Tuesday 19 July 2022

Holiday Snaps!

Is your phone full of photos that you haven’t got round to printing yet? Before the advent of smartphones, most of us kept collections of holiday snaps - and since photography became popular and accessible from the late 19th century, our ancestors did too. 

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies has a large collection of photographs - many available on Cheshire Image Bank. Here is a selection of our photographs of holidays, from luxury overseas travel in the early 20th century, to the traditional British seaside break. 

These early ‘staycations’ of days out on the beach were taken on Wallasey beach on the Wirral. The photograph below left shows children enjoying the seaside during the 1890s, and below right an unknown group is pictured on the same beach during the 1910s. 


Do you remember having a donkey ride on the beach as a child? These donkeys (below left) were pictured on Hoylake beach in 1911. They took visitors – some in carriages – over to Hilbre Island. The colour image below right is a scene from West Kirby beach, taken during the 1910s. We can just make out some donkeys standing in the background! 


Some people were fortunate to undertake extensive travel abroad, and we have a record of one such family from over a hundred years ago. The Bates family of Hinderton Hall near Neston kept a journal of a motoring holiday in France, Spain and Portugal in 1908. They had their car shipped to Lisbon via La Rochelle and planned to,
“return home in the aforesaid motor via Boulogne, Folkestone and other ports and/or places on the way, having liberty to call at ports in any order and to sail or travel with or without pilots or chauffeurs, until the said motor should arrive at Hinderton Hall Neston Cheshire England and so end the voyage.” 


Here is a photograph from the journal showing their car being loaded onto a ship: 

The journal contains photographs of the places they visited, some of which are still popular destinations today - such as the harbour at La Rochelle and the chateau at Blois in France; the town of Leiria and the hermits cells of Bussaco in Portugal; and the famous Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. 


Other holidays were taken much closer to home. The images below were taken on the Cheshire Broads near Winsford. On the left is an advertisement from 1930 for holiday bungalows at the edge of the Flashes near Wharton; and on the right is a group holidaying at the bungalows around that time. 


Camping and caravanning holidays started to become popular in the early twentieth century, and we have photos of them in one of our collections - the records of the Baker family of Runcorn. Chemist and university lecturer Harry Baker (1859-1935) was a prolific amateur photographer from the 1880s to the 1920s, and his collection includes images of his family on holidays, including going camping:



Don’t forget Cheshire Archives and Local Studies also holds a wide range of holiday images from before people had access to cameras, including sketches and paintings of holidays scenes, and travel diaries.  A selection can be seen in our Travel Plans blog. 

If you’re going away this summer, don’t forget to take some photos – and then print them out! We wish you a happy holiday. 

All these images and more can be viewed at Cheshire Record Office in Chester. Cheshire Image Bank is available at 

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