Postcards from the Edge: Remote British Lighthouses in Vintage Postcards

By Christopher P. Nicholson

Format: Multiple Formats

This is an engaging mix that's sure to appeal to all lighthouse enthusiasts and all those interested in maritime engineering, early photography and social history. It will also be of great general appeal and ideal for dipping into for a nostalgic read about individual lighthouses.

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Whittles Publishing

Whittles Publishing has been established for some years but recently has expanded significantly, becoming a well-known technical publisher on a global stage. They publish quality, well-produced and attractive books and specialise in the following subjects: geomatics, civil and structural engineering and applied science. They are also developing new lists in specific disciplines including architecture and landscape, manufacturing and materials technology, fuel and energy science and geotechnics. They also publish non-technical books within the following areas: maritime, pharology, military history, nature and exploration.

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We've been sending one another postcards for well over a century now - usually brief messages to our friends and family telling them about the weather on our holidays or where we're visiting next on our travels. A hundred years ago we sent postcards with more serious messages - important, personal information about births, marriages and deaths, urgent requests for help, or just to keep in touch before the use of the telephone became widespread. The choice of subjects featured on postcards today is vast, but amongst the most popular has always been the lighthouse - a symbol of safety and reliability, and evidence of Man's basic instinct to warn and reassure. Over the years, almost every British lighthouse has featured on a postcard of some description, and the ones with easy access are regularly updated with different views. This new book from Christopher Nicholson, author of the highly-acclaimed Rock Lighthouses of Britain, concentrates on vintage postcards featuring the remotest lighthouses of all.


Within these pages are snapshots of the past and moments in time from the very edge of Britain - granite pillars rising from sea-swept reefs or the lights on uninhabited storm-lashed islets dotted around the coasts of England, Wales and Scotland. Some of these cards are artists' impressions, some are hand-tinted, while others are real sepia or black and white photographs - but they all show how things used to look and how life used to be at the very extremes of offshore Britain. Due to their age these postcards are now valuable documents of social history - keepers posing with their families or being relieved at the end of their stint of duty - and they also illustrate the changing appearance of the lighthouses, together with the appalling weather the keepers endured. Proof, if such were needed, that there was nowhere too isolated nor weather too rough that would daunt the determined postcard photographer! It was perhaps because of the very remoteness of the lighthouses that drew people to buy the postcards and these evocative photographs will invoke an appreciation of those bygone times.


With chapters on 'pillar lights', 'island lights', 'relief days', 'wild winds and white water' and 'curiosities' the author has been given unique access to the collections of private individuals and lighthouse authorities to compile a fascinating and nostalgic work. Each lighthouse featured is accompanied by interesting historical details as well as a selection of vintage postcard views with extended captions - some over a century old.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Whittles Publishing
Publication Date 25 Jan 2010
SKU 9781904445593-grouped
Number of Pages 144

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Press Reviews

'...a delightful and charming book. ...the great delight of this publication is visual attractiveness of the postcards. ...It is lavishly illustrated and the quality of the reproduction is high. It is packed with interesting historical information ad will have a very wide appeal.' Nautical Magazine '...a fascinating book... All facets of life are touched by these unique buildings, and this book shines a light on parts of our culture we didn't know existed.' The Weekly News '...showcases a unique collection of postcards featuring some of the most remote lighthouses... illustrate how lighthouses have changed and weathered over the years, and show the difficult conditions endured by lighthouse keepers...' Scottish Memories '...the many fascinating images in this book are all taken from actual postcards, some more than a century old. The combination of historical detail and images provides a vivid social history about these sea-battered architectural masterpieces and the men who built and looked after them through storm and tempest'. The Northumbrian 'Postcards and lighthouses: two of our favourite things. So how could we resist Postcards from the Edge, a new book that combines both? The history of this most popular maritime building is cleverly chronicled... ... all the images are wildly romantic with tumultuous seas, turbulent skies and boats in full sail battling the odds'. COAST 'Christopher Nicholson's superb pictorial account of fascinating remote British lighthouse postcards is a treasdure for those who enjoy a nostalgic relection on our past historical icons. ...the atmosphere and period are captured with full character in these postcards. ... the author presents us with an amazing and nostalgic compendium of our maritime history. ... This richly illustrated, engaging work...' Anglesey Today '...a delightful and charming book. ...the great delight of this publication is visual attractiveness of the postcards. ...It is lavishly illustrated and the quality of the reproduction is high. It is packed with interesting historical information ad will have a very wide appeal.' Nautical Magazine '...a fascinating book... All facets of life are touched by these unique buildings, and this book shines a light on parts of our culture we didn't know existed.' The Weekly News

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