In 1905 someone (we don’t know who) sent a postcard to a lady living in Toft. The photograph on the card was taken looking north from the road that runs through the valley of Bourn Brook (now the B1046), and shows our church, St Michael and All Angels, at the centre. In front of it is Manor Farm and, to the left of centre, a row of cottages. In the foreground is the line of the old Cambridge to Oxford Railway line, which closed in 1967.
The cottages and outbuildings are no longer there, and we believe they succumbed to fire. One news report describes a fire that devastated one of the properties in January 1929. It is said that ‘only the iron framework and corrugated iron roofing’ remained, and ‘even the concrete slabs of the walls were levelled to the ground’. From this description, we can tell that the cottages were not made of solid brick and tile, which might have resisted the flames better.
You can read more about the fire, and see a close-up view of the cottages, in our book, The Book of Caldecote: The long slender thread, on pages 127 and 128. An electronic copy of the book is available by clicking the link on our website.
Postcards were the Facebook messages of their day. To send a note written on the back of a postcard from someone in one village to someone in the next village might have been quite common practice. The recipient would probably have received the card the same day, and maybe even sent a reply, who knows? Certainly, it was worth making and selling postcards of Caldecote, and although ephemeral in themselves, when picture postcards survive they can tell us more about how Caldecote looked in the past.