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Beside the Seaside (Paperback)

A History of Yorkshire's Seaside Resorts

Colour Books Hobbies & Lifestyle > Travel Illustrated Books P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History Photographic Books World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By John Heywood
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 70 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526704641
Published: 26th March 2018



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Almost all of us have happy memories of excursions and holidays spent beside the sea. For many, these will have included the Yorkshire coast which runs unbroken for more than one hundred miles between the two great rivers, the Tees and the Humber. Within those boundaries are the popular seaside resorts of Whitby, Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington as well as numerous smaller and quieter but equally well-loved destinations. How did the love affair with the area start and how did it develop? Over the years, all the ingredients for the perfect holiday are there - the spas, the sea and sun bathing, board and lodgings, entertainment and just as importantly, the journeys there and back. “Beside the Seaside” takes a detailed but entertaining look back at the history of these resorts over the last four hundred years and asks, “what does the future hold?” Packed with information, this book is fully illustrated with photographs, old and new, together with paintings and etchings. Coupled with the thoughts and memories of tourists and travellers from the 17th century through to the present time, it gives a fascinating insight into how our ancestors would have spent their time at the coast.

Evocative and intriguing, absorbing and surprising, John Heywood’s book will appeal both to those familiar with the area and to others who just enjoy being “Beside the Seaside”.

Made my childhood memories come flooding back.

Full of interesting facts from the past to the present.

Made the Yorkshire coast come to life with plenty of illustrations.

The books contents have been researched.

A great read.

Jim Stout. (Roots Family History Service)

The book, written by John Heywood and published by Pen & Sword History is a journey into the past and present of these places, in different ways of living and interpreting the life of seaside towns, and in past fashions and present trends. A nice book that deserves to be read!

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

The book includes some fantastic illustrations, pictures, and advertisements of the era, which are a joy to see and help us better understand how visiting all these resorts in the past must have felt like. There is also a bibliography for those who might want to read more on the subject, and an index in case you’re looking for specific information. Readers who love curiosities and social history will have a field day with this book. And if you’ve always wondered how the British love with the seaside towns and the seaside resorts came to be, this book offers you many clues.

I recommend this book to students and fans of social history, to those who love to read about Britain, its culture, and its towns and cities, to people who love Yorkshire, its coast and seaside towns, to historical authors thinking of setting their stories in these locations or eras, and to anybody who loves to take a stroll beside the seaside. I enjoyed the opportunity to be out and about, especially now, and I hope to be able to visit the area again in the future, armed with plenty of useful knowledge and a new perspective.

Read the full review here

Author Translator

I really enjoyed this book and I loved being able to look at the older photos or resorts that I have visited and know and love!

“Beside the Seaside” describes the development of the Yorkshire coast seaside resorts from their origins to the present day, the author discusses Scarborough, Whitby, Filey and Bridlington in the main, as well as Redcar, Saltburn, Hornsea, Withernsea, and others so there is quite a variety in terms or size and popularity through the ages too.

The book was easy to read and well written too, it had a good flow to it and it was nicely laid out. The chapters all had a good number of images in them to which I think really helps in a book like this.

It is 4 stars from me for this one, I love being able to look back at the older photos and the adverts that were in place at the time to try and attract the public to visit the resorts or stay in certain hotels – I thought that the book was a great bit of social history as well as a good record of Yorkshire’s Seaside Resorts too! Highly recommended!!

Read the full review here

Donnas Book Blog

From your penny lick to your strawberry candy floss or Bridlington to Scarborough and the many boarding houses and amusements in between, if you love Yorkshire and its seaside resorts then this could be the book for you. This book takes you back to the 19th century and the start of the holiday trip away when companies used to take all the employees away for the week and a week of fun, amusements and relaxation in the British way was just a drive up the motorway. The chapters covered in the book range from boarding houses to amusement centres and to various lodgings to Yorkshire piers.

If you’re from Yorkshire you will have been to most of these places or if you holidayed there, you’ll probably recognise most of the book. I think the writer John Heywood has written a good book and it’s well balanced too throughout the various chapters. I think there are three things that make this book brilliant, it’s very well written, the number of well-chosen photographs and the ‘oldie world’ style of the cover make it a brilliant read. I would give this book a very well earned four out of five stars.

UK Historian

★★★★★ We're going to the seaside

A wonderfully nostalgic and halcyon glimpse of treasured carefree times evoking reminiscences of deckchairs, laughter, distant fairground music, seagulls, ice-creams and donkey rides all lavished with sunshine and temperature that necessitated a paddle in the lapping waves.
The author has an endearing style which first captivates and then compels, drawing the reader further through the pages to the delight of the beautiful illustrations.
I thoroughly recommend this book to those who are hooked on the seaside and to those who are just dipping their toes in.

