vintage, nostalgia and memories


June 21, 2017

20 Fascinating Vintage Photos of British Holidaymakers Frolicking by the Seaside from the Early 20th Century

Donkey rides for workhouse kids on a away day and smartly dressed men in suits mingling with women in modest swimming costumes. Striking images show sun worshippers lounging on the beach from the early 1900s right through to the 1930s. These fascinating pictures reveal how swimsuit styles, animals and health and safety on beach has changed.


The sun is out and people will flock to the coast during the Easter holidays. It has ever been thus. This set of nostalgic black and white photographs recall a innocent time of donkey rides and dodgems on the pier. Here a family holidays at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, 1915. (Photo: Mary Evans / John Maclellan)

The candid photos are showcased in a new book, Images of the Past: British Seaside, by Lucinda Gosling and published by Pen and Sword. This is a large family group on an outing to Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, in 1932. The men are in suits while the children are in summer dresses and shorts however one man has taken off his socks and shoes - his one concession to the warm weather. (Photo: Mary Evans / John Maclellan)

Butlin's holiday camps provided round-the-clock entertainment for residents in a self-contained site. But here's sometyhing you won't see today as animal rights have changed. Holiday makers pose with an obliging elephant at the camp in Filey, Yorks, in 1959. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Women's right shave moved on but still a staple today is the beauty contest. Who's the fairest of them all at Butlin's, Skegness in the 1930s? (Photo: Mary Evans / Pharcide)

Health and safety? That's a new thing. Three thoroughly modern girls in their swimming costumes go for a human pyramid while riding on Wilfred and Squeak, two donkeys, on the beach at Ramsgate, Kent in the 1920s. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Young tennis players rushing from the courts for lunch during a junior tennis tournament at Frinton-on-Sea, Essex in 1928. (Photo: Mary Evans / IMAGNO / Australian Archives)

Crowded beach at New Brighton, Wallasey, Merseyside, in late 1940s. The looming building in the background is the Tower Ballroom, without its tower (modelled on the Eiffel Tower as with Blackpool). It gradually decayed during the First World War and was dismantled in 1921. (Photo: Photo Union Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library)

Teeming sea front at Brighton, Sussex around 1950. A deckchair monitor in the foreground and a man with a religious banner makes the most of the crowds to spread his message. (Photo: Maurice Ambler / Mary Evans Picture Library)

Showing flesh and the latest fashions in Margate, 1930. Group of women in stylish beachwear - wide palazzo pants with vest or bikini tops - attracting the attention of onlookers as they saunter down the promenade in 1930. (Photo: Mary Evans / IMAGNO/Australian Archives)

Holiday-makers admiring a fantastic sand castle made by the family seated within its walls 1919. (Photo: Mary Evans / Pharcide)

Three ice cream fans on an unidentified beach, c.1930. Note the men in the background dressed in full suits. For working class day-trippers, their best suit would be their outfit of choice. Shorts and leisure wear were still the preserve of the well-off. (Photo: Mary Evans/ IMAGNO / Australian Archives)

Ball games on the beach in the 1920s. A family pose for a photograph on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare in front of the Grand Pier accompanied by a variety of beach toys: cricket bat and stumps, a racquet and ball, bucket and spades. Father smokes a pipe. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Children enjoying the Monte Carlo Rally electric car ride at Dreamland Amusement Park, Margate in 1938. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

A group of women campers about to participate in one of the myriad amusements put on at Butlin's - a wooden horse race at the Skegness camp, 1930s. (Photo: Mary Evans / Pharcide)

A children's church service on the sands at the seaside - possibly at Llandudno, North Wales, 1902. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

A party of adults and children from the Aston Union workhouse cottage homes on holiday in Rhyl, Wales. They are seated in a charabanc - an open-top coach - operated by White Rose Motors, in 1919. For underprivileged children, a seaside trip in a charabanc was the highlight of the year. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library / Peter Higginbottom Collection)

Cartwright's Great Wheel in Skegness, Lincolnshire. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Bathers at Bournemouth in 1927 form a very British (and hence a very orderly) queue as each await their turn on the water chute. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Children fish for shrimps in the rock pools on Hunstanton beach in Norfolk in 1905. (Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)

Beautifully elaborate bathing machines from a series of lantern slides entitled, Bygones. The bathing machines are clearly Victorian, but the swimwear worn by the women sunning themselves on their ledges suggest the photograph was taken some time later, around the 1920s. (Photo: Boswell Collection, Bexley Heritage Trust / Mary Evans Picture Library)


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