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Postcard from the Past

May 10 @ 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm


Are the days of sending picture postcards over?

By Tom Jackson

In a talk illustrated with suspiciously blue skies, enormous good-luck cats and a squadron of one-eared donkeys, Tom Jackson, curator of the Postcard From The Past twitter feed and book, draws on his alarmingly huge collection of everyday postcards to present the oddest, funniest, most touching messages.

Beyond the problem with Auntie Beryl’s legs, where Dad left his sunhat or that time Kevin fell in the swimming pool, discover hidden messages, cries for help, threats and mysteries and consider whether or not it’s too late to revive the art of postcard writing.

‘Resurrecting these postcards, relics of forgotten times and forgotten holidays, was the simplest and most brilliant idea. Tom Jackson combines the images with just a few of the words scribbled on the back, and his eye for the choice sentence, the perfect phrase, is miraculous. Thanks to his assiduous, obsessive work as collector and curator, each one of these postcards becomes a poem, a short story, an elegy for lost England, a work of art’ – Jonathan Coe

Tom Jackson has collected postcards for many years and in 2016 started posting their messages online. He curates the Twitter feed Postcard From The Past, @pastpostcard, and is the author of the book of the same name. He hosts Podcast From The Past, where guests tell their postcard stories.

At the Knowledge Centre of the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Tickets £12 / concessions

This event is inspired by the British Library exhibition Writing: Making your Mark which runs from 26th April to 27th August 2019.

Discover the extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements, through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents. Follow the remarkable evolution of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone and early printed text such as William Caxton’s edition of The Canterbury Tales, to the art of note-taking by some of history’s greatest minds, and onwards to the digital communication tools we use today.

Further information on the British Library website

British Library events


May 10
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm


British Library
01937 546 546


The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB United Kingdom
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