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Lilywhite/Frith numbering

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:51 pm
by ianatkinson
Hi everyone,

I'm new to to collecting postcards and I have a question someone may know the answer to?

I'm collecting just postcards of Garforth in Leeds where I live. There are some cards which are published by Lilywhite and others by Frith (I think one was bought out by the other at some point) which have a card number on the front.

All the cards for Garforth have 'GFH' and a number e.g. GFH2, it seems as though they came up with a 3 letter code for each different place (NWH for Norwich, PKN for Pocklington as two examples I just found) so any GFH ones will be Garforth I think.

For example I have records of cards GFH2, 3, 7, 15, 16, 22 for Lilywhite (these are from 1910s and 1920s) and GFH2, 3, 7, 40, 42, 44, 46 for Frith (1940s to 1960s). The 2, 3 and 7 are not the same card so I think each company must have started their own numbering.

The question is whether it can be assumed that all numbers in a series were issued? By which I mean for Lilywhite are there likely to be cards 1, 4-6, 8-14 and so on out there somewhere?

If so the highest number would give a good indication of where the gaps are.

Sorry if it's a daft question, I'm a bit OCD and I like to organise thing and arrange them neatly I would be good to know if I'm looking for things that exist or not to make a complete set over time.

I should have started this years ago really :)



Re: Lilywhite/Frith numbering

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:45 am
by eastlondonpostcard
Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of postcard collecting!

It is true that the postcard firms Lilywhite and Frith are interlinked. Arthur Frederick Sergeant began the firm Lilywhite Ltd c.1909 - and between the war years the firm produced many real photographic view, the numbers prefixed with letters standing for the town or local area.

Sadly his works in Halifax was burned down in 1931, destroying 1000s of photographic plates. Arthur Sergeant worked for Raphael Tuck for while in the 1930s before taking over Frith & Sons in 1939 where he stayed until his death in 1959.

A similar numbering system was adopted at that time. Frith & Co was sold in 1968 and went into liquidation in 1971. Rothman's of Pall Mall acquired some of the original glass plates from which postcards were made.

The 'Francis Frith Collection' was launched in 1975 and exists today. I would be worth checking their archive for missing numbers in your collection.

It is reasonable to assume that each company produced cards in a sequential order, so those missing numbers are out there somewhere!

best luck :)

Re: Lilywhite/Frith numbering

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:11 pm
by ianatkinson
I have some extra info on this in case anyone is interested.

I discovered that Ancestry have struck a deal with Frith to have their photo archives available to view so there are way more Frith photos on Ancestry than the Frith site.

Having looked through them the Garforth numbers for Frith run from 1-46 and I was able to view the whole set of them. As yet though I've only identified 7 actual postcards that are available of which I've managed to buy 4.

I contacted Frith to ask about this and they have confirmed that their photographers used to go off to a location and take a set of photos but only some of them were then turned into postcards. They don't have any records of which ones were or weren't published as they only hold the original prints not any actual postcards.

So it's unlikely that there are 46 actual Frith postcards of Garforth to collect but I do at least have the images for other bits of my research. I'll know more over time as new ones appear I suppose!

I'm not sure if it was the same practice with Lilywhite, the highest number I've seen from them is 22 and I've so far identified 9 cards of theirs.