Back when the album photographs were taken, an annual holiday was not to Spain or Morocco or Florida but to the seaside. For people living in Yorkshire communities such as the ones my ancestors came from that mostly meant going to the Yorkshire coast for a week of maybe two if they were well off and could take time from work. Families would decamp to boarding houses or, if a bit richer to small to large hotels to enjoy the fresh air on the sands and walking along the promenade.
There were several towns to visit. The big two were Scarborough and Bridlington, while alternatives might be Whitby (still an active fishing port), Robin Hood’s Bay, Filey and Mablethorpe. Scarborough was generally “posher” than Bridlington and even there the North Bay was upper crustier than the South Bay which had all the amusements and candy-floss stalls. When I was a kid we mostly went to Filey which had great walks on the cliffs and out to the end of the “Brig”. These passed down pictures were from the late Victorian and into the Edwardian periods so let’s have look at what my ancestors were doing on their holidays.
Bridlington – I think I only went there once, and that for a single damp and windy day, but it was hugely popular. I have found three pictures from there. One of the promenade overlooking the beach, one of the donkey rides and a then of a group of young girls playing on the beach. I was amused by the costumes the girls were wearing and the completely unsuitable footwear. Going on a Donkey Ride was always something to look forward to, though my donkey riding was done at Scarborough … the main thing I do recall and I am sure it was the same for my everyone was that once you are on the back of a donkey you could not get away from the stink. Donkeys are very, very smelly animals and undoubtedly exploited. Note that the guys running these rides looked a pretty rough crew indeed.
Scarborough – as I said, a little more genteel on the whole. I am sure the ancestors went there but the albums don’t include photographs so I have tracked down a couple of images from the same period and you can see that parading on your posh clothes was very much a thing to do when not sitting on the beach inside a wickerwork wind break while the kids splashed in the sea within hailing distance. Apart from the clothes people wore, this was pretty much what I experienced in the fifties. What a lark!
Whitby – I didn’t really explore this town myself until I was well grown when we visited a couple of times for the Whitby Folk Festival but before that, well before, my paternal grandparents had spent their honeymoon there … somewhere I have a photo of them sitting on the backs of two donkeys smartly dressed up in their relaxed holiday costumes and looking very stiff and rather serious. “Are we having fun yet?”. I think that is worth a separate post of its own.
All but the last four pictures are from the family album.
(Click on pictures to enlarge and read captions and locations)
One a series of posts presenting photographs found in a family album of a century ago using the conventions of “imaginative historic remembrance”.
Leave A Comment