Category Archives: Seaside Holidays In The Past

Articles and information about seaside holidays in the past but not specifically Victorian period.

Seaside Day for North Yorkshire Schools

Seaside “Wow” Day

Punch and Judy

Children watching a Punch and Judy Show during Seaside Day.

Primary Teachers in North Yorkshire can book an exciting seaside day experience to take place in their own school.

North Yorkshire has many wonderful seaside towns. Redcar, Saltburn, Whitby, Scarborough and Bridlington all immediately spring to mind. For schools close by having a day out at the seaside is relatively straight forward. York, Thirsk and Northallerton are all within an hours travel time from the coast. For schools in Harrogate, Ripon, Catterick, Richmond or those up in Swaledale or Wensleydale the practicalities and cost of going to the seaside may mean that a trip is not viable. Instead many opt to have their own seaside day in school.

I have participated in a number of excellent school seaside days which have been planned and organized by the teachers. In addition to in house activities such as flag making, dressing up, craft activities involving cutting, sticking, drawing and painting, seaside shops etc outside providers are also used. There are sometimes an ice cream van, donkey rides, Punch an Judy,  imported sand for a beach area and even paddling pools too.

Putting together a special day like this requires time and energy. As Primary school teachers are very busy people they do not always have time available to plan an exciting event like this. Hiring in a “Seaside Day” is therefore an appealing alternative.

My “Seaside Day” includes learning about the history of the seaside and seaside holidays in the past. Watching an authentic Punch and Judy Show and participating in a carousel of seaside activities. The day which combines learning and fun is ideal for all KS1 children.

If you are looking for a “Wow Day” for your seaside topic please go to my web site for more information. Alternatively check availability and get a free quotation by visiting the enquiry page.

If you are interested, don’t delay, please get in touch now to secure the date you want.




Seaside Stories KS1

Albert and the Lion

One of the best known seaside stories has to be Albert and the Lion. My father used to recite this to me as a child. He learnt it when he was a boy by listening to it on the radio ( before the days of television ).

The story is about the Ramsbottom family who go to Blackpool on holiday and pay a visit to the zoo. Whilst there Albert is fascinated by an old lion called Wallace and annoys him by prodding him with his “stick with the horses head handle”. The lion reacts by pulling Albert in the cage and swallowing him whole. Not satisfied with an apology from the zoo keeper the Ramsbottoms march off to the police station to see what can be done.

The poem was written by Marriott Edgar in 1932 and made famous by Stanley Holloway. Here are the words:


There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool,

Blackpool promenade, Lancashire.

Blackpool promenade, Lancashire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s noted for fresh air and fun,

And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom

Went there with young Albert their son.


A grand little lad was young Albert,

All dressed in his best quite a swell

With his stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle

The finest that Woolworth’s could sell.


They didn’t think much of the Ocean:

The waves were all fiddlin’ and small,

There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,

In fact, nothing to laugh at at all.


So seeking for further amusement,

They paid and went into the zoo,

Where they’s Lions and Tigers and Camels,

And old ale and sandwiches too.


There was one great big lion called Wallace

His nose were all covered in scars –

He lay in a somnolent posture,

With the side of his face on the bars.


Now Albert had heard about lions,

How they was ferocious and wild –

To see Wallace lying so peaceful,

Well, it didn’t seem right to the child.


So straightway the brave little feller,

not showing a morsel of fear,

took his stick with his ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle

And pushed it in Wallace’s ear.


You could see that the lion didn’t like it,

For giving a kind of a roll,

He pulled Albert in the cage with ‘im,

And swallowed the little lad ‘ole.


The Pa, who had seen the occurrence,

And didn’t know what to do next,

Said ‘Mother! Yon Lion’s ‘et Albert’,

And Mother said “Well I am vexed!”


Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom –

Quite rightly, when all’s said and done –

Complained to the Animal Keeper,

That the Lion had eaten their son.


The keeper was quite nice about it,

He said “What a nasty mishap.

Are you sure it’s your boy he’s eaten?”

Pa said “Am I sure? There’s his cap!”


The manager had to be sent for.

