Tolcarne Beach, Newquay, Cornwall


Newquay. Tolcarne Beach
Postmarked 1930
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd

Google Street View (approximate).

Tolcarne is the largest of four beaches that join up at low tide to create the mile of golden sand that Newquay is famous for. Sandwiched between Great Western and Lusty Glaze, Tolcarne is sheltered on three sides by tall cliffs. At low tide it’s possible to walk across from Great Western beach. At high, access is via a steep flight of steps cut into the cliff.
The Beach Guide

Newquay is a town on the north coast in Cornwall, in the south west of England. It is a civil parish, seaside resort, regional centre for aerospace industries, future spaceport and a fishing port on the North Atlantic coast of Cornwall, approximately 12 miles (19 km) north of Truro and 20 miles (32 km) west of Bodmin. The town is bounded to the south by the River Gannel and its associated salt marsh, and to the north-east by the Porth Valley. The western edge of the town meets the Atlantic at Fistral Bay. The town has been expanding inland (south) since the former fishing village of New Quay began to grow in the second half of the nineteenth century.
. . .
After the arrival of passenger trains in 1876, the village around the port of Newquay started to grow quickly. Several major hotels were built around the end of the 19th century, the first being the Great Western Hotel which opened in 1879 in Station Road, now Cliff Road. Other early hotels included the Victoria in East Street, the Atlantic and the Headland, while many smaller hotels were created around this period by converting large houses, originally built by wealthy visitors as holiday homes, particularly along Narrowcliff. Three churches were built early in the twentieth century, including the present day parish church of St Michael the Archangel, which was consecrated in 1911. Growth of the town eastwards soon reached the area around the railway station: Station Road became Cliff Road around 1930, and the houses beyond, along Narrowcliff, were also converted into hotels. Narrowcliff was known for a while as Narrowcliff Promenade, and then Narrowcliff Road. On some pre-war maps, it is spelt Narrowcliffe. At the time of the First World War the last buildings at the edge of the town were a little further along present-day Narrowcliff, including the Hotel Edgcumbe. Post-war development saw new houses and streets built in the Chester Road area, accompanied by ribbon development along the country lane which led to St Columb Minor, some 2 miles (3 km) away. This thoroughfare was modernised and named Henver Road, also some time in the 1930s. Development continued in this direction until the Second World War, by which time much of Henver Road had houses on both sides, with considerable infilling also taking place between there and the sea.
Wikipedia.

 

Ladies Bathing Place, Portrush, Co. Antrim


Ladies Bathing Place, Portrush
1930s, postmarked 1943
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

The Victorians discovered and extolled the health advantages of sea air and sea-water bathing during the later years of the 19thCentury. Even much later, in 1929, the Portrush Urban District Council was extolling the virtues of the summer Atlantic breezes – “provide a pure and bracing atmosphere which is wonderfully invigorating and far-famed as the best of tonics”. A small sheltered beach on the East side of the Portrush Peninsula became popular with ladies and children and in time became known as “The Ladies Bathing Place”. Victorian sensibilities precluded mixed bathing so gentlemen had to find other locations such as the Blue Pool for their own bathing.
. . .
By the turn of the century the popularity of the Ladies Bathing Place necessitated the provision of better facilities which were provided in due course by Messrs Robert Chalmers, a local businessman, Town Councillor and Mr Campbell joint proprietors of “Campbell & Chalmers, The Corner Shop” Grocers and Provision Merchants on Main Street, Portrush. Their new shop replaced the early wooden kiosks and provided confectionery, refreshments, souvenirs and other beach side requisites. The sign on the shop invited us to purchase genuine Cailler’s Swiss Chocolate which, they claimed, was the best-selling chocolate in the world.

By 1912 the upsurge in business required larger premises and again Messrs Chalmers & Campbell were there to provide for the needs of holidaymakers. A new two storey shop with single storey side extension was provided in which there was a fine café. In good weather customers could partake of their repast on the roof balcony. This was also used for evening tea dances which might feature entertainment such as Madame Levantes’ Ladies Orchestra. A concrete breakwater and sun-deck were also constructed at this time. By 1926 the name “Arcadia” had appeared on the café and shop and the café had acquired a roofed upper storey with the lower storey being remodelled to match. This upper storey contained a small ballroom with a stage at the seaward end and was used for tea dances and other functions for many years. Several kiosks were still provided beside the Arcadia probably providing deckchairs and other beach goods and bathing boxes were still available to the rear with direct access to the beach and the sea.
Discover Portrush

Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire


Rough Sea, Hornsea
Postmarked 1913
Pubisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

By the late 18th century it had become fashionable for wealthy people to visit the seaside, mainly for health reasons, and sea bathing became popular. Hornsea benefited from this and, in addition, possessed the added attraction of a mineral spring, whose water was believed to be medicinal. During the summer months Hornsea played a host to visitors who came to ‘take the waters’. . . . Hornsea was transformed in the latter half of the 19th century. The paramount reason for this was the opening of the railway from Hull in 1864. It was now possible for middle class tradesmen, industrialists and even clerical workers to carry out their business in Hull but live in Hornsea. This led to a building boom which saw the erection of houses in Railway Street, Wilton Terrace, New Road, Eastbourne Road and elsewhere.
Visit Hornsea

Imperial Hotel, Tenby, Wales


The Sands & Imperial Hotel | Tenby
1930s
Publisher: J. Salmon Ltd

Google Street View.

Originally a terrace of houses of circa 1835, built by Andrew Reed, known as Belmont Houses, with a two-storey range to the E apparently extended and remodelled in earlier C20. An engraving of 1832 by Reinagle shows the roof being put on Belmont Houses. Later they seem to have been known as Belmont Terrace, one being owned by the Earl of Limerick who had the Belmont Arch cut through the town walls for carriage access. No 2 was burnt in 1869. No 1 was known as Belmont Towers in 1904 when offered to let, and this included rooms built into a round tower of the medieval walls. It had 13 bedrooms and an alcoved drawing room. It was sold with Nos 2 and 3 to become the Imperial Hotel in 1905, lavishly renovated by Maples of London for the proprietor, M. Thierry-Mougnard. Further alterations by Maples are recorded in 1907, including a smoking-room in the style of Henri II of France. In 1912 a fire destroyed the roof and upper floors. A lounge over the clifftop was added in 1923.
British Listed Buildings

The Imperial Hotel was originally a terrace of houses, built circa 1835 and were known as Belmont Houses and later Belmont Terrace. An 1832 engraving by Reinagle shows the roof being put on Belmont Houses. In the 1860s the Earl of Limerick had the Belmont Arch cut through the town walls for carriage access. Belmont Arch is also known as Limerick Arch or Imperial Arch.
No 2 was burnt in 1869. No 1 was known as Belmont Towers. All three houses were sold to become the Imperial Hotel in 1905. It was heavily renovated in 1907 by Maples for its proprietor M. Thierry-Mougnard, designed to suit the demand for the highest standards and it was known for a time as Thierry’s Imperial Hotel.11 He had previously been assistant manager of London’s Hotel Cecil. The hotel was later taken over by his son, Mario, as mentioned in the illustrated brochure. A fire in 1912 destroyed the roof and upper floors. A lounge over the cliff top was added in 1923 and the building was heavily altered in the 20th century.

Facebook: Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

Beach & Bathing Station, Aberdeen


The Beach, Aberdeen
Postmarked 1914
Publisher: Catto & Watt, Aberdeen

Google Street View (as close as it can get).

The Sea Beach at Aberdeen Bay

The beach itself is famous for its golden sand and its long curved length between the harbour and the River Don’s mouth. The beach suffers from significant erosion of the sand so there are distinctive groyne or walls, to help keep the sand in place. The beach is popular with walkers, surfers and windsurfers.
Wikipedia.

The Bathing Station was designed by City Architect John Rust and was opened on the 13th July 1898. Above ground a distinctive red brick chimney dominated the beach skyline. The Bathing Station was an extremely popular venue all year round. The doors of the swimming baths were finally closed to the public on 11th July 1972, the pool itself being finally filled in and demolished.
Lost Aberdeen on Facebook

Cliftonville, Margate, Kent


Newgate Gap, Margate
c.1910
Publisher: Shurey’s Publications (1903-1927)
On back: This beautiful Series of Fine Art Post Cards is supplied free exclusively by Shurey’s Publications, comprising “Smart Novels,” “Yes or No.” and “Dainty Novels.” The finest 1d. Magazine is “Weekly Tale-Teller.”

Google Street View (approximate).

