England's Seaside Resorts

Allan Brodie and Gary Winter
English Heritage, hardback, £24.99

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is an extensive and fascinating overview, which includes hundreds of beguiling prints and colour photographs of the many and diverse seaside resorts in England.

The book was compiled over a four-year period by the two authors, who are both English Heritage architectural historians. They conclude that, as a result of overseas travel increasingly superseding trips to the English coastal areas (which used to be the predominant means of holidaying in this country up until the 1970s) there is an increasing need for a structured programme of regeneration of England's seaside heritage.

Brodie and Winter point out that the preservation of these resorts is of crucial importance because, not only would it preserve the English seaside heritage but also boost its tourist economy by providing people with cheaper and more environmentally user-friendly locations to visit (i.e. not jetting off to hither and thither twice or three times a year).

The book delves into subject matters such as the earliest seaside resorts; transport and seaside holidays in the eighteenth century, trips to the seaside in Victorian England, seaside holidays in the twentieth century, a geography of the seafront, and industry and the harbour.

The architectural styles of seaside buildings are also covered, as well as the many forms of entertainment provided for visitors; and the rise of seaside lodgings (I failed to spot any jokes about bed & breakfast landladies!) holiday camps, caravan parks and hotels.

In the concluding part of this book, Brodie and Winter express the view that "...it is difficult to envisage a time when people in England did not go to the seaside, and it is inconceivable that the seaside will entirely lose its appeal....However, whatever challenges face the seaside resort in the future, it will always retain a special place in this island nation's affections."

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Comment left by james wood on 28th May, 2008 at 14:27
Blackpool is my favourite lancs place to visit,but is getting some very bad young people visiting for so called hen and stag nights,making it a bit unsettling for the elderly visitors

Comment left by Melody on 9th June, 2008 at 22:21
I visited cleathorpes and was impressed. I am a texan so that was kinda nice

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