Looking Back

Cullercoats Bay in 1904.
Cullercoats Bay in 1904.

In September 1904, a postcard of Cullercoats Bay was sent to an uncle and aunt telling them to come over as a grandmother was very ill and her daughter had sent for a doctor.

The card also mentions that a letter had come from someone called Alice on Thursday, who was enjoying herself and hoping that a relative called George had found something to do.

Uncle was John Cairns, of Laundry House, Osborne Avenue, Westoe, South Shields. The 1901 census lists John S Cairns, an engineer in charge of a laundry, as living in Sunderland with his wife Sarah and three of their children. Alice Maud Page, their niece, is also with the family.

By the 1911 census, Alice is an unmarried dressmaker in Cardiff, living with her mother Eleanor Jane, from Middlesbrough, and her sister Gwendoline Eleanor, married to George Marshall.

Looking back at the 1901 census for Eleanor Jane Page, younger sister of John Cairns, she is living in Horton with husband John Page, from Chelsea, and her mother Sarah, 72, widow of George Cairns, and three of Eleanor’s children.

It is presumably Sarah Cairns who has taken ill, and the message may have been sent by Gwendoline.

The artist’s impression of Cullercoats Harbour makes it look very calm, with fishermen rowing out into a blue sea.

This era is known as the golden age of the postcard when, for a halfpenny, a message could be sent, reaching the recipient the next day, often later the same day, depending on when and where it was posted.

If you have further information on this postcard, ask for Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on 0191 643 5270 or email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk