Seaside holidays 2: the beach
This General View of the Beach at Folkestone was painted in 1838, at the start of the Victorian era. It shows people enjoying a day at the seaside. They are wearing clothes and swimming costumes very different to the ones we have today.
In Victorian times people covered up their bodies much more than today. This was for modesty and to prevent them getting sunburnt (pale skin was fashionable and a sign of wealth and breeding). Ladies often carried parasols, small umbrellas to shade them from the sun.
In the foreground two children are enjoying a paddle. Others are sitting on or walking along the beach. Some more adventurous visitors are enjoying a sail or row in some small boats.
This view shows the beach at the Lower Leas, looking towards a distant Folkestone Harbour.
Can you spot some white painted bathing machines? Wealthy people got changed inside these enclosed carriages on wheels which were pulled down the beach into the sea. It allowed them to have a private swim without being seen.