Sun, Sea and Sand

Sun, Sea and Sand is about the history of the Great British Seaside Holiday. It is a new edition of our previous book "Sun, Fun and Crowds".

Sun, Sea and Sand - Synopsis

The inter-war period saw the annual holiday become part of the lives of large numbers of people for the first time. In the Edwardian age it had been a privilege enjoyed by the few, but by the end of the thirties, 15 million people were going away to the coast for a week or two.

This book explores all facets of the seaside holiday: where people went, and why; how they got there; where they stayed; what they wore; and what they did. We examine the appeal of Blackpool and its Pleasure Beach and Golden mile. One of its most bizarre attractions on the Golden Mile was Harold Davidson, the unfrocked Rector of Stiffkey. He allowed himself to be exhibited starving, in a barrel, to raise money for his appeal. We contrast Blackpool with other popular resorts such as Bournemouth and Brighton. We then discuss how more affluent people were able to escape the crowds and visit the more remote parts of Devon and Cornwall.

Increasing numbers of visitors in the inter-war years allowed town councils and private enterprise to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds (millions in today's money) on improving the resorts. We look at the development of lidos, piers, cinemas, hotels and the modernisation of the seafront itself. The lido or open air swimming pool was almost solely an inter-war phenomenon. Some magnificent pools were built in the era at most of the main holiday destinations.

Billy Butlin opened his first holiday camp, in Skegness in 1936. We examine the development of this kind of holiday and contrast it with the pioneer camps - where campers stayed in tents and shared the chores and the true spirit of camping.

This book contains a large number of contemporary photographs, postcards, posters and guidebook covers. We have complemented these with a selection of our own photographs showing how some seaside buildings appear today. Resorts featured in the photographs and illustrations include Bexhill-on-Sea, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Clacton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Margate, Morecambe, Newquay, Penzance, Prestatyn, Skegness, Torquay, Weston-super-Mare, and Worthing. Sun, Fun and Crowds is an invaluable source of information for anyone interested in the history of seaside holidays. For those who remember seaside holidays in the twenties and thirties we hope it will bring back many happy memories.

Reviews of "Sun, Fun and Crowds"

BBC History Magazine

"The 20 years between the wars was the English seaside's golden age. This profusely illustrated book is both a nostalgic feast and a serious sociological study..."

The Times

"Go to Sun, Fun and Crowds to see how 15 million were enjoying an annual break there (in the UK) by the 1930s. Until the rise of affordable foreign holidays, the British Seaside, in the sun, was where even the most conservative of suburban English folk would show their racier, bathing suited side"

Shifting Sands

"Sun, Fun and Crowds" was also used as a reference for "Shifting Sands - Design and the changing image of English Seaside Towns" published by English Heritage and CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment).