As an island nation, Britain is quick to celebrate its maritime history and heritage, but for most of us our relationship with the sea is through the seaside resort. We share more or less fond memories of building sand castles, splashing around in the sea and eating fish and chips, sometimes with a light sprinkle of sand as an accompaniment. However, the vast majority of holidaymakers will never have seen a seaside resort from the air, unless they have gone up in the balloon in the centre of Bournemouth or indulged in a pleasure flight over a resort such as Weston-super-Mare.
This collection of aerial photographs, produced by Aerofilms Ltd mostly between 1920 and 1953, tells the story of England’s seaside resorts as holiday destinations, but also as working towns, blessed with the sea as their backdrop. It also illustrates the type of entertainments available for holidaymakers and highlights how the seaside holiday at some resorts became big business with industrial-scale facilities and infrastructure.
'Seaside history is normally viewed at ground or water level, but Allan Brodie’s excellent historical commentary on his selection of Aerofilm coastal images taken from early to mid C20 demonstrates what we have already missed. Coastal developments are never static and today, more than ever, is a chance to keep them in the forefront of our minds for the good of the country.' Tim Phillips, architect and vice-chair National Piers Society