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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 17:23 GMT
New future on cards for saucy scenes
Saucy postcards will be preserved
Rude postcards: the relics of a bygone era
By BBC North of England Correspondent John Thorne.

A new future appears on the cards for a Yorkshire company that became famous for its saucy seaside postcards depicting fat ladies, dumb blondes, mothers-in-law and hen-pecked husbands.

Bamforth and Co, designers of cheeky postcards since the 1880s, went bankrupt last year.

But a Leeds company called Fresh Faces has bought the remaining assets, including some original artwork and nearly 100,000 comic postcards featuring busty blondes or inadequate husbands.

Director Ian Wallis said: "It's a peculiar branch of British humour, a bit risqué, sexist perhaps and not politically correct.

The ruder the postcard, the more they sold
Saucy scenes: the cheekier the better

"But everyone has got a favourite, they are real fun and there's a new generation out there waiting to find these classic cards."

The Bamforth and Co factory in Holmfirth, west Yorkshire, closed 13 years ago.

At its height, sales of the mother-in-law put downs and the seaside double entendres topped 16 million a year.

One of the original Bamforth family, Derek Bamforth once explained the success of the cards.

'The more vulgar, the better'

He said: "We never publish anything obscene, we know where to draw the line.

"But the more vulgar the card, the better it sells."

As tastes changed, the British seaside holiday habit disappeared, and sales plummeted.

Now the company name and assets have been bought for an undisclosed figure and the nation's tea towels, mouse pads and posters had better look out for flood of seaside comic art.

Holmfirth already boasts a museum dedicated to its famous postcard manufacturer and thousands of tourists visit ever year.

The curator Peter Carr says: "They still give people a laugh.

There's no harm in it really, people just think it's a bit of fun."

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