How they did like to be beside the seaside – The Property Chronicle
Select your region of interest:

Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions

How they did like to be beside the seaside

The Historian


The English mania for seaside holidays predated the railways – but the arrival of the steam train supercharged it

Seaside resorts and inland watering places have a long history in England. “One would think the English are ducks,” wrote Horace Walpole in 1790; “they are forever waddling to the waters.”

Walpole was writing at a time when the most prominent resorts were increasing sharply in size. Travel times from London to Brighton and Bath had been much reduced by the introduction of mail coaches in 1784. By the 1820s the Margate hoys had been superseded by 

steamers, which did the journey down the Thames in eight hours. In the first half of the 19th century, towns to which people travelled for purposes of health and recreation actually expanded at a faster rate than manufacturing towns (though from a much lower base).

The railways cut journey times still further and brought about major growth in seaside towns, as well as the establishment of new settlements, often encouraged by the railway companies themselves (for example in North Wales). 

The Historian

About David Hodgkins

David Hodgkins was a career civil servant in the Ministry of Labour and latterly under secretary in the Department of Employment and Health and Safety Executive. Since retirement he has written articles and several books on railway history, concentrating on the business aspects, notablyThe Second Railway King, the Life and Times of Sir Edward Watkin. 1819-1901, and George Carr Glyn, Railwayman and Banker, which deals with his part in the building up of the London and Birmingham and London and North Western Railways, both of which he chaired, and the relations between Glyn’s Bank and railways.

Articles by David Hodgkins

Subscribe to our magazine now!