The Seaside | Granta

  • Published: 04/05/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783787173
  • Granta Books
  • 400 pages

The Seaside

Madeleine Bunting

England’s seaside is made up of a striking variety of coastlines including cliffs, coves, pebbled shore, wide sandy beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries cutting deep inland. On these coastal edges England’s great holiday resorts grew up, developed in the early eighteenth century originally as spas for medicinal bathing but soon morphing into places of pleasure, entertainment, fantasy and adventure.

Acclaimed writer Madeleine Bunting journeyed clockwise around England from Scarborough to Blackpool to understand the enduring appeal of seaside towns, and what has happened to the golden sands, cold seas and donkey rides of childhood memory. Taking in some forty resorts, staying in hotels, caravans and holiday camps, she swims from their beaches and talks to their residents to delve into their landscapes, histories and contemporary plight.

Once thriving, innovative places and leaders of architectural innovation, many are now struggling with the deepest deprivation and ill health in the country. Yet they still act as a bellwether for our nation, and in the stories of their poverty and neglect, Bunting finds that these holiday towns – so influential in England’s history and in the shaping of our national identity – speak powerfully to the character and political state of England today.

I enjoyed this very much. We all have happy seaside memories , and even though Bunting, too, finds the reason for our resorts' decline in in the fact that they were beaten to the sunburned pound and Kiss Me Quick Hat by the Costa This or That, I'd very much like her to be taken at her word and employed to revive their fortunes. Gauleiter Bunting has an authentic whiff of whelk about it'

Jeremy Paxman

The Author

Madeleine Bunting was for many years a columnist for the Guardian, which she joined in 1990. Bunting read History at Cambridge and Politics at Harvard. She is the author of many non-fiction books, including The Plot: A Biography of My Father’s English Acre, which won the Portico Prize, and Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey, which was shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize and the Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year. She has also written a novel, Island Song. She lives in London.

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