Uncovering Bristol’s past – two case studies from the Vaughan postcard collection

I’m going to present a couple of postcards which have already been researched and uploaded onto Know Your Place to illustrate some the different ways that you can go about your research.

Postcard 1 43207-4-004

Fishponds, BRO 43207-4-004

This first postcard was taken in Fishponds, on the junction of Fishponds Road and New Station Road. Note the circular building on the right hand side which is the tram terminus.






If we first look at the tram station, we can clearly see it labelled on Know Your Place website, on the 1900’s Epoch 2 map. However by the time of the 1946 aerial photo it no longer appears to be there.




BRO 43207-4-004

BRO 43207-4-004


If we turn over the postcard we can see it has been written on the back. Although the writing itself is simply a nice letter, and doesn’t give you any information about Bristol, you can still glean some details. For example you can see the address of the writer – 70 Causeway which is in Fishponds. The initials of the writer are E.A.B. You can also see the name of the publishing company – Fred Viner in Weston super Mare.

So, if we think the postcard is probably written sometime between 1900 and 1946, due to the tram depot in the picture, we can consult the trade directories to track down who lived at 70 Causeway.

Trade directories are like the equivalent of today’s Yellow Pages and can be viewed in the Record Office search room and central library as well as online.





If we look at the alphabetical listing of Kelly’s Directory from 1914 online, we can see that Isaac Daniel Breddy lived at 70 Causeway, Fishponds.







A search on Ancestry finds that in the 1901 census an Isaac Breddy is married to Mary J Breddy and they have 4 children, including Elsie Alice Breddy – who could be the EAB from the postcard.

By the 1911 census they have moved to 70 Lodge Causeway, Fishponds. Isaacs’s middle name is different in earlier records, but cross referencing with later records about Elsie it does appear to be the same Isaac.

Another search through Ancestry shows that Elsie has married Arthur Jarrett in 1923, so we can deduce that the photo was probably taken, and must have been sent, between 1911 and 1923 when Elsie lived at 70 Causeway.





BRO 44197-ph-1



A Google search for the Jarrett family found some pictures of Elsie and her husband Arthur, held here at the Bristol Record Office!






BRO 43207-35-1-066

This second example illustrates how you can use the Trade Directories, supplemented with other research about items within the picture, to date a postcard.

By looking at the Trade Directories, the researcher has managed to work out roughly when the shop started to trade, how the location has moved, and also how the business has expanded over the years.


This is a photo from Wright’s Trade Directory of 1910 showing Dunkley at 167 East Street.

So as you can see there are many different ways that you can research the collection, and we are really looking forward to hearing all about our volunteer’s  findings!





With thanks to the Bristol Record Office for letting us use their collections in this blog post.