Norfolk

Postcards sent back to original address to 'bring joy'

Old postcard Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This card was sent from Great Yarmouth in 1920 to wish its Norwich recipient a happy birthday

A man is sending postcards from the early 1900s back to their original destination in the hope of bringing "joy" at a time of "isolation".

The cards, bought from antique shops and other sources, are posted with a note saying "a little piece of history" is coming home.

Ben Curran, a mental health worker from Norwich, said he aimed to "ignite people's curiosity".

So far he has sent 35 cards back to the address to which they were first sent.

"These old postcards are just languishing in shops and have little monetary value, but they were meaningful when first sent and received, and I want to recreate that meaning," said Mr Curran, who calls his project Postcards from Time.

Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This card was returned to the Norwich address it had first been sent to in 1919
Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This card was originally sent from a soldier serving overseas to his daughter in Shrewsbury in 1919

"People are interested in the history of their homes, the people who lived there; and maybe this will encourage them to think and talk about these things."

Some of the cards are greetings from holiday destinations, while others contain personal messages, including one from a soldier shortly after the end of World War One.

Writing to his daughter Nellie, in Shrewsbury, he scolds her for not writing while he is billeted overseas.

Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This was sent from a soldier after the end of World War One

On another postcard sent to London in 1918, a father tells his daughter he has finished making a basket for her, but cannot find the right material to line it, requesting she send him a piece of silk "18 inches by 12 inches".

Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This was the first card Mr Curran sent home - originally from Switzerland in 1938 to an address in Buckie, Scotland

The cards are sent out with a message saying they are "returning this little piece of history to the place where it belongs" in the hope it "brings joy" and "ignites curiosity".

Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption The cards are sent with an information sheet suggesting ways people might do more with their postcard

The idea was based on the concept of "random acts of kindness", said Mr Curran.

So far only one recipient has responded online.

Image copyright Ben Curran
Image caption This card was sent from Irish seaside town Rathmullan to Penzance, Cornwall, in 1905

"That was really nice, and they enjoyed receiving it, but I'm not worried about people replying to me, as that's not the point," said Mr Curran.

"I like the quirkiness of it and also the idea that someone might take pleasure in it, particularly given there is a lot of isolation in this world and something like this might be a small catalyst for change."

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