At our April meeting, Ann Kneif talked on the History of Kentish seaside resorts to 1914. Cold seawater baths were recommended by Henry VIII’s own physician in the 16th century, but it was not until the 18th century that the health benefits of seawater and sea air became popular with the wealthy. In 1796 the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital opened in Margate for treating poorer Londoners.
As transport links improved from boats and stagecoaches to railways, so the popularity of the seaside increased. As working people gained more leisure time, so the seaside became enjoyed by all classes and many resorts grew up. Piers- originally just landing stages- developed into places of entertainment. All sorts were provided for at the seaside, from dancing to donkey rides. Ann illustrated her talk with a great number of contemporary cartoons and postcards.
Our next meeting is 7 for 7.30, Wednesday 16 May. Following a brief A.G.M., members will give the following talks: Janet & John Robinson ‘A postcard from Birchington’-about the postcard’s view of old buildings in Birchington, and also the First World War soldier who sent it ; Chris Emmorey ‘ The life and times of Mrs. Beeton-a reflection of social change’, focussing on the great social changes in mid-Victorian England; and Colin Winstone ‘ I thought I was all alone’ – how Colin discovered family he didn’t know he had. Non members are welcome to attend for £2.