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When the introduction of cheap snapshot cameras coincided with more leisure time for ordinary folk, they flocked to the seaside to record their sunny memories.

At the seaside when the sun shines one person in ten carries a Kodak or some other form of hand camera… every errand boy and nursemaid carries one at the seaside.

The Amateur Photographer, 1903

Seaside snaps postcard, National Media Museum Collection
Seaside snaps postcard, Science Museum Group collection

The seaside is probably the most popular location for snapshot photography. The introduction of cheap, easy-to-use snapshot cameras before the First World War, such as the Brownie, coincided with a growth in leisure time for ordinary working people.

People flocked to the seaside on trains and in charabancs and many of them took along their cameras to record their sunny memories—building sandcastles, paddling in the sea or just dozing in a deckchair. As the adverts proclaimed: ‘A holiday without a Kodak is a holiday wasted’.

There are many examples of seaside snapshots in our collection—here’s a small selection.

Taking a group photograph on the beach, c. 1910, National Media Museum Collection
Taking a group photograph on the beach, c. 1910, Science Museum Group collection
Group on beach listening to gramophone, c.1935, National Media Museum Collection
Group on beach listening to gramophone, c.1935, Science Museum Group collection
Man and small child paddling in the sea, c.1910, National Media Museum Collection
Man and small child paddling in the sea, c.1910, Science Museum Group collection
Three beauty contestants, c.1930, National Media Museum Collection
Three beauty contestants, c.1930, Science Museum Group collection
Bathing machines at edge of sea, c.1900, National Media Museum Collection
Bathing machines at edge of sea, c.1900, Science Museum Group collection
Sea bathing, c.1913, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Sea bathing, c.1913, Science Museum Group collection
Four children on a beach, c. 1935, National Media Museum Collection
Four children on a beach, c. 1935, Science Museum Group collection
Lighting a cigarette, c. 1930, National Media Museum Collection
Lighting a cigarette, c. 1930, Science Museum Group collection
Seaside piggyback, 1935, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Seaside piggyback, 1935, Science Museum Group collection
Two children in a sand boat, c.1930, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Two children in a sand boat, c.1930, Science Museum Group collection
Women running on a beach, c.1925, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Women running on a beach, c.1925, Science Museum Group collection
Two women and a dog on the beach, c.1940, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Two women and a dog on the beach, c.1940, Science Museum Group collection
Young boy on a beach after a swim, c.1935, National Media Museum / SSPL
Young boy on a beach after a swim, c.1935, Science Museum Group collection
Girl with a Brownie camera, c.1900, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Girl with a Brownie camera, c.1900, Science Museum Group collection
Christina on the Beach
Christina on the Beach, 1913, Mervyn O’Gorman © Royal Photographic Society Collection
Girl looking in a rock pool, c.1890, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Girl looking in a rock pool, c.1890, Science Museum Group collection
Woman leaps over rope on beach, c.1935, National Media Museum Collection
Woman leaps over rope on beach, c.1935, Science Museum Group collection
Children paddling in the sea, c.1890, National Media Museum Collection / SSPL
Children paddling in the sea, c.1890, Science Museum Group collection
Woman taking a photograph, c.1935, National Media Museum Collection
Woman taking a photograph, c.1935, Science Museum Group collection
Kodak poster, c.1925, C.E. Turner, National Media Museum Collection
Kodak poster, c.1925, C.E. Turner, Science Museum Group collection

One comment on “Seaside snapshots: A holiday without a camera is a holiday wasted

  1. Pingback: Commercial beach photography and reflex operators at the seaside | National Media Museum blog

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