Saturday, February 16, 2013

Anti-Home Rule Postcards (1912-1914) #1

This is a selection of postcards created by Belfast printers to capitalise on and promote the anti-Home Rule fervour that caught on in much of what is now Northern Ireland directly after the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill by the British Parliament in 1912. While the Bill was passed by the House Of Commons, the House Of Lords repeatedly blocked it and by the time the Lords was overruled the Great War had made the legislation moot. Some of the postcards clearly come out against any measure of Home Rule but many of them espouse the continued political union between the province of Ulster and Britain (England then often used interchangeably with the term). At least one of the postcards features the partition of Ireland including the whole of Ulster, which of course was not to be. The postcards vary from the humorous to the pompous, from lovely draughtsmanship to amateurish scrawls. My favourites include the rather kitsch No Home Rule one with the male personifications of each country of the United Kingdom, and Belfast and Carrickfergus under Home Rule. Another notable one is the Home Rule Parliament, College Green, 1915 one which includes a distinctly 19th century portrayal of bellicose Irish Catholics. Although political postcards of this type don't really exist anymore much of the same iconography used in these postcards can be seen today in murals in Unionist/Loyalist areas all throughout Northern Ireland. Indeed, a minor industry has sprung up around bringing tourists to view political murals from both communities in Belfast and elsewhere, but more on that in another post.

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