by Melvyn Gallagher
The British Post Office gave permission for the first commercial use of full sized picture postcards on November 1st, 1900 - the Anglo-Boar War breaking out only twenty days later. As such the pro British propaganda value of postcards was fully exploited here for the first time as it was too by the Boers and their Allies in France and Germany.
Picture postcards were the latest technology taken up by all the public, much like E-Mails and Facebook today - and costing only ½ d for inland postage they were cheap too. Many of the anti-British postcards published abroad were very crude and rude
Dutch anti-British propaganda card
even by today’s standards, mocking Queen Victoria, the British forces and their Leaders.
British cards were much more conservative, illustrating battle sites and portraits of leaders such as B-P, the latter usually being sold in sets. At this time printing techniques and inks were being improved as well as allowing more and better quality cards to be produced.
The three main sieges of the war, at Mafeking, Kimberley and Ladysmith, were quickly exploited by postcard publishers, many cruder examples being hurriedly produced in South Africa and the ever growing popularity of B-P, both during and after the Mafeking siege resulted in many postcards showing his portrait together with patriotic sentiments.
One interesting locally produced postcard posted at Ladysmith during their siege was posted there on February 2nd, 1900 - the writer stating “I post it today. Goodness knows when it will really leave”. The siege ended on February 28th and the card bears an arrival postmark at Durban on March 3rd. The frustrated writer goes on to say “No Relief yet. We want Baden-Powell here. He has some energy. Ours has gone.”
Above:- Card from Ladysmith during Below:- Contemporary British card for Mafeking