From buttoned-up era to bathing belles’ beachwear

Northney Holiday Camp's bathing belles in the early 1930s.     Picture: Paul Costen
Northney Holiday Camp's bathing belles in the early 1930s. Picture: Paul Costen
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

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A summer’s day on the beach at Hayling Island and there’s not an inch of uncovered flesh to be seen.

The four bathing machines at the water’s edge give a clue to the buttoned-up era.

Not a thigh to be seen - the beach at Hayling Island in 1913.    Picture: Paul Costen

Not a thigh to be seen - the beach at Hayling Island in 1913. Picture: Paul Costen

According to the stamp on this photograph it was 1913, about a year before the start of the First World War after which nothing would ever be the same and Edwardian dress would be gone forever.

The second picture moves of the bathing belles moves us on about 20 years to the early 1930s when Harry Warner opened his first Warner’s holiday camp at Northney.

Times had certainly changed. We had had the Roaring Twenties and young women had no qualms about exposing their legs and shoulders in their one-piece costumes.

The Northney camp occupied 36 acres and could accommodate 850 guests.

It opened in 1931 and was used throughout the Second World War as HMS Northney.

It closed and was demolished in the 1980s, but in 1951 Holiday Camps magazine description of it was glowing:

‘Its spirit of friendliness, its setting in the beautiful countryside by the waters of Chichester Harbour, and the bracing Hayling Island climate have given Northney a popularity that has grown with the years,’ it said.

· Pictures from the collection of Waterlooville photographer and collector Paul Costen at costen.co.uk