THE largest disaster in Bournemouth’s tram history took place on May 1, 1908.

A tram travelling down Poole Hill failed to negotiate a bend and crashed over the embankment and into the pleasure gardens off Avenue Road, which was just below where the multi-story car park is today.

At the time it was the most serious incident of its type in England.

Seven passengers were killed in the crash and 26 others injured. The driver William Wilton, though seriously injured, assisted in rescuing the passengers.

The drama and scale of the accident led to it being a widely publicised event.

Now almost 110 years later a collection of five postcards depicting the disaster are being auctioned off here in Dorset.

Dukes Auctioneers, which is based in Dorchester, will be auctioning the collection in their Toy and Collector’s Auction next month.

Auctioneer Phillip Traves said: “The five postcards we have of the tram disaster of 1908 are in excellent condition and show differing views of the incident.

“My grandfather Douglas Traves also happens to be an eyewitness to the event.

“He was six-years-old at the time and was living above ‘Cullens’ grocery which his father ran in the Triangle, next to The Branksome Arms.

“He remembered the screeching and unbelievable noise of the tram as it sped by, as the brakes had already failed by then and it was picking up considerable speed.”

The postcards are expected to sell in the region of £100.

And while some people may see postcards depicting a disaster which led to the deaths of seven people as macabre - it was in fact the norm during the early 20th century.

During that period postcards recorded all sorts of local events and subject matter ranged from celebrities, comic scenes, and local and national news.

In the short period of the twentieth century before the war there were lots of postmen, so sending was quick and efficient, and postcards were scene to add a modern edge to communication.

Research has also shown that people used postcards for quick, informal messages – in contrast to the longer formality required from a letter.

For more details about the auction call Duke’s Auctioneers on 01305 265080.