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England’s 20th Century coastal communities seen from above

England's 20th Century coastal communities seen from above thumbnail

Photos taken from an aeroplane show England’s busy seaside resorts and towns during their heyday during the 20th Century.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Pier, Eastbourne, East Sussex, May 1931

The images are part of the Aerofilms Collection, held by the Historic England Archive.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Midland Hotel, Swimming Stadium and Central Pier, Morecambe, Lancashire, August 1949

Outdoor pools and entertainment facilities were popular with millions of holidaymakers in places likes Blackpool, Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-sea.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionBlackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Lancashire, July 1920

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Open Air Swimming Baths and Victoria Pier, Blackpool, Lancashire, September 1929

The development of affordable international air travel contributed to the decline of seaside resorts in England in the second half of the 20th Century.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe esplanade, the beach and the town, Weymouth, Dorset, August 1932

The aerial photos can be seen in the new book England’s Seaside Heritage from the Air, written by Historic England’s tourism history expert Allan Brodie.

“While writing this book, locked down and unable to visit the seaside, it was a pleasure to wander along England’s coast via the thousands of images in the collection,” he said.

“The photographs hopefully capture the joys of our coastal resorts, including some fascinating features that alas no longer survive, as well as passing moments in the story of our seaside holidays.”

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Midland Hotel and the sea-front, Morecambe, August 1934

The images give an insight into the history of coastal communities, and the relationship between transport and resort development.

A photo of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, shows paddle steamers moored at the end of the pier bringing in visitors.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe pier, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, August 1938

In Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, an octagonal paddling pool was built on the beach by a local couple in 1921.

The pool was a gift of thanks for the safe return of their five sons from World War One.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe esplanade and the beach, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, August 1932

Here are photos of other seaside locations seen from above.

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionWalton-on-the-Naze and the Tendring Hundred Railway, Essex, June 1920

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe harbour pier, Margate, Kent, February 1920

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe pleasure beach and Victoria Pier, Blackpool, Lancashire, July 1920

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionDreamland Amusement Park, Margate, Kent, May 1931

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Royal Pavilion and surrounding streets, Brighton, August 1926

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionKemptown, Brighton, August 1926

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Royal Victoria Pier and the town, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, August 1932

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionHorsham Avenue and environs, Peacehaven, from the south, 1933

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionMontague Grahame-White’s steam yacht Alacrity, Brownsea Island, Dorset, April 1933

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionDeal Castle, Deal, Kent, April 1948

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionHoly Trinity Church, Margate, Kent, April 1920

image copyrightHistoric England Archive / Aerofilms Collection

image captionThe Island and Towan Beach, Newquay, August 1932

All pictures are subject to copyright.

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