tue25jan6:30 pmOnline Lecture: The Development of the Georgian Seaside Resort, c.1730-1830Online talk by Sue Berry6:30 pm Book Now

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£5 members/£7 non-members

Seaside resorts began to develop in the early eighteenth century. The most successful were old coastal towns such as Hastings, Margate and Weymouth where the basics such as lodgings existed, and simply needed the resort facilities added to.  At first, few facilities were developed because investors believed that this fashion might not last, and the season was very short. As sea bathing became more fashionable, so more local people invested in libraries, assembly rooms, baths and other facilities.  These needed several hundred people around all the time during the season to make money. So small communities rarely had anything other than bathing machines, an assembly room, and perhaps a small library.   Attempts to develop everything from scratch often resulted In bankruptcy.   By 1830, most of the successful ones had similar facilities and fashionable terraced housing. Whereas the failures were half built and often remained so unless connected to a large town by the railway.

The larger resorts became centres for social networking – a key influence on their development.  Some of the letters which describe what visitors saw, particularly those by women, highlight human characteristics we see today.  Women commenting on the looks of their peer group, often somewhat cattily, give us an idea of just how important good looks and a good figure were envied.  Cartoons mock some of the diaphanous clothing of the early 1800s. Doctors letters reveal a desire to ensure that clients kept returning, the tone obsequious.  Developers seeking to attract celebrities to boost numbers adopted a similar stance, often simply adding to their debt by offering free housing.

By 1830 the seaside resorts needed a new look. A period of uncertainty which lasted into the 1850s for some, was followed by the development of different facilities and client groups.

Sue Berry FSA has studied resorts for some time, as part of her broader interest in economic and social change between about 1750 and 1850 and its impact. She usually uses Sussex, where she lives for case studies but always sets them within the appropriate national context.  She has published articles, books and chapters in books about the period.

The talks starts at 6.30pm. Joining details will be sent to attendees the day before.

Georgian Group members are eligible for a discount on their ticket by entering GGMEMBER at the checkout.

***This talk will be recorded. The recording will be available to all those who have purchased a ticket for a limited period of time after the event takes place***

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(Tuesday) 6:30 pm

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