Collecting post cards was a popular hobby in early-twentieth-century England. My grandmother Isabella Allan Brownlees (1874-1958), and her husband Donald Cameron (1878-1941) both had post card albums that they brought to Canada when they emigrated in 1908 and 1905, respectively. The greatest number of cards are from 1903-1909 but some are from later days, through to the 1930s. Some of the cards which contained useful biographical information have been included in the other sections of this website but I decided to post the whole collection here in one place, as well.
Pictures on the cards include many photos of Northumberland and Durham, plus Edinburgh, other parts of Scotland and the border areas where my grandparents and many of their friends and relatives lived.
Places that recur are Kelso and Coldstream in Roxburghshire, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Wark-on-Tweed, Berwick-on-Tweed, and Newcastle-on-Tyne in Northumberland.
There are about 270 cards in this collection but I have not yet scanned them all and will be adding them gradually.
Map from a tourist brochure brought back to Canada by Isabella (Brownlees) Cameron in 1934. Grandma and many of her relatives lived in villages on this map – Wark, Coldstream, Kelso, Crookham, Stichill and others, on both sides of the England/Scotland border.
This map from about 1990 includes most of the older one above but also shows a larger area which includes the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed where Isabella Brownlees’ husband Donald Cameron was born.
NO DATE but must have been sent between 1925 and 1930. This card shows
Braehead Walk, Coldstream and the Tweed River which here is the border between England’s Northumberland and Scotland’s Berwickshire.
The card was not mailed so must have been enclosed in a letter or parcel sent to my grandmother in Canada from one of her aunts – either Sarah or Bessie Allan. It reads, “The Tweed was near up to the wall last month, not the like for over 40 years & Leet
[a smaller river that feeds into the Tweed] over all these bridges and then salmon galore. Mary [Melrose, formerly Allan, who lived at Monument Cottage, Coldstream] still has a nice garden & hens and works a lot herself as she can. Sarah [Mary’s daughter] polishes on & on, aye. Mary was in at Edinburgh in the summer to see Andrew and Len’s houses together. Andrew calls his Branxton.” Mary (Allan) Melrose’s sons, Andrew and Len Melrose, bought side-by-side houses in Edinburgh, at #18 and #20 Traquair Park West, Corstophine, sometime between 1925 and 1930.
1904 Kelso – October 13
========================================== October 13, 1904, Kelso. Dear Bella, Thanks for P.C. [post card] So glad to hear your grandfather is keeping better. We have been very busy lately& expecting more company on Saturday, So that is the way they keep us going, not much chance of getting down for a while yet but will write. Looking to ?? lovely ? Both well. Hoping you are all likewise. Kind love from Bessie.
Post-mark: Dec 29, 1904 6:30 pm, Coldstream. To: Master J. Melrose, c/o Miss Allan, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. “I expect to be across on Saturday. Hope you are enjoying yourself and keeping out of mischief. G.M.” G.M. will be George Melrose, John Melrose’s older brother.
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1904 – Alnwick – from Ina Bruce to Isabella Brownlee.
To: Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. “Arrived home all safe & Allan has been of to school. He was very tired. Nothing but leaves lying down all over. J. has got a dog will be at Coldstream Station by 3:20 train on Sat Oct 1st. from Ina” . Postmarked Alnwick, 9:15 PM September 28, 1904. “Ina” is Isabella Brownlees’ Aunt Georgina Allan (1867-1909) who married John Bruce (abt 1868-1930). The “Allan” mentioned on this card is their son Peter Allan Bruce (1898-1976).
Branxton Village, Northumberland. (No indication on the back of who took the photo.)
“Now Bella don’t you think this good of the old village. So Sorry I did not see you when you were down. With kindest love from M. Hardy”. Postmarked Cornhill-on-Tweed October 3, 1906. Addressed to “MIss Brownlee, Tweed Bank, Kelso.
Photo view of Market Place, Coldstream.
