Collection of picture postcards acquired by the Bowley family of Thurgarton and Radford, Nottinghamshire, 1908-1961

Scope and Content

The collection comprises 186 picture postcards. About a third of them were written and sent, between 1908 and 1961; the rest are blank and may have been collected as mementoes. The postcards are black and white, colour or colourised.

The earliest postcards were sent to a Mrs Butler in Nottingham, whose relationship to the Bowler and Sharpe families is unknown. Numerous aunts sent postcards to 'Frankie' during his childhood in the 1910s-1920s. The bulk of the postcards were sent to Frank and Gertrude ('Gertie') Bowley in the 1930s-1950s, from family and friends on holiday. The family members who sent postcards included Gertrude's brother Albert and sister Annie, and Frank's brother George. The collection also includes postcards sent to Gertrude's mother Mrs Sharpe in Fiskerton, and postcards sent to Nancy or Nanny Judge who was living with the Bowleys in Bleasby in 1940-1941.

The cards depict a variety of images. Some, dating from the First World War period, give patriotic, romantic or even humorous images of soldiers in service (MS 192/167-170, 176-181). The majority of the cards depict towns (especially seaside towns), villages and churches in England. Postcards depicting Nottinghamshire include Thurgarton (MS 192/76, 77, 92, 93, 96, 125, 128, 130, 144), Southwell (MS 192/70, 73, 74, 158), and the churches of Cresswell (MS 192/86) and East Bridgford (MS 192/75). Other particularly well represented towns include Southampton in Hampshire, Bournemouth in Dorset and Skegness in Lincolnshire.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frank William Bowley, the son of John William and Frances Bowley, was born in 1909 and spent his childhood in Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire. From the evidence of the postcards, Frank was living in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, in 1930 and in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in 1931. He married Gertrude M. Sharpe in about 1934 and they had a son, Evan, born in around 1938. For the first few years of their marriage they lived with Gertrude's mother Mrs Sharpe in Fiskerton, Nottinghamshire. Between 1939 and 1942 Frank, Gertrude and Evan lived in Bleasby. By 1946 they were living in Radford, Nottinghamshire, where they remained until at least 1961. One of the postcards in this collection, from 1937, is addressed to Mr F. Bowley at the Signal Box, Rolleston, evidence perhaps of Bowley's occupation. The content of some of the postcards suggests that the Bowley family were members of the Methodist Church.


The collection has been numbered in the order that the cards were found in the album.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 37 pp.

On the World Wide Web: Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The collection was given to the University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts in August 1969.

Geographical Names