Lonely Planet Writer

Relive the golden age of the British seaside resort with this stunning postcard collection

The golden era of the British seaside resort has been showcased in a series of stunning postcards included in a new book. The incredible images show packed British beaches and piers from the early 1900s. Margate Jetty is pictured in 1910 as people enjoy themselves in the sunshine.

Margate Jetty, c. 1910.
Margate Jetty, c. 1910. Image from British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler

A rough sea batters Palace Pier in Brighton in another snap while fireworks illuminate the night sky at South Parade Pier in Southsea and a group of children pose atop donkeys on the beach near the Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare.

Children and donkeys on Weston-super-Mare Beach with the Grand Pier in the background, 1920s.
Children and donkeys on Weston-super-Mare Beach with the Grand Pier in the background, 1920s. Image from British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler

The postcards are displayed in a new book, British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler and published by Amberley. “Postcards provide a different insight into the history of piers than photographs,” he said in the book’s introduction. Amateur photographers tried to capture mementoes of their visits, while professional photographers tried to either make art from the images or record a specific event.”

Lowestoft South Pier, View from the Pavilion, Postmarked, 1911.
Lowestoft South Pier, View from the Pavilion, Postmarked, 1911. Image from British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler

Sadler says that visitors generally sent the postcards to relatives and friends to illustrate what a good time they were having and he explained that the postcards of piers, promenades and seaside views provided two snapshots into history.

Eastborne Parade, Beach and Pier, c. 1910.
Holidaymakers promenading on Eastbourne Beach, c. 1910. Image from British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler

“The first is what the image can tell us: it might be of an event or a general scene with the latter possibly changing very little in a decade,” he said. “The second is the message written on the back, if there is one, often recounting moments from a holidaymaker’s time at the seaside and the British pastime of talking about the weather.

“Together they illustrate the seaside experiences at the beginning of the twentieth century.”

British Piers – The Postcard Collection, by Nigel Sadler, is published by Amberley. It is available for £14.99 RRP.

(Media Drum World)