The History and Development of the English Seaside Resort

Ref: C3741436

For over 300 years the English seaside has attracted visitors to its shores; first for health reasons, and then to be enjoyed in its own right, including its often idiosyncratic architecture. We will trace the development cycle of the seaside resort from its origins, through heyday to decline, and more recently instances of rejuvenation and renewal. A number of case studies will be undertaken ranging from the select resort of Bournemouth to more boisterous holiday destinations such as Brighton and Blackpool. The impact in the 19th and 20th centuries on the resorts of the coming of the railway, followed by motor coaches and cars all affected who went to the seaside, where they went, and for how long. The course provides an opportunity to relive the many and various pleasures of being 'Beside the Seaside' in what is anticipated will be a series of revealing and rewarding architectural and historical encounters.

Course aim

To consider the historic development and growth of several English seaside resorts, and to explore various types of resort looking at their characteristics and heritage

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1. Say when the heyday of the English seaside resort occurred
  • 2. Distinguish between the various types of holiday resort
  • 3. Describe some of the predominant seaside building types

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • A selected book list: A Brodie and G Winter, England's Seaside Resorts, English Heritage K Ferry, The British Seaside Holiday, Shire Publications Britain's Coast, A Tour in historical photographs, Readers Digest

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

The History and Development of the English Seaside Resort


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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