He came and he said “What’s to do?”

Pa said “Yon Lion’s ‘et Albert,

And ‘im in his Sunday clothes too.”


Then Mother said , “Rights right young feller,

I think it’s a shame and a sin,

For a Lion to go and eat Albert,

And after we paid to come in.”


The manager wanted no trouble,

He took out his purse right away,

Saying “How much to settle the matter?”

And Pa said “What do you usually pay?”


But Mother had turned a bit awkward

When she thought where her Albert had gone,

She said “No! someone’s got to be summonsed”

So that was decided upon.


Then off they went to the Police Station,

In front of the Magistrate chap.

They told him what happened to Albert,

And proved it by showing his cap.


The Magistrate gave his opinion

That no one was really to blame

And he hoped the Ramsbottoms

Would have further sons to their name.


At that Mother got proper blazing,

‘And thank you sir, kindly, said she.

“What spend all our lives raising children

To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!”


Book a Seaside Day for your school. Ideal for KS1 but can be adapted for KS2.

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Bathing Machines | History of the Seaside

English: "Mermaids at Brighton" by W...

English: “Mermaids at Brighton” by William Heath (1795 – 1840), c. 1829. Depicts women sea-bathing with bathing machines at Brighton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seaside Bathing Machines

What was a Bathing Machine?

A Bathing Machine was a wooden hut on wheels which was used to help people participate  in the activity of sea bathing. It had a door at each end and was pulled into the sea by a horse until the water was level with the floor. The steps at the seaward end allowed the bather to carefully enter the water.

As the machines were operated by an attendant they provided safety to the bathers and also preserved the modesty of the fairer sex who could get changed inside away from prying eyes. Some machines were fitted with canopies to provide a private enclosed space so that the bather was completely hidden from view whilst undertaking the act of immersion.

Who invented Bathing Machines?

The Bathing Machine was invented in 1753 by Benjamin Beale. His design was soon widely copied  and Bathing Machines remained in use for the next 150 years.

Were all Bathing Machines the same?

AWKWARD. Modest Old Gentleman (who has swum ou...

AWKWARD. Modest Old Gentleman (who has swum out to sea and whose bathing-machine has, in the meanwhile, been walked off by mistake). “Ahem! Pray Excuse me, Madam My Bathing-Machine I think.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The design of Bathing Machines varied according to local requirements. The type of beach could affect the operation of the machine and had to be taken into account. The beach could be  flat or sloping. It might have sand or pebbles.  It could be firm or soft and the distance to the sea could also vary.

Some Bathing Machines had large wheels, others had small wheels. Some were pulled by horses others were winched in and out of the sea. Some machines were painted in bright colours, others were plain white.

The size and height of the Bathing Machines varied as did the type of roof.

Some had a small window in the side wall.

The type of canopies, if fitted, were also likely to be different depending on who the manufacturer was.

The name of the owner was usually displayed on the side and each  machine had a number by which it could be identified. This was important as at busy resorts there were likely to be many Bathing Machines in operation.

The Bathing Machines were owned either by individuals or companies who made a healthy living providing this service.

Why did people use Bathing Machines?

When people first started going to the Seaside it was for the health benefits of seawater and the bracing sea air. Most people could not swim and bathing of any kind was not practiced. On their first visit they had never seen the ocean before and therefore going into the sea was a daunting experience for the uninitiated.

Bathing Machines enabled people to be taken into the sea and “dipped” by experienced guides who were usually stout, mature ladies who stood in the water as the Bathing Machines came and went.  They would help the occupants down the steps and then hold them whilst they immersed themselves in the sea.

How were the  Bathing Machines operated?

Sea Bathing generally took place in the early morning. Those wishing to use the Bathing Machines would go to a waiting room where they would pay a fee before putting their name on a slate to indicate their place in the queue. Whilst waiting they could take tea, read newspapers and magazines and make small talk with other customers. Going to the Bathing Machines was a kind of social outing. From the waiting room customers would proceed down the beech to the designated Bathing Machine and take their turn. Families would go together or single people could share with members of the same sex.