With the advent of the railways and cheap fares, holidays to the seaside became available to all, which meant the resorts of Thanet grew in popularity and size. Visitors came not just for the fresh sea air but entertainment as well. Walking along the promenade was popular and many seaside resorts extended this walk by building
a pier from the end of which you could catch a steamer. On the beach, tourists could enjoy a Punch and Judy show, musical entertainers and donkey rides. Margate was the first resort to popularise donkey rides on the beach in the early 1800s.

Vist Thanet: Holiday History children’s activity (pdf)

There are 32 ‘gaps’ along the ten bays of the North Thanet coast between Minnis Bay and Pegwell Bay, of which the largest is Newgate Gap – it was originally called ‘The Devil’s Gap’ due to its great depth and steepness. The gaps were initially cut by local farmers who wanted to gain access to the beach from the top of the cliffs in order to gather seaweed from the shore for use as manure on their crops, but this practice ceased as more modern chemical fertilizers became available. . . . As the eastern end of Cliftonville developed, bridges were built over some of the gaps, and an iron-girdered, wooden decking bridge was built over Newgate Gap by a local eccentric, Captain Frederick Hodges in 1861. By 1895, however, it became obvious that the numbers of visitors brought in to the area by the new railways had increased to the point where that bridge was too narrow to cope. As is generally the case in such situations, however, it was some time before the local Council decided to commit funds to the resolution of such a ‘minor inconvenience’, and it was not until 1907 that they decided to build a new bridge of concrete and steel to commemorate the Jubilee of Margate, which became a Borough in 1857 by being granted a Charter of Incorporation.
The Pulham Legacy


Palm Bay and Cliffs, Cliftonville
1930s
Publisher: “A. H. & S., Margate”

Google Street View.

Palm Bay is a pleasant sandy beach not too far away from Margate’s town centre, between Walpole and Botany Bay. Despite its appeal, Palm Bay never seems to get as busy as the better known neighbouring beaches.
The Beach Guide

Blackpool, England


Central Beach, Blackpool
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate)

In 1919 Thomas Luke celebrated Blackpool as “one of the wonders of the world”; and fifteen years later J B Priestley proclaimed it “the great roaring spangled beast”. Both were alluding to the scale, colour and brilliant lights of Britain’s most popular resort, which provided visitors with entertainment and accommodation on an industrial scale. The Winter Gardens and The Tower offered holidaymakers opulence for sixpence, relying for their success on the millions of visitors who arrived each year, and Blackpool’s three piers and the rides at the Pleasure Beach were further evidence that the technologies that had transformed industry were providing visitors with new thrilling pleasures.
“Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage”, Allan Brodie & Matthew Whitfield, 2014

By the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure diseases was becoming fashionable among the wealthier classes, and visitors began making the arduous trek to Blackpool for that purpose. In 1781, Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton built a private road to Blackpool, and a regular stagecoach service from Manchester and Halifax was established. A few amenities, including four hotels, an archery stall and bowling greens, were developed, and the town grew slowly. The 1801 census records the town’s population at 473. . . . >Blackpool rose to prominence as a major centre of tourism in England when a railway was built in the 1840s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. The railway made it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Blackpool, triggering an influx of settlers . . . The growth was intensified by the practice among the Lancashire cotton mill owners of closing the factories for a week every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as wakes weeks. Each town’s mills would close for a different week, allowing Blackpool to manage a steady and reliable stream of visitors over a prolonged period in the summer.
Wikipedia.
Wikipedia.

In those early 1860’s there was little entertainment to enjoy in Blackpool. The original Uncle Tom’s Cabin was offering refreshments, music and dancing. What remained of the first building was demolished in 1907. It had to be knocked down – because the crumbling cliff it perched on was eroding rapidly. The current Uncle Tom’s was built afterwards. In 1863 North Pier was the first of the three to be built – made in cast iron on screwed piles. It’s now a Listed Building. In 1867 the Prince of Wales Arcade opened (now the site of The Blackpool Tower). The following year saw new attractions opened including:
– the Talbot Road Assembly Rooms and Theatre Royal (the former Yates’s Wine Lodge and Addison’s night club)
– South Jetty
Central Pier, only became well used in 1870 when Robert Bickerstaffe introduced open-air dancing for the “working classes”.
Live Blackpool


North Pier, Blackpool
c.1908
Publiser: “J M & Co London Series”

Google Street View.

