Seven years ago I was rummaging in the loft of my great grandfather’s old house in the south of France when I discovered a box of postcards, ninety of them in total, like the one above, all depicting images of the 1910 Great Flood of Paris.
While not in great condition, and certainly not unique, I thought I should do something with them. It’s taken seven years to act on that impulse, and here is the result. I’ve had the postcards scanned and then I’ve posted them to an online map of Paris. Click on any of the pins and you can see a photo of the flood from that location. Click on the URL below each picture and it will take you to the Flickr gallery I’ve created of these images.
The reason, I think, that the postcards were in the house in the first place is that I think my great grandfather saw himself as a historian and a bit of an archivist. It is unlikely that he collected the postcards himself: he would have been seven at the time and it would be at least another five years until he left his farming community – although he did end up running a bookshop in one of the areas flooded. It is more likely that he picked up a job lot of them at a flea market and recognising the significance of the event, thought they were worth keeping. In these days of the internet I don’t have the feeling that people do that sort of thing so much. But I’m glad that he did, because today I am able to publish online a load of photos that I haven’t seen elsewhere on the web, and hopefully others will find them useful.
Below are a few of my favourites. Be sure not to miss the polar bears.