Weston-super-Mare: The History of Somerset's Seaside Gem

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Release Date: 2003
Exempt from classification
Region coding:
Not region coded
Running Time:
75 minutes
1st Take Video

Do you have happy memories of a trip to the seaside at Weston-super-Mare? Did you arrive by paddle steamer from Wales, or look forward to that essential ride on a donkey? Then this presentation, filmed during the best summer in living memory, is for you.

Weston’s story begins with the earliest settlers who built Worlebury Hillfort two thousand years ago. Find out about the 18th century plant hunters, geologists and antiquarians who discovered rare specimens on the undisturbed beaches.

The first tourists came in Georgian times, ‘roughing it’ in local cottages while gradually the features of a resort were built – piers, hotels, shops and theatres. By 1900 Weston was a thriving resort welcoming thousands of holidaymakers throughout the summer months. Discover local characters and stories of the people who built the town, including extended features on Birnbeck Pier and the Grand Pier, illustrated by remarkable photographs and memorabilia.

Previously unreleased archive film from 1935 shows the naming of a new motor lifeboat by the Duke of Kent and there is also a fascinating glimpse of holidaymakers at leisure in the inter-war period.

Weston suffered badly during the Second World War. Hear about the blitzes, the stories of evacuees and GIs. What were the secret weapons being developed on Birnbeck Pier?

An excerpt of colour archive film shows Weston in all its glory during the 1950s and 1960s, as the great British seaside holiday enjoyed a revival.

Researched and presented by local historian and author Sharon Poole, this is a real treat for anyone with an interest in Weston-super-Mare.

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