Travel Through The Ages

There’s something to be said about travelling. Unlike in the past, in less than a few hours airborne it’s possible to discover new destinations, experience and absorb unique cultures and be re-inspired by an infusion of antiquity. In the words of the late British writer Aldous Huxley, “travelling is a besetting vice,” allowing us to escape the norm in hope of exploring pastures new, irrevocably shaping our outlook on what it means to ‘discover’.

Woman with suitcases smythson travel

When air travel emerged post World War II, a surplus of aeronautical technology and ex-military pilots allowed holiday-goers to discover new locations in record time. Rail travel was revolutionised, and it became easier for people to discover and explore – cue the enticing era that catalysed The Golden Age. During this time Frank Smythson opened his second shop on Bond Street, and as the business increased, larger premises were needed as travellers flocked to Smythson to purchase their luxury travel accessories. A purveyor of leather travel goods since the 1900s, the 1950s onwards saw Smythson receive increasing interest and custom from abroad as travel became more popular.

Smythson at No.54 Bond Street, 1932-1988 Smythson at No.54 Bond Street, 1932-1988

What once was imagined was now a reality for many explorers, and travel rapidly became fashionable. On numerous flights from London to Europe during this epoch, postcards were distributed on board with photos of the aircraft displayed on the front. With no in-flight entertainment, during their flight passengers would write on these cards to loved ones back home, describing the plane journey towards their destination. Postcards in iconic cities also became increasingly popular, and many collected a selection to take back on their return.

Vintage postcards from Paris and Venice Vintage postcards from Paris and Venice

Smythson 'Bon Voyage' cards, 1908, 1898
Smythson ‘Bon Voyage’ cards, 1908, 1898

As travel became more prevalent, the demand for luxury accessories grew rapidly. Embracing the expanding market, Smythson continued to produce goods for the luxe traveller. Still adhering to the meticulous attention to detail that Frank Smythson himself practised, Smythson’s dedication to creating luxury travel goods remains the same today, with an endless list of leather accessories, diaries and stationery for the travelling connoisseur. Why fix something that isn’t broken? And as Oscar Wilde once wrote; “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Smythson spring summer travel collections
Smythson spring summer travel collections

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