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July 29, 2013

18 Vintage Photographs Capture Daily Life at Beach Before the Bikini

Beach vacations started as early as the late 1800s after railroads became a viable source of transportation, according to Victoriana Magazine. Swimwear consisted of fully covered gowns and bloomers that revealed very little. Although the sun’s harmful UV rays were an unknown danger at the time, this conservative beachwear would have provided a good deal of protection.

By the early 1900s, beach resorts were becoming a popular destination. But water activities such as swimming and diving were a burden due to the bulky Victorian-style swimsuits, especially for the women, the magazine reports. Thus, by the 1920s, fitted swimwear that modestly conformed to the body became a part of beach fashion. Susan Sessions Rugh, an American history professor at Brigham Young University, points out that as the years passed, swimsuits became smaller and smaller.

Circa 1911: Bathers at Ostend in Belgium. (F J Mortimer/Getty Images)

August 1913: Bathers relax in the shallow sea water on Paris Plage. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

August 1913: Paddling on the Paris-Plage. (W. G. Phillips/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Circa 1900: Two women in swimwear amuse themselves by taking photographs. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

August 1919: Bathing belles paddling at Southend-on-Sea, Essex. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Circa 1911: A young woman emerges from her bathing machine dressed for the beach at Ostend, a Belgian city. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

August 1916: Bathers collecting seaweed on the beach at Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

August 1913: Holiday makers enjoy the beach, France. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

June 1913: Paddlers and bathers on the beach at Whitby, Yorkshire. (Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Getty Images)

Circa 1910: Young women play cricket on the beach at Swansea. (Chapman/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1910: Two young girls on Brighton beach, about to have a cigarette. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

August 1919: Bathing belles on the beach at Southend-on-Sea, Essex. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

August 1913: Reclining bathers in the water's edge on the beach at Le Touquet Paris-Page, northern France. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

1902: A French colored postcard of two bathing belles posing by a bathing hut on the beach. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1911: Eager bathers go for an early morning dip at Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1912: A seaside photographer taking a photograph of a crowd of mob-hatted bathing belles. (Keystone/Getty Images)

August 1913: Victorian bathing belles relax on the beach at Paris-Plage. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Circa 1900: A seaside party, with fishing nets and umbrellas, prepare for a day on the beach. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)




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