My Postcard as an Historical Artifact


Holyrood Abbey, The Nave - Postcard Front


Holyrood Abbey, The Nave - Postcard Back

This postcard depicts the Nave/Church adjacent to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh. This site has been a monument of Scottish history since its 'discovery' by King David I in 1127. Previously the site of canons regular, the original site was in ruins. The current site also lay in ruins since the roof collapsed in 1768 (The Scots Magazine 1768). It is, according to the Scottish government, a scheduled monument (Historic Environment Scotland 2019).

This postcard was most likely printed in the early 20th century, during the Divided Back period into the White Boarder period. The divided back period is also known as the 'Golden Age of Postcards' because of the extreme and widespread popularity of them at the time (Smithsonian 2019). Finally, people were able to send messages along with the post card for the first time since they were called Private Mailing Cards in the late 19th century (Smithsonian 2019). Postcards of this kind, with monument or attraction photos on them, were 'taken and retaken' every year or traveling season to capture the current state of 'staple sights and new attractions' (Durie 2017).

This kind of postcard is telling of how Edinburgh began to view themselves as a tourist destination. With all their historic monuments, beautiful parks, and everyday lifestyle, Edinburgh is worthy of the second most popular tourist destination in the U.K., after only London. Similar to how social media posts about one's travels are a way to express their love of a place as well as to show off their travels, so too was the postcard. Edinburgh also benefitted from the postcards being sent around the U.K. and outside as it would attract more tourists to visit their great and historic city.

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