About Francis Frith and our Company
The Postcard Years
"Having a wonderful time - Wish you were here...!""
After Francis Frith’s death in 1898 his photographic record of Britain was continued into the 20th century by his sons and later a grandson. However, by 1902 the Post Office approved the use of postcards with a divided back so that the address and message could be on one face and a full-size illustration on the other. F Frith & Co were in the vanguard of postcard development, and from then on the company became postcard publishers, the introduction of which greatly increased the demand for photographs of scenic views, street scenes and architectural subjects. It is this production for which F Frith & Co is most commonly remembered nowadays; for much of the 20th century the Frith company was the market leader in this field.
A photographer’s small beach booth can be seen in the background, right, of this view – probably belonging to the photographer who took this shot.
By 1939 there was no one in the Frith family in a position to run the business, so Arthur Frederick Sergeant joined F Frith & Co as its managing director. He had a wealth of experience in the business, having started his own Lilywhite postcard company which he ran for many years before joining the Raphael Tuck postcard company as its managing director. After the Second World War Mr A F Sergeant was joined in the business by his two sons, Frederick and Trevor; they in turn became managing directors of the company on their father’s death in 1959 and continued to run it successfully.
This view shows an unbelievably empty stretch of the M1 motorway soon after it was opened on November 9th 1959. Many people found it something of a culture shock; the six glistening lanes of asphalt were viewed as a tourist attraction, and crowds of sightseers flocked to admire them on the Sunday after the opening – some of them even picnicked on the approach roads!
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