Postcard arrives 100 years late

The postcard was addressed to a Miss Vida Doel Photo: ITV West

When Keith Potter went to check the mailbox at his farm in Christian Malford he was expecting the usual pile of bills and junk mail, but instead he uncovered a little piece of history. A postcard had been delivered, dating back to the Edwardian era.

The card is in remarkably good condition. It features a black and white photo on the front showing the fire brigade in Trowbridge with their horse-drawn carriages. A pencil message is written on the back from a mother to her daughter, giving her instructions to take a pony and meet her in Chippenham.

Keith said: "It wasn't addressed to us, it had Doel written on it, and I knew from my father whose been here since 1925 that it was the previous owner so we did a little bit of research and it turned out that this particular postcard was posted in 1912 which is quite a long time for first class delivery!"

There's a half penny stamp of King George the fifth on the card, and the postmark is dated January the 3rd 1912, almost 101 years ago.

"We saw the postman on the side of the road so I popped over and said: 'Did you deliver this on Monday?' And he told me he had. And I said, 'Where did you get it from?' He said it was in his mail bag and said 'I hope I don't get in trouble' and I said, 'No I just wanted to know where it came from because it's quite an old photograph as you can see.'"

It remains a mystery as to why it took so long for the card to be delivered but it's thought it may have got stuck behind a machine in a sorting office.

The card reads: "Dear V. If you hear nothing else from us you can bring the pony into Chippenham and wait for us by JW Daniels as we should come over the steps. Come in steady; get there by 4 o'clock Thursday. Love to all from mother."

In 1912 the Royal Mail was in its heyday. People would have used the service much like they use the telephone today. A card like this posted in the morning would be expected to arrive by teatime the same day.

Keith has since discovered the Doel family lived at Paradise Farm between 1907 and 1914. Their daughter Vida would have been 12 when the card was sent - but it's unlikely she ever got the message.