The nostalgia of a traditional weekend by the sea is to be celebrated in a new exhibition.
Named after the well-known song of the same name, ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ the exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery will be open from June 20 to August 28 in the special exhibition gallery.
The well-known song was first recorded in 1909 by the famous music hall singer of the day, Mark Sheridan and its success was due to the ever growing numbers of British seaside holiday makers.
The exhibition was inspired by Shropshire Museums’ remarkable collection of early 20th century glass lantern slides of Edwardians enjoying the sea air.
Unlike a lot of portrait photographs of the period, many of those on show are very informal and show a more relaxed side of Edwardian life.
The display of images is accompanied by items from Shropshire Museums’ collection including costume and contemporary holiday souvenirs. The exhibition also allows visitors to enjoy a wide range of activities for the family based on ‘end of the pier’ entertainment.
Emma-Kate Lanyon, curator of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, said: “These slides were the holiday snaps of the time. They give us a rare glimpse into the lives of holiday-makers some 100 years ago.”
Among the highlights are a replica bathing machine built at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm, a selection of railway posters evoking the time when packed trains left Shrewsbury heading for the Welsh coast, a rock pool and beach, Punch and Judy and a display of period bathing costumes.
The story of the British seaside is explored from the heyday of the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the period of post-war decline as car ownership grew and many people sought out the sunshine of the Spanish Costas.
Stuart West, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member culture and leisure, said: “This exhibition is a great opportunity to showcase our wonderful collection of Edwardian photos of coastal resorts and people enjoying the sea during its golden age. The story of the British seaside is a fascinating one that we can tell with some wonderful exhibits. I look forward to seeing it.”
Admission to all galleries including special exhibitions is £4.50 for adults, children aged five to 17 cost £2, students will cost £3.60, and a person of state pension age will cost £4. A family of one adult and three children will cost £7, and a family of two adults and three children will cost £10.