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Ramsey Retailer In Spot of Bother Over Saucy Postcards

Posted on 18.06.2018

We were recently contacted by iMuseum user Dr Anthony Manning, who uncovered his family history using Newspapers Online. Dr Manning’s research focused on the Mills family, who owned a series of businesses in Ramsey. The last of these was the Joke Shop on Ramsey’s West Quay which closed its doors for the final time in 2018.

Dr Manning says:

“My interest in family history was first piqued earlier this year when the family’s business,  which was first established in Ramsey by my grandparents in the late 1940s, finally closed and my uncle, who inherited the business, began his well-earned retirement.

My Grandparents, Leonard and Ada Mills moved to the Isle of Man in 1949 and first started a business in Dale street Ramsey, selling souvenirs and toys. This later diversified into a newsagent and a lending library. Business thrived and  another shop was soon opened on Ramsey’s south promenade. Later, when the original shop and family home in Dale street had to be demolished due to the South Ramsey ‘developments’ in the 60s, the family moved to premises in West Quay in what, since then, has been both affectionately and widely-known as ‘the Joke Shop’.

When searching through the Newspapers Online archive for articles linked to my family and their range of businesses, I found a number of references to relatives and happenings in and around Ramsey. The ones which particularly caught my eye related to a spot of bother that my grandfather found himself in in 1957.

Postcard disapproved by the Isle of Man Censoring Committee, 17 May 1957, archive ref: MS 09669 

 

In 1957 The Mills family hadn’t yet moved to the Joke Shop on the West Quay, but my grandparents shops were already well known as good place to buy seaside saucy postcards, along with a wide range of holiday souvenirs, suitable for the whole family. The availability of these postcards, with their cheeky double-entendres was clearly a tourist attraction and my Aunty Joyce remembers how many visitors made a beeline to their shops, with this particular purchase in mind.

Postcard from Dr Anthony Manning’s family collection

 

However, in 1957, unbeknownst to my grandfather, who was enjoying the business generated by his postcard stock, his suppliers had unhelpfully failed to inform him of a critical fact. The popular postcards which he was selling had not been approved by the infamous Postcard Censoring Committee, which was first established as a result of the Postcard Censorship Act of 1933.

Postcard disapproved by the Isle of Man Censoring Committee, 17 May 1957, archive ref: MS 09669  

 

The result was a well-reported fine. In a range of local newspapers. Whilst this might not have been good for reputation or business at the time, it’s clear that it didn’t harm my grandparents businesses in the long run as the Joke Shop on Ramsey’s West Quay thrived for many years until it closed, just a few months ago.

Postcard disapproved by the Isle of Man Censoring Committee, 17 May 1957, archive ref: MS 09669 

 

The story also gives new meaning to a set of framed postcards that have hung on my Aunt’s wall ever since I can remember.”

Read all about it in this 1957 newspaper article from the Ramsey Courier. Find out more about the archives of the Postcard Censoring Committee at Archives Hub and on iMuseum.

Thanks to Dr Manning for getting in touch with this delightful example of what can be uncovered on iMuseum.

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