Postcards from the East Neuk’s past

Jim Barclay from Kirkcaldy who has amassed a huge collection of postcards of Fife over 30 years
Jim Barclay from Kirkcaldy who has amassed a huge collection of postcards of Fife over 30 years

When Jim Barclay goes on holiday he rarely sends postcards, he’s more likely to buy them to add to his collection.

Jim (71), who grew up in the East Neuk, is a deltiologist – a collector of postcards – and his hobby has spanned 30 years during which he has amassed over 650 old, and some quite rare cards which, together form a comprehensive record of the social history of the Neuk, and Kirkcaldy, where he now lives with wife Rena.

Shore Street, Anstruther

Shore Street, Anstruther

Jim’s interest in postcards began through a friend who had been collecting postcards of his home town in Devon.

“We went to visit and he showed me his collection which I found fascinating because of all the social history it contained, and I started collecting from then,” he said.

Jim gets his postcards through contacts, in antique shops and at collector’s fairs and now has three large albums full, ranging from the late 1800s through to the 1960s.

In an album full of scenes from Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny, you can find children playing on the shore in the early 20th century, and even a photograph of the crowds at King George V’s proclamation on May 12, 1910.

Crowd gathers for proclamation of King George V on May 12, 1910

Crowd gathers for proclamation of King George V on May 12, 1910

And he has a very special one showing himself as a boy fishing for crabs from the end of the pier at Cellardyke harbour during the 1950s, with his mum and dad watching him.

Jim explained: “I love seeing the changing landscapes of towns like Kirkcaldy and how they’ve grown over the years,” he said.

“My collecting has tailed off over the past two or three years as other things in my life have taken precedence, but I still enjoy browsing through boxes of postcards in antique shops to see if anything catches my eye.

“Some of my favourites come from the East Neuk where I grew up, and I have some stunning early postcards where the standard of photography is outstanding.

Harbour, Anstruther

Harbour, Anstruther

“One of my favourites shows an old sailing ship in Anstruther harbour at the turn of the century which, you would think, had been taken yesterday.

“I used to be able to pick them up for 50 pence or £1, but it’s more expensive now.”

Croma House at Cellardyke

Croma House at Cellardyke

Lighthouse on Isle of May

Lighthouse on Isle of May

West Pier, Anstruther

West Pier, Anstruther

Beside the seaside at Anstruther

Beside the seaside at Anstruther