"Montrose The Postcard Collection" by Tom Valentine does precisely what it says on the cover. Montrose lies midway between Aberdeen and Dundee, and is squeezed between a broad inland tidal basin and the shore of the North Sea. In a page and a half of introduction the author gives a brief but effective potted history of the town, and explains some of its more significant buildings and other features. The rest of the book comprises reproductions of old postcards, printed two to a page with each pair sharing a paragraph of highly informative and often fascinating caption.
The book is divided into a series of thematic chapters, comprising: streets; boats and fishing; events; bridges, buildings and monuments; sport; military; the beach and links; Ferryden and Usan; Hillside and Craigo; multiview and novelty postcards; and aerial views. Taken together the postcards in this collection recall a world which has largely been lost: sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. It is certainly possible to feel a pang of nostalgia for the beach scene shown on the book's cover, complete with lines of wheeled bathing huts intended to allow bathers to change and enter the sea with their modesty intact. It is also fascinating to see what a town without motor cars actually looked like (much emptier than the one we see today).
For us it is some of the almost marginal detail which we found most attractive. In 1913 the Royal Flying Corps established Britain's first military airfield on land on the north side of Montrose and the "military" chapter includes a number of images of those magnificent men in their flying machines including one (of what would become many) that crashed, killing its pilot, in this case on 27 May 1913. At the other end of town we were very taken with the images of the bridges over the mouth of the Montrose Basin. The first to feature was a suspension bridge built to replace a wooden predecessor in 1829, and the "New Bridge" that replaced it in 1931. This was itself replaced in 2005. This book is essential viewing for anyone who has connections to Montrose, or who simply wants to get the most out of a stay there.