Royston Postcards: Reader’s Correspondence

In the January edition of The Listing we featured an article by Rod Taylor in which he talked about a series of postcards which feature Royston and one from Miss Gladys Hagger, dated in the year 1912. After seeing the article, Howard Gascoyne got in touch saying he also had two early postcards addressed to the same Miss Gladys Hagger.

One card, postmarked August 1908, is addressed to her c/o a Mrs. Edwards in Cambridge, sent from someone with the initials I or J F D whilst the other appears to be from her niece, Doris, and is addressed to her at Royston’s Melbourn Street. This one has not been posted, so it was perhaps sent under the cover of an adult – possibly her parents, The colourised picture of Kneesworth St. looks distinctly Edwardian (1901 – 1910) and indeed the old Crown & Dolphin’s licensing board shows Henry R. Blows to be the licensee at the time which dates it between 1907 -1916. Today the pub’s premises are used by a bookmakers shop and it’s interesting to see that the post, which, in the picture, supports the swinging pub sign, is still visible. That pub seems to have closed after Henry left but after that, in 1917, he took the licence of the Coach & Horses across the road.

Doris “all so”, in that card, sends her wishes to “Uncle Chals”. Perhaps Miss Hagger shared her address with a brother? The Hagger surname has been recorded in the Royston area for centuries (and still is) and one branch of the family were big fruit farmers in the area – we even have a ‘Hagger’s Close’ in Melbourn.

The photo in the 1908 postmarked card shows another pub/hotel, The Angel today exists in name only as ‘Angel Pavement’ which was built in 1965 and some years after the hostelry itself closed in 1954. It’s pub sign advertises “Good accommodation for cyclists” showing that it is catering for all those pursuing the new craze – special outfits were even designed with a wide skirt divided into two baggy leg sections to allow ladies to take part. Very conveniently, we can see a cycle shop just beyond which would doubtless carry out repairs to the machines whilst their riders partook of the Angel’s facilities.

These postcards, little pieces of ephemera, do certainly provide a lovely insight into our past, the days when ‘Doris’ was a just child’s name.

Written by Howard Gascoyne