Finally a book that I did not buy in Stanford’s! This one I bought when my mum visited me in London and we went for The Great British Seaside photography exhibition in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It was really great fun, with photographs by Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts and Martin Parr, it showed how distinct the British way of enjoying the beach is and how fickle the weather (on most of the pictures people are fully dressed, sometimes even in layers). After the exhibition we went to see the catalog in the museum shop and I bought myself two books on the topic. This is one of them.
I expected Elborough to focus a bit more on current times, but he tracks the tradition of vacationing on the seaside in UK throughout the history. It is an interesting book, just not exactly what I expected. He takes a look at the habit from all angles and I learned may interesting things form the book, like for example the origin of fish and chips. He writes how trains democratized access to the seaside and a modern resort was born, where only few decades before was a sleepy fishing village. All aspects of spending time on the seaside are covered from food, through B&b’s, Butlin’s summer camps, all the way to sex and violence. I haven’t visited many seaside places in the UK, being only to Margate, Brighton and Southend, but I must admit I am not a fan. Just like I always avoided crowded seaside resorts in Poland (either going to unknown and harder to get to places or going out of season). Thanks to this book I now understand a bit better how they came to be the way they are. An interesting and enlightening read for a lazy day on the beach.
Quotes from Wish You Were Here: England on Sea
Here are a few photos from the exhibition: