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Celebrate 100 Years Of Saucy Sea-Side Postcards

A series of world famous saucy sea-side postcards are re-launched this week to mark their 100th anniversary.

The history of the postcards dates back to 1870 when James Bamforth, a portrait photographer opened a business in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire called Bamforth and Co, specialising in lantern slides. But it was the launch of the saucy postcards in 1910 that sealed the artists’ future.

Scarborough printing firm, Dennis, bought Bamford and Co in the 1980’s and businessman Ian Wallace bought the rights to the postcards in 2001 after Dennis collapsed.

Mr Wallace, 63 now has ownership of over 50,000 postcard images with hilarious images of voluptuous nurses, battleaxe wives and henpecked husbands. He is proud of the classic images that have brought a smile to people’s faces all over the world. “They always look good and they always make people smile” he said, “Maybe they’re not to everyone’s taste but if you can’t laugh at Bamforth postcards what can you laugh at?”

Wallace has purposefully waited until the centenary year before signing a licensing agreement that will see the images reproduced on everything from mugs to mouse mats, beer mats to boxer shorts.

Holmfirth is also famous for the iconic television series ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ featuring characters slightly reminiscent of some of the stars of the postcards.

Over the years post cards seem to have lost their appeal and following the invention of the internet and wide usage of mobile phones, they are not the holiday necessity that they used to be. We would often spend hours choosing a cheeky postcard for Uncle Jim and a pretty beach scene for our favourite Granny. Nowadays we rush straight to the nearest internet café or send text messages and even photos over our mobile phones. Post cards are a thing of the past for most people.

Wallace is hoping that the reminder of days gone by and the cheeky ‘close to the knuckle’ remarks on these iconic cards will once again bring a smile to our faces and shed a brief beam ray of sunshine when we might other wise be having a dark and cloudy day.