The British seaside town. An institution. Built for pure pleasure. Bathing, gossiping, promenading. Strange, unreal, dreamlike. Now so often faded and tatty – but on the cusp of new era.
Ian Walker grew up in a seaside town and felt he had to escape its clutches. But he, like so many of us, is often drawn back the sandy edges of England: the Fawlty Towers of Torquay, the golden sands of Whitley Bay, Brighton’s Royal Palace; fish, funfairs and affairs; ports, postcards and donkeys; mobility scooters, mods and Agatha Christie; sandy feet, sewage and the slot machine. Combining personal odyssey and sparkling social history, Beside the Seaside explores the places built for summertime joy – and how they’re not always as innocent as they seem. It is the story of how we went on holiday, of Regency fops and vanishing fishermen, of lovers and gangsters, of faded industries and resorts reborn.
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