The ‘Now and Then’ column with Aled Jones: Changes at Victoria Terraces

Avid vintage postcard collector and regular contributor to the photographs page Aled Jones has found two more ‘now and then’ scenes for our readers to enjoy.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 9:44 am
This vintage postcard shows the old Victorian sea wall and promenade.
This vintage postcard shows the old Victorian sea wall and promenade.

This time he focuses on Victoria Terraces, inspired by an excellent sepia postcard, and contrasts the area via a modern photograph.

Mr Jones said: “An important day in the history of Bridlington was the opening of the spacious Victoria Terraces by the Lord Mayor of London in 1906, marking a key point from which the town developed into a modern-day resort.

“The vintage postcard under the spotlight this week stirs echoes of a far-off time as it shows the old Victorian sea wall and promenade prior to this construction work.

The area as it looks now is captured by Aled Jones.

“It was posted on August 8, 1904 to the village of Longwood, Huddersfield, and when compared with the modern photographic ‘replication’ the changes are truly startling.

“The crowd of people standing to the right of the postcard are very smartly dressed and show how ‘upmarket’ Bridlington was in Edwardian times.

“They occupy the same area that’s now directly in front of Leisure World.

“As you can observe the path has been considerably widened and sturdy railings added.

“They’re inquisitively looking down at holidaymakers taking a stroll along a very narrow strip of promenade that comprised the late 19th century seafront, below which there was an even narrower wooden ‘board-walk’ with steps down to the north beach.

“It was known locally as the Victoria Wall or Royal Prince’s Parade extension, and on busy days must have been highly crowded.

Note the sizeable crowd of people on the beach who are clearly enjoying an entertainment act of some kind, possibly a show by the renowned Waterloo Pierrot troupe, led by the unforgettably named Beanland brothers.

“Observe, too, the little stalls on the beach selling welcome drinks and ice cream. There also appears to be a long wooden pier or jetty built into the beach, was this used for rowing boat trips around the bay?

“The prominent building in the centre background is the Victoria Rooms, which was built as public rooms in 1846. Its primary function was for concerts and meetings, especially the former, and among those who famously starred there were Charlie Chaplin and the D’Oyly Carte opera company.

“It’s quite interesting to note how much actual beach area was forever lost when the Victoria Terraces came into being, as a glance at the comparison photograph vividly exemplifies.”