Posted by: MummyTravels | Mar 9, 2012

Sauce at the seaside – Isle of Wight

Could I get a pushchair into the cosy confines of the Donald McGill postcard museum? Probably not. And would I fancy explaining the double entendres to a curious child? Definitely, no. But with only a bump in tow, it’s a great place to snigger away an hour or so.

Tongue firmly in cheek, with lashings of sauce – along with buckets and spades and donkey rides, the classic cheeky English postcard is one of the traditions of the seaside. And one of the geniuses behind them is Donald McGill, whose work is now on display at the dedicated museum on the Isle of Wight.

The artist, who created over 12,000 comic artworks postcards from 1904 until his death in 1962, has ended up chronicled events, from suffragettes to war, and changing attitudes over the decades.

But while visitors today might smirk knowingly at the innuendo, the authorities at the time weren’t always so well-disposed, and the museum also details his battles with the censors, including his prosecution under the 1857 Obscenity Act during the 1950s. With a display asking people to guess which postcards sparked the censor’s ire, it’s surprising to see exactly what fell foul – and what passed unnoticed.

It may not be big, tucked away on hilly Union Street in Ryde, but this fascinating collection proves great things come in small packages – whatever some of McGill’s postcards might suggest!


Declaration: My visit was arranged with Tourism South-East


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