Residents met in December 1861 to discuss a new pier and work began in June 1862. Designed by Eugenius Birch, it opened on May 21st 1863. A landing/fishing jetty was added in 1866 and extended in 1869, bringing the pier’s length to 1410 feet. The pier was damaged in 1867 by wreckage from Nelson’s former flagship, the ‘Foudroyant’, which had been moored off the pier for an exhibition. In the 1870s, the pier-head was enlarged and the Indian Pavilion and bandstand were built. There were further ship collisions with the pier in 1892 and 1897. The deck was widened in 1896, and shops and an arcade were added to the shoreward end in 1903.
National Piers Society

In 1861 a group of the town most prominent movers and shakers had gathered in the Clifton Arms Hotel to discuss the idea of building a Pier. There the most ‘in vogue’ Victorians could exercise in the pastime of promenading in the open air. It was suggested in response to the new pier which had opened at nearby Southport. . . . Blackpool North Pier was built between 1862 and 1863 by R.Laidlow and Son, to the designs of Eugenius Birch. Eugenius Birch was most acclaimed for his seaside pier constructions. During his life he was responsible for no fewer than 14 of them, including some of the best known ones. They include Brighton West and of course Blackpool North Pier. Most piers of the era were made using cast iron. Birch thought that if wrought iron was to be used it would take a lot of repairing if the pier were to be damaged. North Pier was constructed with cast iron screw piles and columns, in turn supporting iron girders and a wooden deck.
Live Blackpool

North Pier is the most northerly of the three coastal piers in Blackpool, England. Built in the 1860s, it is also the oldest and longest of the three. Although originally intended only as a promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars. Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the “better-class” market, with orchestra concerts and respectable comedia.ns
. . .
The pier, which cost £11,740 to build, originally consisted of a promenade 468 yards (428 m) long and 9 yards (8.2 m) wide, extending to 18 yards (16 m) wide at the pier-head. The bulk of the pier was constructed from cast iron, with a wooden deck laid on top. . . . The pier was intended primarily for leisure rather than seafaring; for the price of 2d (worth approximately £4.90 in 2012) the pier provided the opportunity for visitors to walk close to the sea without distractions. This fee was insufficient to deter “trippers'”, which led to Major Preston campaigning for a new pier to cater for the ‘trippers’. In 1866, the government agreed that a second pier could be built, despite objections from the Blackpool Pier Company that it was close to their pier and therefore unnecessary . . . . To differentiate itself from the new pier, North Pier focused on catering for the “better classes”, charging for entry and including attractions such as an orchestra and band concerts, in contrast to the Central Pier (or the “People’s pier”), which regularly had music playing and open-air dancing. The pier owners highlighted the difference, charging at least a shilling for concerts and ensuring that advertisements for comedians focused on their lack of vulgarity.
Wikipedia.

Pier, 1862-3, by Eugenius Birch, contractors R. Laidlaw and Son of Glasgow. Cast iron screw piles and columns supporting iron girders and wooden deck 1,405 feet long, with jetty of 474 feet (added 1867). Pierhead enlarged with wings 1874 (for Indian Pavilion later destroyed by fire) now has modern theatre on north side, and curved glass and iron shelters on south side. Promenade deck lined each side by wooden benches with ornamental open-work backs of cast iron: a continuous band of stars in circles surmounted by semicircular fan-shaped backs in groups of three, the centre one having a grotesque in the middle, and the groups divided by voluted armrests. Two pairs of original kiosk-bays on deck have kiosks built c. 1900: each an elongated hexagon of wood and glass, with 2-tier swept- out lead roof bearing octagonal lantern of blue glass and minaret roof with finial.
Historic England

Pierrots, Scarborough, North Yorkshire


The Pierrots, Scarborough.
1900s
Publisher: Gottschalk, Dreyfuss & Davis Co, London

Google Street View.

Pierrot troupes, alongside Punch & Judy and pantomime are one of the very few, indigenous, British performance forms – they are an important part of our cultural heritage and folk traditions. The origins of the pierrot character come from the medieval Italian Comedy or Commedia d’ell Arte, as do those of Harlequin & Columbine, whom we associate with pantomime and Mr Punch of Punch & Judy fame. What is unique about pierrot in Britain, is that there evolved troupes of pierrots specifically at the seaside: the story begins with the development of the seaside resorts and the mass market of holidaymakers as the industrial revolution took hold.
Seaside Follies

[The] story begins with theatrical entrepeneur Will Catlin (real name William Fox) whose popular pierrots were a regular sight on Scarborough’s South Bay during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. Often referred to as the ‘sad clown’ the pierrot character has a long history – dating back to the seventeenth century, but became popular during the nineteenth century in France and beyond, as a recurring motif in theatre. With a whitened face and baggy attire, the pierrot was a naive, innocent character, whose antics included comedy, mime, song and dance.

