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Greetings Cards

There are over two thousand greetings cards in the Strangers’ Hall collections, ranging from the most delicate hand-made Victorian Valentines to mass-produced Christmas cards of the 1980s.

Greetings Cards and the Penny Post

Christmas card, 1886Before 1840, the cost of sending a letter varied depending on how far it was going and how many sheets of paper there were. People often wrote both ways across the paper to save money. Letters and cards were only delivered to houses in big towns, and the postage was paid by the person who received the letter. This made deliveries slow, as the postman had to knock on the door and collect money. Sometimes people wouldn’t or couldn’t pay.

In 1840 Rowland Hill introduced a new postal system, based on weight. People could now send a letter or card anywhere in the country for just one penny. The sender paid for the postage by buying a stamp and sticking it on the letter. This made it cheaper to send greetings cards, and the idea soon caught on and remained popular throughout Victorian times.