British seaside holidays in the fifties

A typical seaside holiday in Britain in the 1950s was quite different from the one I enjoyed today. Admittedly, there was the same desire to relax on the beaches and kayaking in the sea and enjoy the rest as today, but the past half century has witnessed tremendous changes in tastes and expectations.

A large proportion of Britons enjoyed their holidays in their home country compared to what they enjoyed today. In the 1950s, cheap international flights were not developed, and major holiday resorts in the Mediterranean and beyond – magnets for British sun seekers – were not developed.

On summer holidays, the British tended to visit resorts in their area, such as Blackpool for the North and Brighton for people living in the South. A trip to Torquay in the southwest for someone living in Yorkshire would have been considered strange.

Accommodation in a hotel or holiday park, now popular with holidaymakers in Great Britain, was unknown, especially to working-class families in the 1950s. Holiday accommodations were tougher.

Hotels were affordable only for the rich, so most families stayed in bed and breakfasts, which folklore tells us is owned by non-rigid shelters. Caravan gardens were available, but unlike today's luxury holiday gardens. Laundry and toilet facilities were basic and communal. The convoys were not like a modern fixed convoy complete with the cons of the Ministry of Defense.

It was narrow, small, and lacked a toilet. As for the modern timber cabinet, the most you can expect in the 1950s was a small chalet ready, with only marginally better facilities than the caravans of that period.

The British coastal holiday of the 1950s was a collective affair. Families, along with others, traveled by sea on buses or trains. The best example of the sectarian aspect of the British holiday in that period were holiday camps, the most famous of which were Butlins and Pontins.

The holiday camp, intended to serve working-class families, was introduced before World War II, but was still very popular during the 1950s. While families stayed in their own chalets on site, the rest of the holiday was shared. They ate together in large halls, ridiculous competitions such as knee competitions were organized, and the British at that time liked them perfectly.

British coastal holidays in the 1950s might amaze the British today. They may not be sophisticated, but they still give millions great fun.