The Robinson photograph and postcard collection

Archivist Allyson Lewis writes about working with the Robinson photograph and postcard collection

This collection consisting of 112 boxes of photograph and postcard albums and slides was compiled by Geoffrey A. Robinson of Thundersley, Essex.  A keen photographer he also collected postcards, chiefly of places in Essex but also all over the country.

One of the 112 boxes of photographs, postcards and prints in the Robinson collection


Just a few of the albums that make up the extensive collection

Mr Robinson had a clear plan when taking his photographs of places in Essex.  He would start with the parish church and take exterior views, then move inside, including any memorials or noteworthy architectural features.  He would then take the churchyard including inscriptions on larger memorials.  Then he would tour the village taking photographs of old buildings, public houses, the school, and any other religious buildings e.g. chapels. He was most active during the 1960s and 1970s and his photographs provide a wonderful window back in time to the quiet lanes of Essex with no cars in sight.

A few of Mr Robinson's photographs of the church at Tilbury-juxta-Clare

One of the more unusual postcards - holes punched in the front of the card allow light to shine through a coloured backing in this night time seaside scene

He put all his photographs and postcards into albums, initially using photograph corners on paper pages but later using the dreaded self-adhesive lift-and-stick plastic pages. These are a particular problem as the adhesive remains sticky and holds the image so firmly to the page that it cannot be removed without damage.  Fortunately, for most of the albums in the Robinson collection the adhesive has dried so much that the photographs and postcards can be removed easily.

Many of the photographs and prints are stuck into damaging self-adhesive albums, and are sometimes very difficult to remove

The images are being been re-stored in inert melinex pockets which will ensure their preservation for years to come.

Postcards and photographs safely re-stored in acid free melinex pockets

Postcards relating to other counties have been sent to the relevant offices (about 40 at the last count!).

One of the mysteries of the collection is the correspondence with a Miss Raverty. The author of the postcards seems to have written to her frequently, and would spread individual messages across several postcards, which were then numbered. We have tried to put the sequences back together, but cannot make much sense of them as yet!

Some of the postcards written to the mysterious Miss Raverty, each containing a fragment of a message


A postcard written to Miss Raverty on 18 November 1902 with a fragment of a message - 'Alfie's place is within thirty yards of this gate of the palace, so he has an excellent view of all the processions & whatever.'

The Robinson photograph and postcard collection is catalogued as Accession A7792 – D/DU 1464