From Cork to Christiania: A Postcard

Yesterday in Oslo, myself and herself took a look at the Salgshallen brukthandel (literally the used shop) on Storgata. A veritable Aladdin’s cave of old records, postcards, stamps and books – too many to work through in a single sitting – I quickly made use of the system laid out by the shops owner to take a look at the things that interested me most: chiefly, postcards related to sport and postcards related to places I knew. Rifling through the stacks, I came across several from Prague, and also a handful from Dublin and Cork. The Cork ones were two views of King’s Street (now, of course, MacCurtain Street), the view from Donovan’s Bridge, better known as the Shaky Bridge, and one which showed the opulent houses of Sunday’s Well, including the well-known pink house that runs along the river bank.

The postcard is dated 27th May 1905, and was addressed to Nicoline Bjørnstad who lived at No.9 Inkognito Terrasse in Christiania (now Oslo). The building at No. 9 Inkognito Terrasse, a beautiful redbrick villa is now home to a Christian mission.

No.9 Inkognito Terrasse as it looked in 1910. Photo: Oslo Museum.

The note on the card is written on the front, with just the address across the back as you can see in the scans below.

The postcard itself is part of the “Emerald Series, Printed in Ireland”. A little disappointingly, the actual stamp has been removed – presumably by some avid philatelist before it ended up in the brukthandel, and their use for it had evaporated. Oddly enough, the card says on the back that it is “For INLAND Postage only”, although clearly is was perfectly possible to use it abroad as well.



The front of the card contains a message from what looks like someone signing off as Dr. Emil, but it is difficult to say for certain. The handwriting is not very clear on the card, but seems to suggest that they will stay in Cork for a long time. It also mentions Falmouth in England where perhaps they were going next on a steamer. Whoever wrote the card, and whoever Nicoline Bjørnstad was, they were not resident at Inkognito Terrasse 9 for many more years. The 1910 Census for Norway shows Adolph Wendel, originally from Iceland, living there with his Christiania-born wife, Esther.

Intriguingly there are a great many photographs of the interior of Inkognito Terrasse 9, on the Oslo Museum website with some showing people inside them. The photos are dated to ca. 1910, so they are most likely members of the Wendel family and not the two people in the postcard exchange. These photos offer an extraordinary glimpse inside the building in its pomp showing tea parties, music playing, and plenty more life and activity:

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