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November 21, 2022

40 Vintage Photos Capture People at the Seaside in the First Half of the 20th Century

People in the 1930s, particularly as the Depression made other activities more expensive, began to see the beach as a pleasurable and affordable place to visit, with movements against any more socially conservative attempts to prohibit the mixing of sexes in using the beach.

People at the seaside from between the 1920s and 1950s

The 1920s had begun to loosen swimwear rules for women as well, where it became more acceptable for women to expose themselves somewhat more than they could publicly in the 1800s. However, arrests were still common through the 1920s and early 1930s for indecency even when women and men wore long, by modern standards, single-piece swimsuits.

Given the relatively lax attitudes in mainland Europe towards public swimming and particularly women swimming and having relatively less clothing, it might not be surprising that in 1946 the bikini made its public debut in France. Throughout the 1950s, continental Europe began to embrace the bikini, although there was resistance by the Catholic church, with the Pope calling the bikini and some other swimwear as sinful.

Here below is a set of vintage photos from Vintage Cars & People that shows people at the seaside from between the 1920s and 1950s.

A young lady in a light-colored dress posing on a beach on an overcast day. Next to her in the sand, a handbag, a book, and a cloche hat can be seen, circa 1925

A company of six posing with a 1926 Studebaker Phaeton on a beach in wintertime, December 9, 1927

Three fashionable ladies and a freckled boy in a sailor suit posing at the seaside. In the background, the breach is covered with typical German beach chairs (Strandkörbe), 1928

Two cheerful ladies posing with a parasol on a wooden pier overlooking the Baltic Sea, 1928

A fashionable lady carrying a lace parasol and her daughter, holding a doll in her arm, posing on a seaside boulevard in summertime, circa 1930s

Two cheerful ladies strolling along the pier at Llandudno, Wales, circa 1930s

Two cheerful young ladies posing on a sandy beach, suntan in progress. A couple of typical German beach chairs (Strandkörbe) can be seen in the background, circa 1930s

A seaside promenade bustling with an elegant crowd on a sunny day. The location is Place Albert in the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke. The hotels in the right of the picture are named "Carlton" and "Grand Hotel Belle Vue", circa 1932

A fashionable lady and her daughter posing in front of a distinctive Art déco building in summertime. An elegant two-tone convertible can be seen parked in the street behind them, circa 1935

A group of middle-class holidaymakers posing at the seaside. In the centre of the photo, three cheerful teenage girls in summer dresses and their father, wearing a white shirt and a sweater vest, can be seen, circa 1935

A stylish couple posing next to an elaborate lamp post at the waterfront, circa 1935

Six members of a British middle-class family posing at the seaside, circa 1935

Two fashionable ladies strolling along a seafront promenade on a sunny summer's day. This wonderful holiday shot was taken on the German North Sea island of Borkum, circa 1935

Two ladies and a fellow with a fedora hat posing on the running board of a 1935 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe Sedan in late afternoon sunshine, circa 1936

A company of four well-to-do ladies posing on a promenade overlooking the sea. The words "Maisie, May, Jean, Netta – Douglas Head. August 1937" are handwritten on reverse, August 1937

A bashful young lady in a two-piece swimsuit posing on a beach. A typical German beach chair (Strandkorb) can be seen behind her, circa 1938

A blonde lady posing on a beach in summertime. She is wearing a polka dot top and slacks with sewn-in creases, circa 1938

Two cheerful young ladies enjoying a day at the seaside. A typical German beach chair (Strandkorb) can be seen on the right-hand side of the picture, circa 1938

Two cheerful young ladies posing on a landing stage on a blustery summer's day. The photo was taken on the German North Sea island of Baltrum by a family from the city of Breslau, circa 1938

Two ladies and two children posing on a landing stage. Originally the photograph comes from the city of Breslau, today known by its Polish name of Wroclaw, circa 1938

Three young American women posing on a bench at the seaside. They are dressed in traditional Spanish lace Mantillas, 1941

A young lady in a so-called Monokini swimsuit posing on the beach. The print is dated "1948" on reverse, 1948

A young lady in two-piece swimsuit enjoying a day at the seaside. A row of parked cars can be seen in the background. The print is marked "JUN 8 1948, Lane-Liggett Drug Stores, Foto Dept." on reverse, June 1948

Three cheerful ladies posing on a sunny beach in summertime, circa 1948

Two young ladies in white swimsuits enjoying a day at the seaside, circa 1948

A platinum-blonde lady in a one-piece swimsuit posing on a sunny beach. A row of parked cars and storefronts reading "Ocean Front Market" and "Newport Beach Pharmacy" can be seen in the background, circa 1949

A blonde girl posing in the seat of a pedal tricycle on a beach in midday sunshine. The following words in French are handwritten on reverse "1950 – Plage de Perros-Guirec – Bretagne", 1950

A curly-haired lady dressed in tartan check trousers posing with a 1949 Oldsmobile 88 4-Door Sedan in late afternoon sunshine. The photo was taken on a beach with the ocean visible in the background, circa 1952

A mother and her daughter posing with a Renault 4 CV on a beach in bright midday sunshine. The car is registered in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, April 1952

A brunette lady in a one-piece swimsuit posing at the seaside, circa 1955

Three members of a middle-class family posing with a Morris Oxford in bright midday sunshine at the seaside. The English saloon is equipped with whitewall tires and registered with Brazilian number plates, circa 1955

A brunette lady posing on a beach in mid-day sunshine. The photo was probably taken in Italy, as a sign reading "Villa Laura" can be seen on one of the changing booths is the background, circa 1958

A young lady posing with a Lloyd LP 600 on a sandy beach in summertime. The photo was taken on the island of Sylt. The Lloyd is registered in the city of Hamburg, August 16, 1958

Two fashionable ladies posing in the reeds in summertime, circa 1958

A blonde lady in a two-piece swimsuit posing on a sunny beach, circa 1950s

A cheerful blonde lady in a two-piece swimsuit posing on a beach in summertime, circa 1950s

A dapper, pipe-smoking fellow posing in the dunes at the seaside, circa 1950s

A young brunette lady in a fashionable one-piece swimsuit posing at the seaside. A couple of typical German beach chairs (Strandkörbe) can be seen in the background, circa 1950s

Two cheerful ladies posing on a sandy beach on an overcast day. They are dressed in the charming fashion of the early 1950s

Two young ladies posing on a seaside promenade in the town of Cannes on the French Riviera. The famous Carlton Hotel with its distinctive domes can be seen in the distance, circa 1950s




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