- Purchase images
Britain’s love of the seaside holiday goes back over two hundred years. In the late 18th century it became fashionable to bathe in the sea as a health cure. By the end of the 19th century holidays at the seaside had become immensely popular with all social classes.
The National Archives’ large collection of photographs and ephemera instantly bring back memories of seaside holidays. Posters published by the railway companies advertise travel to popular resorts. They include the famous 1909 poster ‘Skegness is so bracing’ by John Hassall.
Nostalgic Edwardian posters feature holiday places still popular now: Royal Windsor and Eton, Hampton Court and Bath. The beach at Ilfracombe in 1904 is shown being admired by two fashionable young ladies from the cliff tops.
The National Archives also holds many photographs of the resorts in their heyday before the First World War. The greatest of all resorts, Blackpool, features in a number of photographs, including views of the pier on a blustery day in 1899.
Post-Second World War posters portrayed messages to learn to swim and ease holiday congestion which still resonate so well today. And not forgetting British seaside humour as depicted on cartoon postcards by artists Tom Browne and Rene Bull.
Explore some of our seaside delights below, and access many more by contacting email@example.com.
GWR poster, St Ives, 1904/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-221-(1)-gwr-poster-st-ives-1904.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/221 (1)
Transport montage - ship, balloon, train and car, 1899/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-153-f479-transport-montage-ship-balloon-train-car-1899.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/153 f479
London and South Western poster, Swanage, 1908/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-275-(371)-swanage-1908.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/275 (371)
Catalogue reference: COPY1/440 (240)
GNR poster, Skegness is so bracing, 1909/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-277-f222-skegness-is-so-bracing-1909.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY 1/277 f222
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk beach and promenade, 1899/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-443-great-yarmouth-norfolk-beach-and-promenade-1899.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/443
Seaside, artist Rene Bull, 1904/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-216-(116f)-seaside-rene-bull-1904.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/216 (116f)
London and South Western Railway to Ilfracombe, 1903/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-204-f15-london-and-south-western-railway-to-Ilfracombe-1903.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/204 f15
Cromer beach, 1899/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-443-(1)-cromer-beach-1899.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/443 (1)
Learn to swim poster, 1960s/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/ext1-123-pt2-(18)-(inf13-233)-learn-to-swim-poster-1960s.jpg
Catalogue reference: EXT1/123 pt2 (18) (inf13/233)
Whitby lighthouses, H Matthison, 1906/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/copy1-243(ii)-(141b)-whitby-lightouses-h-matthison-1906.jpg
Catalogue reference: COPY1/243 (ii) (141b)
Stagger your holidays poster, 1950s/images/imagelibrary/showcase/seaside/ext1-123-pt2-(20)-stagger-your-holidays-poster-1950s.jpg
Catalogue reference: EXT1/123 pt2 (20)
This is just a selection. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more image solutions.
Sharing will require cookies. Show details