The postcard collector who preserved Norfolk history
- Credit: Philip Standley Collection
He died 15 years ago but his memory lives on in the collection of wonderful books he left for us to enjoy. His name was Philip Standley… the postcard man of Wymondham.
It was during the summer of 1988 when Philip first came to see me with a copy of 'Norwich Volume 1. A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards.' He asked if I thought people would like it… they loved it.
It sold like hotcakes and resulted in several more postcard books including a couple of 'Then and Now' books, teaming up with photographer Terry Burchell, to compare how things have changed.
And following his death in 2006 Philip’s daughter Sarah produced 'In and Around Wymondham Then and Now' with photographer Mark Dagless.
“He had decided to do a Then and Now book on his home town and I agreed to help him as he suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. Sadly dad died but I continued to write the book in his memory using many of his postcards and photographs,” said Sarah.
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“I hope I have made dad proud and I dearly wish he was here to see it,” she added.
He would have been very proud.
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Philip loved his home town of Wymondham, Norwich and the rest of Norfolk so much… some of you will remember him from his wonderful hardware and TV shop, The Little Dustpan.
When it closed he turned his attention to finding out more about his rare collection of postcards and sharing them with others.
Philip had been a founding member of the Norfolk Postcard Club. He would show you a card and his face would light up as he told you the story behind it and the added bonus was a stamp, postmark or message on the other side.
The first pictures on postcards in this country were published in 1894 and were known as Court Cards.
They were the way people sent messages to each other and highlight where they lived and what was going on. Millions were posted every year. Savvy photographers would capture local events, disasters – such as the 1912 city floods – and they would be turned into postcards within days.
In the introduction to his first book Philip wrote: “Norwich, like most cities, has changed greatly over the last hundred years and is, of course, still changing.
“One of the best ways to illustrate this transformation is to take a ‘snap shot’ of life in the city at the turn of the century, as preserved on picture postcards that were so popular at the time,” he said.
Look out for the books by Philip and the one by Sarah in the shops, such as City Books or Jarrold in Norwich, or online.