I wrote a few days ago about The Smith family enjoying their holidays in Blackpool.
They also liked to go to Southport and there are a couple of postcards in Miss Edith Smith's collection which were sent from there.
Postmarked Southport 13 May 1913
Just a line or two. We have had a lovely day to-day and are enjoying ourselves first class. Best Love to all. Yours Elsie
Postmarked Southport 15 May 1913
18 Victoria Street
All being well we shall be home tomorrow, Friday leaving here about 1 o clock. Hoping to be at Royston 5.20. Hope you are all well had splendid time. Love to all E.A.S.
Both postcards were sent to Edith Smith and it looks as though Elsie (her sister) had gone on holiday with their mother (Eliza Anne).
Southport is a seaside town on the north west coast of England about fifteen miles to the north of Liverpool. Victoria Street where Eliza was staying was a street of guest houses according to the 1911 census.
Like Blackpool, Southport had developed in the eighteenth century as a health resort. Doctors had started to recommend bathing in the sea as a cure for aches and pains as an alternative to going to the inland spa towns to take the waters.
Southport flourished because of its proximity to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which brought visitors from many of the northern industrial towns and cities in the days before the railways. A local entrepreneur, William Sutton, had realised the significance of the canal system and in 1792 set up a bathing house in the virtually uninhabited sand dunes. In 1797 a cottage was built for seasonal lodgers and soon after that, Sutton built the South Port Hotel on the site of his original bathing house. He arranged transport from the canal to the hotel and the business was a success. Southport grew quickly and by 1820 was receiving 20,000 visitors each year.
Lord Street (first postcard) became the main thoroughfare of Southport.
Much of the land was owned by the Hesketh family who stipulated that the land they made available for development should incorporate extensive tree planting. The scene in the centre of the second postcard is in Hesketh Park to the north of the town which was built on land donated by the Rev. Charles Hesketh.
The tree planting scheme can be clearly seen in the view of Lord Street as can some of the very fine Victorian buildings for which Southport is renowned.
Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte lived in exile in Lord Street in the 1840s before returning to France as President and later Emperor. His was the responsibility for the demolition of much of central Paris and its replacement with broad tree-lined streets and covered walkways and arcades very similar to Lord Street in Southport. It has been suggested that it was Louis-Napoleon's memories of Southport's Lord Street which inspired his re-development plans for Paris! And if you don't believe me, take a look at this.
Again, it's interesting to note the confidence there was in the reliability of the Royal Mail: all being well we shall be home tomorrow on a card posted in the evening. And it sounds like they'd had a lovely time!
Check out some more of Miss Smith's postcards here.