :- Severn Arms – Front  Door

“Dear Cousin, Just a line to let you know Aunt got hear alight. Ma met her at the station along with the Boy, they drove in the cart. With Love from Mag They are going to Cefnmawr on Friday”

Postcard 10 : – Severn Arms and RAC Sign

Postcard 11 and 12 :- Severn Arms viewed from field opposite

Spot the difference between these views of the Severn Arms. It shows how different companies used the same photographs, they only had to change the caption.

Postcard 12 :- Severn Arms with War Memorial

Showing the War Memorial, erected after the 1st World War, it is further out than at present. It was moved back during the 1960’s when the road was improved. The Iron Room is still attached to the Severn Arms.

Postcard 13:- Post Office 1905

The photographer’s mate is featured again outside the Post Office.  The lane he os standing in would have taken you down and across the River onto the Ddole and on to the Blacksmith’s.

“My dear old Reg, I’ll leave on Monday for home Your loving sister Lil You can guess how excited I am”

Ray mentioned that the cards often showed that people travelled a lot.

Postcard 14:- Penybont Hall with twin Towers 1905

Postcard 15:- Post Office 1914

This was Ray’s home for 35 years. The gentleman in front of the Post Office is Mr. George Bufton from Gladestree, and the little boy was Tommy Jones, Keily and Barbara’s father. The Postcard was produced by Wallis Jones of Builth.

“Dear Marion, Sorry I shall not be able to come to Rhayader tomorrow, Hope you are all well and that your ……… with love from Aunty Amie”

Here again we see how quickly people expected their cards to be delivered.

Postcard 16 – Village view from the Knighton Junction

Changes from the present day would be the lack of pavements and the horse manure on the roads. Of course, the village had regular markets with the animals being driven through.

Postcard 17 – Village from a similar perspective

Postcard 18 – Village from opposite direction

Postcard 19 – Same View a few years later , now with pavements and a village noticeboard

Postcard 20 – Calvinist – Methodist Chapel

Postcard 21 – Village Blacksmith

The life and soul of the village.

Postcard 22: – Post Office and Bank

Railings have arrived on the front of the Post Office

Postcard 23:- The New Bank

With House built originally for the Bank Manager, Mr Thomas. Nurse Gittings had the other house.

Postcard 24:- The Central Wales Emporium

It was William Thomas from the Thomas Shop in Penybont who built and ran the Emporium, some times know as the Harrods of Mid Wales.

Postcard 25:- Severn Arms Advertising

As with the Emporium above the Severn Arms were quick to see the potential advertising benefits of producing a postcard.

Postcard 26:- First Bridge close-up

Postcard 27:- Testing for the New Bridge (2nd Bridge)

The photograph features Neil’s wife’s Great-Grandfather as the driver of the traction engine. Neil spent years trying to beg, borrow, or steal a copy!

Postcard 28: – Suspension Bridge and Chapel

Photograph also shows the tennis court just over the river. Neil’s father played against Jean on the court.

Postcard 30:- The New Bridge and Chapel

This Bridge split Chapel meadow with the tennis court being opposite the Chapel on the right. The older suspension bridge was further to the right.

“South View, Llandrindod Wells 24Sept 32

Hope this finds you much better – We are enjoying everything and find ourselves very well fixed. Lovely weather until today……… Place full of clergy for the conference and the Chapel Folk have one too. We have had some delightful walks. …. Love from Hel”

Postcard 31:- Footbridge to Ddole

Postcard 32:- Footbridge Taken from Other side

Postcard 33:- Outside Severn Arms

Older photo taken before the building of the Bank and the Manager’s House.

Postcard 34:- Pen-y-bont Station

Postcard 35:- Station with Locomotive

Postcard 36:- Llanbadarnfawr School 1920’s

Postcard 37:- Cross Roads at Crossgates

Postcard 38: – Chalet at Crossgates

It was moved subsequent to this photo and demolished more recently.

Postcard 39:- Crossgates, the Village

Postcard 40: – Crossgates Post Office known originally as Penybont Station Post Office

Features HQ Coates bread delivery vehicle with JO Davies

Postcard 41: – Not Penybont – Crossgates

Postcard 42: – Crossgates/Penybont Station Entrepreneurs

Postcard 43: – The Hotel in Crossgates

Postcard 44: – St Padarn’s Parish Church

Neil pointed out the chimneys that have since been removed – he pointed at Geraint as the villain of this desecration.

Postcard 45: – Llandegley

Village before the construction of the bypass

Postcard 46: – Llandegley – similar view

Postcard 47: – Llandegley Church

Photograph taken by McCaig of New Radnor, who travelled around on a motorbike and sidecar taking photos. The Burton Hotel is in the foreground and it shows St Techla’s Church with the old tower.

Postcard 48: – Primrose Cottage and Post Office

Postcard 49: – Llandegley School Photo

Postcard 50: – Parkes Card of Llandegley Parish Church

Postcard 51: – John Mantle – The Bank at the Church Gate Llandegley

Neil has the original photograph of this Postcard.

Postcard 52:- Church Choir Llandegley

Geraint said that they sounded a lot better than they looked!!!

Postcard 53: – Vicarage Llandegley

Postcard 54: Llandegley School

Ray remembered the day he entered the school in 1940 trough the door on the left.

Postcard 55: – Alpine Bridge

Postcard 56: Alpine Bridge

“Dear Fanny, We are having awful weather up here. I think Lily and I are going across this bridge some day. It looks very nice don’t you think. With love from Elsie”

Postcard 57: – Forest Inn

Ray finished by telling us about a particular postcard that highlights for him some of the excitement in the world of Deltiology. Some 30 years ago a gentleman, who then lived in London, bought a postcard from Ray when he was running the Post Office. The gentleman would send this postcard to his mum in Cardigan. Many, many years later Ray received a Postcard from a fellow Deltiologist who had picked up a postcard in a sale in Bloomsbury that he thought Ray might be interested in. He sent it saying he hoped Ray might like it?

When Ray opened the Postcard it was the same postcard that Richard Davies had bought all those years ago. He was able to return the card to Richard. A job well done!

Geraint thanked Ray for this most enjoyable and interesting look at our area through the medium of Postcards.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th March and will feature: Dr Marion Evans who will be talking about “Friendly Societies and their Contribution to the Community”.