Amazon Customer

★★★★★ Couldn't put this book down!

Simply couldn’t put this book down. A must read for anyone who loves the east coast sea side. Written in a very informative yet warm manner as if the author is reading to you. Wonderful historical pictures. Brought back many fond memories and added historical background to familiar places.

Amazon Customer

4 stars – An easily digestible and well-produced book with many keenly-observed facts and insights.

To read the full review, click here

Wakefield Historical Society


While the author delights the reader with some splendidly nostalgic content - with illustrations to match - there's also some reflection on the changing times, a current renaissance and future possibilities. A good book to take with you on your hols.

Best of British, July 2018 – reviewed by David Brown

As featured by

On: Yorkshire magazine

As featured by

24seven Lifestyle magazine, July 2018

The story of British holidaymakers' love affaire with the Yorkshire seaside resorts can be equally applied to other seaside resorts around Britain's coast that developed and matured during the Victorian era, but author John Heywood has chosen to concentrate on Yorkshire, of course. My own love affaire with the seaside began in the early 1950s and continues to this day, first with annual two-week holidays to Ramsgate from the age of around two onwards, through a six-month stay in Southen on Sea while we waited to settle in Stevenage and then with my new wife in the 1960s, visiting Sheringham, Southwold, Lowestoft etc., etc., before eventually coming to live on the North Norfolk coast permanently. My day involves two walks along the cliffs with our dog, shopping in our little seaside town etc., and it is a permanent holiday. John's fabulous book examines people's fascination with and love of seaside resorts in Yorkshire, and the evocative photographs and excellent text make this one of the finest advertisements for such resorts to have ever been published. Brilliant!

See the review online here.

Books Monthly

As featured in 'Reviews in brief' by Rosemary Collins

John Heywood provides a brief but fascinating history of the popular seaside resorts of God's own country.

WDYTYA?, July 2018

Book Of The Month

Barnsley Chronicle, 27th April 2018

There's interesting stuff for both the historian and the casual reader.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jacey Bedford

Click here to listen

Note: set cursor to 2:35:00 for interview

BBC Radio Leeds Books Hour, 19th March 2018

We’re spending the whole summer in Yorkshire so this was the perfect book to set the scene. I have previously visited a few of the places mentioned so it was a lovely trip down memory lane.

NetGalley, reviewed by Denise Cross

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved this work!

A great reminiscence of a book covering the history of the seaside resorts of Yorkshire during those innocent days of fish and chips and candy floss, sadly disappearing from resorts these day.
Having got no further than York and Harrogate, I intend to visit these lovely seaside towns before long.

Read it before the soul goes out of them.

Very highly recommended.

NetGalley, reviewed by Eileen Hall

Really enjoyed this one. Very different from my usual fare of nonfiction- history. The author had a very readable style. Definitely learned a lot. I feel like traveling to these places again after this read. Strongly recommend!

NetGalley, reviewed by Thomas Lambe

Lovely book about the history of Yorkshire's seaside resorts.

If you have fond memories of childhood bucket and spade holidays or if you wish you did, you'll enjoy this.

NetGalley, reviewed by Rory Cordell

Well researched and presented.

NetGalley, reviewed by Amy Parker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The book was a pleasant read mixing history and anecdotal comments to keep my interest. I'd recommend the book wholeheartedly.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jenni Edward

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Full of information you wouldn’t find out on a typical trip to the seaside I’d definitely recommend the book if you are visiting the area and want to know more or if you simply wish to learn more about the fascinating history of the Yorkshire coast.

NetGalley, reviewed by Ellesse Oakes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Overall, I'd recommend this interesting book to anyone curious about how the Yorkshire coast resorts developed over the years.

NetGalley, reviewed by Deborah White

About John Heywood

John Heywood is an experienced professional family and local historian living in West Yorkshire. He has had a passion for history for over forty years. His most recent book Silent Witnesses told the story of those men from the village of Horbury who paid the ultimate price during the Great War.

Along with his wife Jenny, John takes great pleasure in being by the coast and as such, researching this book has been a real labour of love.

Perfect Partner

Images of the Past: The British Seaside (Paperback)

Drawing on the archives of Mary Evans Picture Library, ‘Images of the Past – The British Seaside’ is a nostalgic promenade through the history of Britain’s seaside resorts from their early genesis as health destinations to their glorious, mid-20th century heyday, subsequent decline and recent regeneration. British coastal resorts developed during a period of vast expansion and social change. Within a century, the bathing phenomenon changed from a cautiously modest immersion in the sea to a pastime that prompted the building of vast art deco temples dedicated to the cult of swimming. Once…

By Lucinda Gosling

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