England's 20th Century coastal communities seen from above

  • Published

Photos taken from an aeroplane show England's busy seaside resorts and towns during their heyday during the 20th Century.

An aerial view of The Pier in Eastbourne, East Sussex, taken in May 1931Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Pier, Eastbourne, East Sussex, May 1931

The images are part of the Aerofilms Collection, held by the Historic England Archive.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Midland Hotel, Swimming Stadium and Central Pier, Morecambe, Lancashire, August 1949

Outdoor pools and entertainment facilities were popular with millions of holidaymakers in places likes Blackpool, Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-sea.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Lancashire, July 1920
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Open Air Swimming Baths and Victoria Pier, Blackpool, Lancashire, September 1929

The development of affordable international air travel contributed to the decline of seaside resorts in England in the second half of the 20th Century.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The esplanade, the beach and the town, Weymouth, Dorset, August 1932

The aerial photos can be seen in the new book England's Seaside Heritage from the Air, written by Historic England's tourism history expert Allan Brodie.

"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," he said.

"The photographs 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."

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Midland Hotel and the sea-front, Morecambe, August 1934

The images give an insight into the history of coastal communities, and the relationship between transport and resort development.

A photo of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, shows paddle steamers moored at the end of the pier bringing in visitors.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The pier, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, August 1938

In Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, an octagonal paddling pool was built on the beach by a local couple in 1921.

The pool was a gift of thanks for the safe return of their five sons from World War One.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The esplanade and the beach, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, August 1932

Here are photos of other seaside locations seen from above.

Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Walton-on-the-Naze and the Tendring Hundred Railway, Essex, June 1920
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The harbour pier, Margate, Kent, February 1920
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The pleasure beach and Victoria Pier, Blackpool, Lancashire, July 1920
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Dreamland Amusement Park, Margate, Kent, May 1931
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Royal Pavilion and surrounding streets, Brighton, August 1926
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Kemptown, Brighton, August 1926
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Royal Victoria Pier and the town, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, August 1932
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Horsham Avenue and environs, Peacehaven, from the south, 1933
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Montague Grahame-White's steam yacht Alacrity, Brownsea Island, Dorset, April 1933
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Deal Castle, Deal, Kent, April 1948
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
Holy Trinity Church, Margate, Kent, April 1920
Image source, Historic England Archive / Aerofilms Collection
Image caption,
The Island and Towan Beach, Newquay, August 1932

All pictures are subject to copyright.