Catlin, a former music hall performer first visited Scarborough in 1894, and it was during that time that he formed his renowed group of exclusively all-male pierrots. Whilst his pierrots toured widely – even over the winter months, when they visited a variety of cities and towns – in Scarborough they performed (during the early days) on a makeshift stage on the South Bay. They were not the only pierrot group in town – George Royle’s ‘Imps’ performed a similar act on the South Sands from the early 1900s, but adopted different tactics after being invited to entertain audiences at Floral Hall in Alexandra Gardens. Unlike Catlin’s group, Royle’s performers were male and female, and in their new venue wore period costumes, calling themselves the Fol-de-Rols.
Stories from Scarborough

The Grand Hotel is a large hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, overlooking the town’s South Bay. It is a Grade II listed building that is owned by Britannia Hotels. At the time of its grand opening in 1867, it was the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in Europe.
Wikipedia.

Torquay, Devon


Hesketh Crescent, Torquay
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate)

The second phase in the expansion of Torquay began when Torre railway station was opened on 18 December 1848. The improved transport connections resulted in rapid growth at the expense of nearby towns not on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railways. The more central Torquay railway station was opened on 2 August 1859 with views of the sea from the platforms. After the growth of the preceding decades, Torquay was granted borough status in 1892. Torquay Tramways operated electric street trams from 1907. They were initially powered by the unusual Dolter stud-contact electrification so as not to disfigure the town with overhead wires, but in 1911, was converted to more conventional overhead-line supply. The line was extended into Paignton in 1911 but the network was closed in 1934.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Torquay Lifeboat Station was at the Ladies Bathing Cove from 1876 until 1923. A second lifeboat was kept at the harbour from 1917 until 1928. Torquay was regarded as a “Spa Town” after the Marine Spa was built on Beacon Hill near the harbour. Originally called the “Bath Saloons complex”, it had an open air tide-filled swimming bath. The complex was opened in 1853 after Beacon Hill headland was dynamited to make space for it. Charles Dickens was said to have made readings there.
Wikipedia.

You can’t get much more of a ‘traditional British seaside’ resort than the vibrant and cheerful town of Torquay. Set at the very heart of the English Riviera on the South Devon Coast, Torquay is famous for its sandy beaches, family attractions and genteel Victorian appearance. Made famous by the legendary comedy series Fawlty Towers, Torbay is distinctly Mediterranean and is a family favourite with plenty of attractions and things to do.

Torquay was a relatively minor settlement until the mid 19th Century when the railway linked it to the rest of the UK. The improved transport connections saw Torquay expand rapidly to cater for the area’s popularity with the Victorian’s desire to explore everything and everywhere, including the furthest flung corners of Britain. After the First World War the Great Western Railway Company extensively promoted Torquay, helping the town to become a major UK holiday resort.
Visit South Devon

Hesketh Crescent was commissioned by Sir Lawrence Palk, the Fourth Baronet who was elevated to a peerage in 1880 and became ‘Lord Haldon, of Haldon, Devon’ and after whom Haldon Pier and Haldon Road were named. The crescent was designed by the brothers William and John Harvey and was completed in 1848, taking two years to construct. It has been reported as being ‘The finest crescent of houses in the west of England’ and John Wilson wrote “The Regency ideals of London and Brighton reached their highest in the building of Hesketh Crescent.” The crescent originally called ‘Meadfoot Crescent’ was renamed ‘Hesketh Crescent’ in 1849 after the first fruit of Sir Lawrence’s marriage to Maria Hesketh in 1845; their first son was called Sir Lawrence Hesketh Palk. The Palk family had been notable landowners in and around Torquay for generations and produced the first town plan for Torquay.
The Osborne Apartments


Torre Abbey Sands and Promenade, Torquay
c.1920

Google Street View.

Torre Abbey Sands is an excellent long sandy beach west of Torquay harbour and is located along the seafront in Torquay. This is the main beach for Torquay and is popular with holidaymakers from the surrounding hotels, day visitors and locals. The sandy beach is great for making sandcastles and rests between rock headlands which provide a safe sheltered area.
Torbay.gov.uk