Sometimes there were arguments over queue jumping and in rowdier places  jostling and pushing in occurred.

Why did Bathing Machines go out of fashion?

Eventually people began going into the sea for pleasure. The coastal resorts became ever busier and people did not want to wait in long queues for the Bathing Machines.  Bathing costumes were invented and swimming became a popular recreation. The Bathing Machines were no longer required.

Bring your Seaside Topic to Life!

Book a Seaside Workshop Day for your school.

 Related Articles

A Seaside Railway Journey

History of the Seaside – Timeline

The Origins of Sea Bathing



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Seaside Holidays in the past : Train journey

Blackpool Tower. Photographed by Rich Daley (O...

Blackpool Tower

To the Seaside by Train

The History of the Seaside and the development and expansion of the Railways are closely linked. Before the invention of the motor car steam trains provided the only way to travel quickly over long distances.

As the Seaside grew in popularity the railways carried ever increasing numbers to the coastal seaside resorts.

This account describes a train journey to the seaside from Bolton to Blackpool in 1938.

Lots of children and cases line the platform, babies, hand bags, toddlers, everyone is loaded down. Nobody moves much and the scene is a parade of all in ‘Sunday Best’ in honour of the occasion. Most of the women are wearing coats and hats, although one observer still notes traces of the mill on two young women ‘with the mill fluff on their tams’. Men wear freshly pressed , often new suits…. A group begins to sing and their mood spreads infectiously across ( the station ) to children and adults alike… Accordion played, ‘Count thy blessings, one by one’ Everyone singing…[ on the train ]…For the first part their is almost always restraint and silence. Girls read Woman’s Own, Passing Show or Silver Star, men smoke and the train moves on to stops at Chorley and Preston…Beyond Preston the traveller reaches the world of the dunes and the Tower comes into view, dominating the flat landscape. No longer is the mill chimney the inescapable symbol; the ‘other world’ has been reached. Inside the train, the mood changes; the travellers are now bound together as ‘fellows’ by this common rallying point. The restraint clearly visible at the outset has dropped from sight. Cotton and factory chimney are finshed with…( sweets and cigarettes are handed around and singing begins )…The skyline has changed; the land has changed. It’s all Blackpool – all magic – now. The ordinary, the common, the usual is all far left behind, left in the mill town.

Inspire your children!

Book a Seaside Workshop Day to bring your Seaside Topic to life.

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History Of The Seaside | Chronology

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Image via Wikipedia

Important Dates In The History Of The Seaside

17th – 18th Century Spas became popular holiday places for the rich.

1730’s People travel to Scarborough where sea bathing has become part of the cure

1785 The Prince Regent decides takes a liking to the seaside town of Brighton and settles there.

1789 King George the Third travels to Weymouth and bathes in the sea.

1815 The Battle of Waterloo signals the end of the Napoleonic Wars and it is once more possible to travel to France.

Plans for a Royal Pavilion at Brighton are accepted.

1824 The French Royal Family go to Dieppe for sea bathing.

1828 Sir James Burton designs St leonards

1840’s The first railway excursions to the coast begin.

1850’s Seaside development begins. Characteristic wrought iron railings, shelters, bandstands and piers start to be built at British seaside resorts.

1867 The famous Grand Hotel is built at Scarborough.

1871 The first ever British Bank Holiday!

1880’s In the USA Coney Island develops amusement parks.

1881 First US pier at Atlanta City.

1883 Brighton gets an electric railway on the seafront.

1890’s Queen Victoria takes a winter holiday to the French Riviera.

1894 Postcards are allowed to be sent by the British Post Office.

1900’s Expansion of the seaside with many large hotels built at resorts both in Britain and the USA.

1914 – 1918 The First World War. Holidays and travel are severely restricted.

1920’s Rise in popularity of the French Riviera. Sunbathing becomes fashionable and swim suits become briefer.

1930’s Suntan creams on sale for the first time.

1936 Billy Butlin opens his first holiday camp, know as Butlins

1939-1945 The Second World War.

1950’s Package Holidays start to become available.


Book a Seaside Day for your school.


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