Family History and Postcard Collecting


My postcard collecting relates mainly to images I find visually interesting, geographical scenes of areas associated with my family history, and other oddments I have picked up from time to time. Many of first group are probably still in copyright, so I haven't included any of those on this page.

My Family History

Chertsey Bridge Approaching Chertsey Bridge along Bridge Road I was born in Chertsey, Surrey, England (just off the M25) and lived the first 18 years of my life there in Paddocks Way.
St Peter's Church My sister continues to live in nearby Egham, where I went to school at Strodes Grammar School between 1970 and 1977 (photos of me age 13 and age 16). Strodes became a VIth form college in 1975, and is now an independent further education college.
Kidderpore Avenue, NW3: Westfield College After leaving Strodes, I took a degree in Computer Science at Westfield College between 1977 and 1980 (me at age 20). At the time, this was a separate college of the University of London, but is now amalgamated with Queen Mary College to form QMW.
Herne Bay Pier The Downs On moving from London in 1983, my wife and I made our home in Herne Bay, Kent, in the South East of England. Herne Bay is on the way to nowhere! The town's once-famous pier is now largely non-existent.

Parental Family History

The Broadway, Mitcham My mother was born in Mitcham, formerly in Surrey and now a part of London. She grew up in Church Road. Her grandfather, Henry Lewis MOUNT, was a councillor (including being chairman) and Justice of the Peace (JP) in Mitcham, and had a road there named after him. The MOUNT surname is quite common in my part of Kent, but so far I have not been able to link that side of the family to any locals. The earliest MOUNT ancestor I am aware of is Robert MOUNT, a saddler and harness maker working in Lewisham (then part of Kent) in the early 19th century. I have traced the LEWIS and LINDO sides of my mother's ancestors to Norfolk in the 18th century.
Hill Road, Wimbledon My father was born in Wimbledon, which is also part of London. He grew up in Coppermill Lane. During the Second World War he served with 92 Squadron RAF. His father was born in Manchester and before that the family was from Grantham Lincs. My paternal grandfather's mother was a BOCKING and I have quite a lot of information on her line, back to the 17th century.
My paternal grandmother's surname was DISS, and I have traced her family via Sawston in Cambs to Thurlow in Suffolk in the 19th century, where they link up with another DISS family tree that goes back to the early 18th century.

Family Surnames of Interest

The following is the full set of surnames currently of interest to me either on my own side or that of my wife.
Allen, Anns, Anslow, Archer of Eyam, Badger, Bailey, Barber, Barker of Hathersage, Barker, Barnes, Barrows, Bates, Beely, Bocking, Bradbury, Bradwall of Copledale, Brand, Brightmor, Buck, Burdekin, Burroughes, Button, Case, Cheetham, Clark, Coates, Cocker, Colton, Cooper, Croat, Dakin, Dawes, Dearnelly, Dewsbury, Diss, Durgan, Evans, Eyre, Fox, Freeman, Frost, Gardiner, Goldspink, Groves, Hall, Hallam, Hambelton, Hambleton, Harris, Hawsworth, Hickey, Highfield, Hill, Howard, Howe, Howson, Jeffrey, Jenkinson, Jennings, Johnson, King, Knights, Leech, Lewis, Lincoln, Lindo, Lindoe, Littleproud, Loose, Mallows, Middleton, Morton of Eyam, Morton, Moss, Mount, Mulligan, Murrey, Osborn Oxley, Page, Paskell, Peachey, Pearson, Plant, Plato, Poll, Pollard, Ratcliffe, Redfearn, Richardson, Riches, Robinson, Ryder, Sheldrake, Shirt, Silvester, Simpson, Smith, Spicer, Stacey, Stackacre, Stafford, Stringer, Sumner, Symonds, Thom, Thorns, Thorpe, Timperley of Great Hucklow, Towsley, Volant, Watts, Westoner, White, Williams, Winnings, Worselow, Wragg, Wright

