Historic England has a new book out this week which illustrates England’s rich seaside heritage as few holidaymakers ever see it – from the air – from Aerofilms Collection, held by the Historic England Archive.
Various images of Blackpool, Lancashire tell the story of the Pleasure Beach, Britain’s first amusement park, Blackpool Tower, the Winter Gardens and a now-lost open-air swimming pool, almost five times as large as an Olympic Swimming pool.
• The Aerofilms Collection in the Historic England Archive includes over a million urban, suburban, rural, coastal and industrial aerial photographs of Britain. It was created by Aerofilms Ltd, a pioneering aerial survey company set up in 1919 by First World War veterans, including Claude Grahame-White. The Aerofilms Collection was acquired by Historic England and other national partners in 2007, and a tenth of the Collection was digitised in a project called Britain from Above, which ran from 2010-2014
Author Allan Brodie, Senior Architectural Investigator at Historic England said: “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. The photographs in the book 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.”
The images also offer insights into the relationship between transport and resort development. The train was still the dominant means of going to the seaside in the interwar years, and the images illustrate how railway lines and stations shaped the fabric of many seaside resorts. A photograph of Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, for example, shows the Tendring Hundred Railway having a big impact on a small resort.
Get your copy here.