Saucy Seaside Postcards are a peculiar tradition but are synonymous with holidays along the British coast. They typify the quirky humour of the British which often revolves around sex or bodily functions.
With the English invention of seaside holidays having been popularised by the Victorians, the promenades and piers started to see stalls selling seaside novelties. Seaside postcards with bawdy captions first appeared in the early 20th Century and became extremely popular during the First World War.
There are many postcards which have become very well known and the original 'Hey Sonia' card shown opposite was recently sold for a vast sum of money.
Characters would mostly be well endowed young women, well built older women, hen pecked husbands and red nosed drunks. Subjects usually involved either the beach, hospitals, nudist camps or indeed anything where a sexual content could be included. The predominant feature being double entendre (A word or phase having a double meaning especially when the second meaning is risqué) and spoonerisms (A transposition of the initial sounds of two words).
In the 1950s, Bamforth postcards were among the most popular of the 18 million purchased at British resorts. James Bamforth founded the business in West Yorkshire at the end of the Victorian era.
He took advantage of lantern slides to show pictures of bossy housewives telling their neighbours that their husbands had just had a rise - and it had nothing to do with salaries. The postage stamp would cost an old halfpenny in the postcard's Edwardian heyday. 'Politically correct' attitudes caused sales of the risqué cards to fall away - and the future of the Bamforth name became a concern - as the parent company fell into receivership.
James Bamforth founded the company in 1870 in Station Road, Holmfirth, Yorkshire and the family sold out to ETW Dennis towards the end of the 20th Century, when James Bamforth's grandson Derek retired. In recent years the company has been famous for Calendars, Birthday cards, Seaside views and particularly Saucy Postcards. But to Magic Lanternists everywhere Bamforth means Lantern Slides.