Beach style 1906 : Linley Sambourne at the seaside

There was a heat wave in 1906 throughout the whole of the British Isles, quite late in the year at the end of August and the early days of September. Edward Linley Sambourne went to the coast as thousands of others did, and with him as usual went his camera.

In temperatures of 90 degrees the wind blowing off the sea must have been refreshing even though it also presented a challenge to these three women who are literally hanging on to their hats. Here are some others with the same difficulty:

Despite the heat holiday makers were wearing their normal clothes with few concessions to the weather.

Even on the beach, where Sambourne is still catching women unawares:

Has he woken this woman from her nap while her friend sleeps on? And caught the two below in another unguarded moment

I think he must be working with the hidden camera again, especially in this picture.

I’m quite certain that she wouldn’t have been pleased to be pictured emerging from the water like this in her modern bathing costume.

These pictures were taken at Brighton and Folkestone during the heat wave. Earlier in the year in July Sambourne had been in Weymouth where he captures the busy atmosphere of the crowded beach.

He may have crossed the Channel to Weymouth from Ostende where he had been a few days earlier. Here’s a picture taken on the boat.

Another woman having difficulty with a sea breeze. The same day Sambourne had been on the beach at Ostende.

A young woman goes barefoot to walk up the paved slope from the beach.

Another group of women go bathing making use of that curious Victorian invention the bathing machine:

And at the end of the afternoon when the crowds have thinned out, a more stylish young woman goes for a stroll. That was always my favourite time of day on the beach.

Earlier in the year Sambourne made another channel crossing, but this time his main photographic subject was this woman and her husband.

In the original version of this post I thought that they must be Sambourne’s daughter Maud and her husband Lennie. But after looking at some other photos of Maud and consulting Sambourne’s diary a Sambourne expert has shown that he was travelling alone on this trip. So Sambourne must have struck up an acquaintance with the couple. He was certainly persistent in his desire to catch the woman on camera, following her around the ship as she was buffeted by the wind.

Finally she takes shelter, but Sambourne is still snapping away.

She is probably wishing her new friend would just stop taking pictures for a while. But photography is an obsession, luckily for us.

As I’ve had to revise this post now we know who the couple on the boat are not I have an opportunity to thank the staff at Leighton House and Linley Sambourne House for putting up with me writing about their man. Both places are worth a visit if you’re in Kensington and if you want to read more about Sambourne Shirley Nicholson’s book A Victorian Household based on the diaries of Sambourne’s wife Marion is still available from Amazon and other online retailers.

10 responses to “Beach style 1906 : Linley Sambourne at the seaside

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