New book celebrates 100 great things about the British seaside

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, we do like to be beside the sea ...

Kathryn Ferry’s new book Seaside 100 captures in words and pictures the nostalgia and simple pleasure of strolling along the promenade.

From sandcastles, donkeys and piers to sticks of rock, beach huts, paddle steamers, promenade shelters and ice cream cones, Ferry explores the best-loved features of some of our favourite holiday destinations.

“The seaside is more than a place on the coast. It is a human creation designed for the pleasure of visitors. The things we expect to find there today are derived from the preferences of our forbears,” she said.

“Many of the attractions and treats they favoured have become staples of our own holiday experiences. Some hang on as mere remnants, others survive with almost iconic status.”

Using a mixture of historic images and modern photographs, Ferry takes a roughly chronological journey through the things that have made our seaside distinctive.

We roam from Margate on the Kent coast to Blackpool in Lancashire and from Brighton in East Sussex to Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

Seaside 100: A History of the British Seaside in 100 ObjectsSeaside 100: A History of the British Seaside in 100 Objects
Seaside 100: A History of the British Seaside in 100 Objects

The hardback, bursting with charm and nostalgia, is a celebration of all that makes our seaside special: like playing on the beach with a tin bucket and spade, exploring rock pools and nodding off in a deckchair.

She charts the rise and fall of cliff lifts and trams and are love of postcards.

Windbreaks, deckchairs, Punch and Judy shows, pierrots and end-of-the-pier theatre seasons are all recalled with a genuine affection and deep knowledge.

Ferry is a historian and lecturer. She grew up near the coast in North Devon, but usually only went to the beach out of season in her wellies.

Ferry says she fell in love with beach huts during a visit to Herne Bay in Kent.She is the author of eight books, including titles on the British seaside holiday, bungalows and the official history of Butlin’s.

Seaside 100 is published by Unicorn Publishing Group and is out now, priced £14.99.