Network to preserve our seaside heritage

Esther Graham, Seaside Heritage Network project manager, pictured in Scarboroughs North Bay. 
�Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media

Esther Graham, Seaside Heritage Network project manager, pictured in Scarboroughs North Bay. �Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media

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A national network of organisations and individuals keen to preserve the UK’s unique seaside heritage is being spearheaded by Scarborough Museums Trust.

The Seaside Heritage Network aims to promote the value of seaside heritage and culture, further understand and research the British seaside and seaside-related collections, locate custodians of seaside heritage, and share vital knowledge and expertise.

Membership will be open to professionals working with seaside collections and all those interested in seaside history, heritage and culture.

The network is being launched as part of a Seaside Heritage project being run by Scarborough Museums Trust, which has a large collection of seaside-related items, and is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

Project manager Esther Graham says: “From the introduction of bathing machines to ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats, the seaside resort culture of the UK is absolutely unique.

“But because a lot of the items relating to the days out at the seaside that we all remember are seen as throwaway, more often than not they’re not preserved: we’re in danger of losing a remarkable part of our collective culture.

“Our new network is open to everyone interested in preserving our seaside heritage, whether they’re members of the public, museums, or heritage organisations.

“And, of course, we’re always interested in receiving donations of objects which will boost the seaside element of our collections.”

Esther says that one of the network’s long-term goals is to kick-start a collections mapping exercise, locating what seaside-related collections are held around the UK.

She adds that, despite being a seaside project, she’s already had contact from a number of inland museums that hold collections relating to the seaside.

A steering group is in place to help develop the network, with members including representatives of Scarborough Museums Trust, Southend Museums Service, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Manx National Heritage, Blackpool Museum project and the National Piers Society, as well as independent, individual members.

Membership of the network will be free for the first year; a small charge may be introduced in the second year to help support with admin costs.