To Miss Brownlee, Tweed Bank, Kelso, postmarked May 3, 1906, Cornhill-on-Tweed. “Dear Bella, I wonder if you have got any like this. How did you get home last fridaynight. You never got down here. Love from J.C. or I. C.
NO DATE – nothing on back.
Carham Parish Church, St. Cuthbert’s.
NO DATE – probably 1900-1908
This card was in Grandma’s album but had not been mailed. so there is no date – photo probably taken 1900-1908). There is no identifying info on it but it may have been of one of the villages where the Allans lived or nearby. The flock of sheep being moved along the street was probably a common sight as many people, such as her grandfather Peter Allan (1823-1905) raised sheep.
To Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. “Wishing you many happy returns of the day December 3rd. Pleased father is keeping better. Your affectionate Aunty Bella”. Postmarked Edinburgh 9:30 PM December 2, 1903. December 3rd, 1903 was Isabella Brownlee’s 27th birthday and the card is from her mother’s sister Isabella (Allan) Bolton.
1906 Buffalo, New York
Post card Leonard Short (1868-1945) sent to his cousin Miss Sarah Allan, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed, England with the laconic note, “Arrive Safe Len”. The card is postmarked at Buffalo, N.Y. , 4pm Aug 22, 1906 and pictures the Historical Society Building in Buffalo. [Card No.1361, W.G. MacFarlane, Publisher, Buffalo, N.Y.] Len was another of the family that decided to emigrate. He left by ship from Glasgow on 6 Aug, 1891, arrived in New York August 18, 1891 and settled in Buffalo where he pursued his occupation of tailor. He made a trip back to England in 1906. This card announces his safe arrival back in the U.S. He coninued to reside in Buffalo until his death in 1945.
Address side of card sent by Leonard Short (1868-1945) to his cousin, Sarah Allan. Post mark: Buffalo, N.Y. Aug 22 4pm, 1906.
Photo post card of Branxton School taken by Geo. W. Gibson, Photographer, Coldstream. Mailed in 1906 so probably taken around that time.
To Miss Brownlee, Tweed Bank, Kelso. Postmarked Cornhill on Tweed Oct 29, 1906. “Dear Bella, received your paper all right, hoping that you are well and Bessie. John is busy cleaning out the far pond and we are all well and Jimmie is getting on fine.”
1908 Allan Family lived in this farmhouse
“August 18, 1908. Now Bella dear just think of here and you’ll feel just in a dream; for as you mind and think again alas; you’ve crossed the Stream. Sarah thinks had she been further out she’d been bigger, but you see her quite plain. She was mangling the clothes & [?] got up her chest. I tell her send us one of your house soon,” This card shows a picture of the Allans’ house at Branxton Buildings, Wark-on-Tweed, where Grandma lived with her grandfather and Aunts (Sarah in the doorway) before she went to Canada. There is a current picture of this house in another section of this website. 1909 Kelso
Kerchesters, near Kelso, Roxburghshire.
The card, with picture of Kerchesters on the front was where some of the Allan family lived. It was sent to Mr John L. Allan c/ Mr William Taylor, Gainsboro, Saskatchewan, Canada, then re-directed to Virden, Manitoba, close to where his cousin Isabella Allan (Brownlees) Cameron lived. Postmarked Kelso, 4:15 pm April 12,1909. John must have left the card for Isabella’s collection or it arrived after he had left.
Following are scans from July 29, 2020:
Cards are addressed to Miss B. (Isabella) Brownlee(s), Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed:
Ruins of Roxburgh Castle. “Hope you are all well and getting on with the harvest. Rather disagreeable weather for it. Bessie”
Postmarked at Kelso 6:30 pm Aug 27, 1903. To: Miss B. Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed.
Maxwellheugh Mill. [ a grain mill at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland] “Have you a view like this.”
To Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed, postmarked Kelso, 4:15 pm October 30, 1903. ” Dear B. Thanks so much for P.P.C. [picture post card] today. I will be very pleased to come down; if the weather would only clear up. I hope G.F. [grandfather] is keeping well as all the rest of you. John& Louise [?] were coming down last Wed as it was the last [?] but it was so wet. I was sorry you came when I was not at home. I am going up to see B. this afternoon. Yours, I or J [ this might be grandma’s first cousin Jane Allan (1877-1950)]
Craigside now belongs to the National Trust and is one of the most visited properties in northern England. Link to a wikipedia article about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cragside
To: Miss Brownlees, Branxton Buildings, Cornhillon Tweed. “With best wishes for a Happy Christmas” from M.J.S. (Bella Brownlees’ Cousin Mary Jane Short, posted December 24, 1903, at Pauperhaugh, Rothbury parish, Northumberland ) Photo by Ruddock Ltd. Phototyped in Frankfort.
Waterloo Place and General Post Office, Edinburgh (M. Wane &Co. Edinbro)
To: Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed. Postmarked at Kelso 4:15 pm January 26, 1904. “Dear B. John was fairly amused over your post card so I had one to send in return. Hope you are all keeping well. B. was down on Sunday so (?) going up this afternoon. J.A. (or I.A) How is Allan.”
Which is correct? or did the mill have two names? Teviot Mill – an identical picture on a card above is titled Maxwellheugh Mill.
To Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. Postmarked Kelso, Feb 1904. “Thanks for post card delighted with it. Have been quite busy but nearly finished with the cleaning now. What miserable weather it has been. We are expecting Mrs G. sometime this week. Hope you are all well. We are both A.1. With love, Katie”
The Pier North Blyth [Northumberland] The Wrench Series No. 11569
To Miss Bella Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed Near Scotland. Postmarked Blyth, Northumberland, 9PM, Feb 26, 1904. “Dear Bella, I would like to take you for a walk along the pier. Hope you are all well. I am as fat as ever. Thanks for that nice card you sent a week or two ago. I have got it framed now. Plenty snow just now. So long darling. From little Jane.” (or it could be another name like Tom ot Tam)
Police Buildings, Blyth [Northumberland]
The Barbican, Alnwick Castle Reliable Series
“Dear Bella, We were glad to hear you were all well. We are all well ourselves. We intend being down on the 21st. from I. Bruce. [This is from Isabella Brownlee’s aunt Georgina (Allan) Bruce, nicknamed “Ina”. She and her husband and son lived at Alnwick.] Postmarked Alnwick, 9:15 PM, May 4, 1904. Warkworth Castle from Mill Walk [Northumberland] Built in the 12th century, it is now a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, managed by English Heritage. To: Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings. Cornhill on Tweed. “We will not be until Saturday as we intend going to Wark first. from I.B. [Ina Bruce], 2 Victoria Terrace, Alnwick. Postmarked Alnwick, 9:15 pm, May 17, 1904. The Village, Stamfordham [Northumberland] [Copyright W.A. Philipson]
Teviot Bridge, Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland. Built in 1795 by William Elliot. Has been a Category A, listed building, since 1971. Card published by A. MacGregor, Kelso.
Pallinsburn House, Coldstream [Berwickshire] Valentines Series
Ben Lomond from Luss (village), Scottish Highlands
Sprouston looking South. Sprouston is two miles north-east of Kelso. [Published by A. Macgregor, Kelso]
“With best wishes for a very Happy Christmas. M.J.S. ” This card is from Mary Jane Short (1871-1926), a first cousin of Isabella Brownlee’s mother, Margaret Allan (1853-1897). Mary Jane worked as a housekeeper for her uncle George Short (abt 1835-1925) at Pauperhaugh, Northumberland, in the registration district of Rothbury. George Short worked as an estate baliff.
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POSTED SEPT 21, 2020 – CARDS TO BELLA BROWNLEES in 1905 – Scans 900-919
Sprouston Church, Sprouston, Roxburghshire, Scotland. Built in 1773, 2 miles from Kelso.
Front: Sprouston Church. Back: To: Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed. “Will be down tomorrow. ? is going to drive me down all the way. So ? won’t need to come to meet me. Hope it will be fine. Very showery today. With Love from Bessie. Postmark: Kelso 6:15 pm April 14, 1905.
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