Postcards of St Helena

Old…and older

Judge: Did you or did you not sleep with this woman? Co-respondent: Not a wink, my lord!
Postcard by Donald McGill


St Helena has never had a large tourist industry, but it has always had plenty of postcards

The following is a collection of Postcards of St Helena, from various sources. As much information as we have been able to ascertain is provided with each.

If you can help us further identify and/or date any of these postcards, please contact us. You may also be interested in our Postage Stamps page.

Below: JamestownNapoleonJacob’s LadderSandy BayBoer PoWsHeart Shaped WaterfallGeneral2011 SetPostcard CollectorsRead More



Jacob’s Ladder

Sandy Bay

Boer PoWs

Heart Shaped Waterfall


2011 Set

Produced by Ed Thorpe and locally printed with Tourist Office approval.

Postcard Collectors

As far as we know there are no postcard collectors or groups on St Helena (if you know otherwise please contact us). The Museum of St Helena does sell current postcards; please contact them for details.

We regret that Saint Helena Island Info does not have the resources to help with postcard exchanges.

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Article: Just by Chance

By Nick Hewes, published in the St Helena Independent 24th February 2006{9}

Read, if you will, of a strange tale of the most unlikely coincidence. It concerns a postcard a friend in Yorkshire gave me about a week before my journey to St Helena, in September 2004. He’d gone to an antiques fair one weekend, and had found a postcard of the old RMS St Helena on one of the stalls. It was dated 1985, and had been sent from Cape Town to an address in Taunton, Somerset. After my friend gave me the card, I used it as a bookmark for a few weeks.

The first RMS St Helena
The first RMS St Helena

Then, having made the journey to St Helena on the new RMS, we moved up to Piccolo Hill, and the card was glued to the wall in a desperate attempt to brighten up the place. One day we were visited by the former Captain of the RMS, Bob Wyatt (who we’d got to know during the long voyage from England). Upon seeing the card, he said, that’s my old ship! and promptly took the card off the wall to see who’d written it. It turned out that he actually knew the lady who had sent the card two decades previously. Strangely enough, she had travelled with us for part of the voyage to St Helena, having joined the ship on Ascension Island after flying out from Brize Norton. Sadly, her father had recently passed away, and she was sailing home to attend his funeral.

Now I’m no mathematician, but this does seem to be a crazy coincidence. Firstly, how did a postcard sent from Africa to someone in Taunton in 1985 end up, not being thrown into the bin, but instead transported 300 miles away to East Yorkshire, to be bought by someone browsing on a Saturday afternoon 20 years later? That in itself has long odds against it. What is the probability though, that the lady who sent the card 20 years previously, who has resided in Somerset ever since, would be travelling back home on the same ship as an unknown stranger who was using that very postcard to mark the page of the book he was reading? Another odd fact is that very few visitors to our house on Piccolo Hill would have had the temerity to have taken the card off the wall, as Bob Wyatt did, for the simple reason that he was once the ship’s captain, and therefore had a unique and special interest; in which case, this bizarre sequence of coincidences would have gone unnoticed for ever and ever.

The latest twist, which I discovered two weeks ago (and which lengthens the odds still further), is that my next-door-neighbour is the sister of the lady who sent the card.

If you’d read this kind of thing in a novel by Charles Dickens, you might put it down to the author’s lively poetic imagination. The fact that it really has happened though, proves that truth can occasionally be stranger than fiction.

(Officially the world’s best selling postcard, at over 6 million{10}.)

{a} St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society (‘SHATPS’){b} George P Reynolds{c} St Helena Arts & Crafts{d} Ed Thorpe

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{1} Based on the vehicles, plus no spire on St. James’ Church.{2} We don’t understand what this image is intended to portray. It seems to be an attempt to present the man as a quiet, fatherly figure - much at odds with his actual activities.{3} Central image is the arrival of the La Belle-Poule to collect Napoleon’s body.{4} Also shows the Napoleonic Sites, making it a sort-of Exiles map.{5} Note the Flax spread out to dry (bottom right).{6} The desalination plant operated in the early 1900s.{7} St. Matthew’s was rebuilt to its current form during World War 1; this shows the older version.{8} Based on the vehicles.{9} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.{10} : Source Wikipedia.

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