The Victorian Seaside

The great British seaside has been a draw for hundreds of years but its mass popularity only developed in the Victorian period.

Oxford University history graduate Peter Street will explain the growth of seaside resorts,   most notably the spread of the railway in these years, in a talk at the University of Bath next Wednesday (6 May).

 The talk will also look at accommodation and the notoriety of the landlady, foods and clothing associated with the seaside together with the various activities enjoyed by visitors on and away from the beach. 

Swindon-born Mr Street said: "Sea-bathing began in England during the 18th century and by the end of the following century its coastal resorts were among the fastest growing and most visited places in the country.

"The talk explains why and how they emerged. They offered a chance to escape, however briefly, from urban and industrial life - to have fun, in the sea, on the beach and perhaps even to find out what the butler saw!"

Mr Street has been active in higher and adult education for over 30 years. Most of his current teaching is for Birkbeck College, University of London and the Open University.

He has a particular interest in Victorian social history and the history of leisure especially the social history of the railways and the seaside.

Mr Street's talk is part of the General University Lecture Programme.

Other lectures in the current series include:

  • Rediscovering the Common Wealth, Professor Geof Wood, 20 May
  • Galileo and the Founding of the Modern World, Dr Gary Mathlin, 3 June
  • At the Court of the Great Mogul, Nicholas Fogg, 17 June

All lectures are free and open to the public and start at 5:15pm. The Victorian Seaside Lecture will be held at Lecture Theatre 8 West 1.1. The others will be held in Lecture Theatre 8 West  3.22.

Admission and parking is free in the west car park at the Claverton Campus.

For more information contact the Division for Lifelong Learning on 01225 386587

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