Seaside holidays, 1924-1972

causeway


At the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, 40,000 interlocking basalt columns are stacked together on the beach like puzzle pieces, the result of either a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago or a rock fight between two giants. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are 39 feet high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 92 feet thick in places. (source: Wikipedia)

I got thinking about the Giant’s Causeway today when I was sorting old family photos and I found this shot of my great-grandmother, Harriet Burgess.

Harriet Burgess at the Giant's Causeway ca. 1950

Harriet Burgess at the Giant’s Causeway

 

Seaside holidays were popular in Britain, even for lower-middle-class folk like the Burgesses. Some years before the visit to the Giant’s Causeway, these studio portraits were taken on a family holiday to Blackpool:

Harriet Burgess, Blackpool, September 6, 1924

Harriet Burgess, Blackpool, September 6, 1924

Annie and Lilian Burgess, Blackpool, September 6, 1924, ages 9 and 11

Annie and Lilian Burgess, Blackpool, September 6, 1924, ages 9 and 11

 

Harriet and Leonard Burgess had four daughters: Hannah (Nan) born in 1905, my grandmother Betsy in 1907, Lilian in 1913, and Annie Victoria in 1915. Annie went blind in the 1940s and changed her name to Vicky because she said she felt like a different person than the one who could see. This portrait, taken in 1916, is the only photograph I’ve ever seen of the four girls together.

Burgess sisters, 1916: Betsy, Annie, Hannah, and Lilian

Burgess sisters, 1916: Betsy, Annie, Hannah, and Lilian

 

My grandmother left England in 1926 at age 19 and was estranged from her family for over 40 years. She and her sisters reunited in the 1970s and enjoyed a few more seaside holidays together. This one was at Long Beach, Vancouver Island, in 1972.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island, 1972. My mom Lorraine, second from the right, surveying the horizon. The others, right to left, are my grandmother Betsy, her sister Nan, and Nan's partner Sid.

My mom Lorraine, second from the right, surveying the horizon. Her mom Betsy on the far right with binoculars. Nan Burgess (green dress) and Nan’s life partner Sid Siddons on the left.


Photo of the Giant’s Causeway by Causeway Cycle Adventures: http://causewaycycleadventures.co.uk/new/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/causeway.jpg

2 Responses to “Seaside holidays, 1924-1972”

  1. mariko

    very cool, my daughter happened upon some old pictures of lou and john goodwin cleaning up. we were wondering if anyone would like to see them.

    Reply
    • commatologist commatologist

      Yes, yes, yes! I’d love to see them, and I’m sure my sisters and some of the cousins would, too. Thanks, Mariko.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS