We do like to be beside the seaside

John Hepworth and his wife Florrie sitting in deckchairs on the sea front at Cleethorpes. It is not known who the baby was, or the woman on the right.
John Hepworth and his wife Florrie sitting in deckchairs on the sea front at Cleethorpes. It is not known who the baby was, or the woman on the right.

The summer is upon us – with plenty of wind, rain and the odd thunderstorm to confirm this.

But where now we can escape abroad to a warmer climate, nearly 100 years ago the east and west coasts of England would have been the popular destination for the Spen Valley workers.

Much of the Spen area would close down at the same time each year, meaning families could have a break together.

This would have been the same for my grandparents John and Florrie Hepworth.

John worked in the bottle factory at the Junction in Heckmondwike, while Florrie’s job was in a mill.

My grandparents enjoyed trips to Cleethorpes and our family archives include a lovely photo of them sitting in deck chairs on the beach, in their best outfits perhaps more appropriate for the city.

No one is sure when the photo was taken, but at a guess it was the 1930s.

John Hepworth is wearing a suit and a very fancy straw boater and looking very dashing.

Florrie is wearing a fitted jacket with a skirt below the knee.

The 1930s was a serious period in history and this is reflected in the fashion of the time.

We do not know who the child is, or the lady sitting to the right of them.

Photographers would have walked on the beaches, plying their trade by taking pictures of the families enjoying their only break, before going back to work in the mills.

In the 1970s our family never went abroad for summer holidays, the east coast was our destination if we had one at all.

When I was very small the whole family – mum, dad, four brothers and three more sisters stayed in a caravan at Flamborough Head.

Well this isn’t strictly true, we were all at the caravan that is correct, but while my five older brothers and sisters went for the first part of the week, we arrived later on the Wednesday.

We all spent the day together, and then we stayed the second half of the week and the rest of them went home. I also remember that this particular week my sister Gill and I were suffering from chicken pox!

I believe we only had one or two holidays with just mum, dad, Gill and myself, and it was either Bridlington or Scarborough.

We would spend the day at the beach, building sand castles and paddling in the sea.

It was always this simple.

For lunch dad would buy fish and chips to eat on the beach.

My dad, like his dad before, would sit in a deck chair wearing a suit and a hat.

Once my mum told him to take his hat off whilst at the beach as he was supposed to be on holiday, but by the end of the day he burnt his head!