Summer by the Sea at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
‘Oh! I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside’ Recalls the Edwardian Holiday Experience.
In 1909 the famous music hall singer of the day, Mark Sheridan, recorded the song “Oh! I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside“. The huge success of the song at the time was due to the ever growing numbers of British seaside holiday makers. Today the song is associated with the nostalgia of a traditional weekend by the sea: an experience celebrated by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery’s exhibition of the same name. It will be open from 20th June to 28th August in the Special Exhibition Gallery.
The exhibition was inspired by Shropshire Museums’ remarkable collection of early twentieth century glass lantern slides of Edwardians enjoying the sea air. “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.” says Emma-Kate Lanyon, Shropshire Museums’ Curator. Unlike many portrait photographs of the period, many of these pictures are often very informal and show another, more relaxed, side of Edwardian life.
This superb display of images is complemented by items from Shropshire Museums’ collection including costume and contemporary holiday souvenirs. The exhibition also allows visitors to enjoy some of the many delights of a coastal resort with a wide range of activities for all the family based on ‘end of the pier’ entertainments.
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: a display of period bathing costumes and much more.
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 took to the air, bound for the reliable sunshine of Spanish Costas.
Cllr Stuart West, Cabinet Member for Museums at Shropshire Council 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.”
Date Posted: 10th June 2016