Miscellaneous Postcards

Among the miscellaneous cards I have are a large number passed on to me by my father-in-law. He was given them by someone who had done a lot of travelling in the early years of the 20th century, and the cards are mostly geographical scenes of India, with little interesting period detail. Some of them, however, do fall into more interesting categories (such as railways) and I might scan a sample of these at a later date.
Phil May cartoon For me, the most interesting of the batch was a lone card by the cartoonist Phil May. He was a cartoonist for the satirical Punch magazine. The card I have is one of his for the Australian Bulletin magazine. The handwritten date on the front is Jan 9th 1905.
Die Vernichtung des Luftkreuzers Z II The broken airship in the picture to the left is an interesting image. Here is a description of the accident (in German). In 1910, the airship was torn from its moorings by strong winds and crashed at Weilburg. No one was hurt. You can find some airship history on the Zeppelin Ring.
Mr. Gustav W. Hamel Finally, I have one "early aviator" card of Gustav Hamel. The card is postmarked 12 JU 14. On this day ... says he made a double crossing of the English Channel in record time on 11th April 1913.

I am particularly grateful to Philip Powell, a descendant of Gustav Hamel, who sent me a considerable amount of biographical information on this man. I have reproduced it below, with his permission:

My Mother Elizabeth Anne Hamel was born at Hitchen, Herts. on 13th April 1923. Her father Fergus Hamel was a cousin of Gustav's father. Gustav's German-born father (also Gustav) had adopted British citizenship and served as the Royal Physician.

Mum talked about Gustav Hamel, how he had been a well-known aviator in the early days of powered flight before the First World War. His main exploit she said was being the pilot for the first ever air mail flight. She said he had been killed in a crash shortly before the war. The only record I saw of this was a picture postcard commemorating the air mail flight.

Much more information about Gustav Hamel relates to the early history of Hendon airfield where Claude Grahame-White was energetically developing and promoting flying.

'One of the first pilots who flew from Hendon during this period and who was soon to rival Grahame-White as Britains most dashing aviator, was Gustav Hamel, the Eton-educated son of the Royal Physician, with a penchant for large powerful Mercedes motor-cars and flying. He was twenty six years old when he learned to fly at the Bleriot school at Pau in 1910 and his first flight of note occurred on 24th March 1911 when he flew from Hendon to Brooklands in a record 58 minutes, after that his name was seldom out of the headlines'[i]

The exploit that he is best remembered for took place on Saturday 9th September 1911. Flying a Bleriot he covered the 21 miles between Hendon and Windsor in 10 minutes to deliver the first official airmail to the Postmaster General. Including a postcard he had written en-route.

Late in 1913, looping the loop was perfected and became a popular event during the many public displays. On January 2nd 1914, Hamel took Miss Trehawke Davis aloft to experience a loop, and she thus became the first woman in the world to do so.

Other references to Gustav Hamel help track the early days of powered flight and demonstrate the excitement their endeavours engendered at the time.

27th July 1912 The Hinkley Times reported;
'Mr Gustav Hamel, the famous aviator, brought his aeroplane to the Outwoods and gave a demonstration of powered flight. This would have been the first time that most Hinckley people had witnessed a motorised aeroplane.

'The aeroplane flew over Burbage and Sketchley. Many people in Mount Road saw the plane as it flew low over their heads. A mishap at the conclusion of the flight made any further flying that day impossible.'[ii]

Further reportage appears in the history of Hedon Airfield at Bradford, Yorkshire. As he was the first to fly from there on Friday 1st August 1913[iii]

Sadly he disappeared over the channel on 23rd May 1914 while returning from Paris in a new 80hp Morane-Saulnier monoplane he had just collected. At this time of high international tension, there was speculation that he might have been the victim of sabotage, but no trace was ever found and the story faded with his memory.

Gustav's contribution to flying did not end with his death, a postcript was the posthumous publication of a seminal co-authored book on flying.[iv]


I was also pleased to receive from its author a copy of the article, Gustav Hamel: Airmail Pioneer by Michael E. Hamel-Green, published in Aviation Quarterly 6:3, 1980, p224-259. Michael is a great nephew of Gustav Hamel and has written an excellent biographical piece with many illustrations.

Ralph Cooper also has a page on Gustav Hamel on his Early Birds of Aviation site.

Disclaimer: I have chosen images which, to the best of my knowledge, are out of copyright. Should this not be the case, I will be happy to withdraw any not falling into that category.
This document ( is maintained by: David Barnes (the anti-spam email address will need editing by you) to whom any comments and corrections should be addressed.
© David Barnes
Last Updated: 3rd May 2007
Created: 3rd January 2000