A MAN who has been collecting postcards of his home city for the last four decades has published a book of images captured in Edwardian days.

The collection by Michael Richardson features images of Durham and its surrounding villages, the majority of which date from just after the turn of the last century.

The postcards come from the Gilesgate Archive, which was founded by Mr Richardson around 30 years ago.

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Featuring dozens of paintings of Durham Cathedral, as well as other recognisable part of the city, it has 180 illustrations of the old postcards.

He said: “As far as I’m aware it’s the first time a book of postcards has been published for Durham.

“In the past I’ve done so many books of general photos but I had this collection of coloured ones and I felt this was the best way to share.

“I’ve been collecting them since I was 14 and I’m always looking for new material. It’s surprising how many people throw things out. These cards are mostly from auctions and a lot of people have passed their collections to me because no-one in the family is interested. Over the years they have built up.”

Postcards were introduced to Britain in 1894 and the first two decades of the twentieth century were the golden age for the communication - with more than 2million being sent through the postal service every day at its peak.

Mr Richardson, who has published more than 20 books about Durham, added: “Every Edwardian family would have had a treasured album. There was a huge number of them being sent.

“I think the book will give people an opportunity to have their collection. In the past so many collections and archives are not accessible but by producing these books it makes it more accessible for everyone.

“I’ve had a lot of interest. There seems to be a surge of interest in local history and family history. More people are wanting to take it up as a hobby which is a big plus.”

The book, which is published by Amberley Publishing, is out later this month.

It features 180 illustrations, including many of the best known views of the city as well as some, including of the Framwellgate area, which are almost unrecognisable.

Many of the Francis Frith, Valentine, and Auty postcards were actually much older images that had been taken from their vast archives and reprinted as postcards.

Local photographers soon caught on to the trend and started to produce their own cards, mostly printed in small quantities, which are now the most sought after by collectors.

Among the artists to feature are Reginald P. Phillimore, from Manchester, who had a studio in North Berwick, George Parsons Norman, George Samuel Norman Crosse and Henry Bowser Wimbush.

Durham The Postcard Collection is published on November15 and is priced at £14.99.