The ‘Now and Then’ column with Aled Jones: Rowing boats for hire once packed Bridlington harbour

In this week’s ‘Now and Then’ column, regular contributor Aled Jones turns his attention to Bridlington Harbour.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 2:41 pm
This postcard was colourised, bringing an otherwise dull scene to life.
This postcard was colourised, bringing an otherwise dull scene to life.

Mr Jones, who collects vintage postcards of Bridlington, sent in a classic view of the harbour from the south pier along with a modern day version of the scene.

Mr Jones said: “This lovely old postcard shows a splendid view across Bridlington Harbour from the south pier and dates to the later 1940s or very early 1950s. Originally a monochrome picture, the publisher has done a wonderful job of colourisation, bringing an otherwise dull scene to life.

“The postcard harks back to a time of freedom, when excessive health and safety laws hadn’t been invented. A time when a trip on a rowing boat was an intrinsic part of a summer holiday at Bridlington.

The harbour scene as it looks today.

“Holidays were simpler and more relaxed back then, visitors would take rowing boat trips around the harbour and out to sea and, in the evening, enjoy a musical show at the much-loved setting of the Floral Pavilion.

Home of traditional orchestra and dance, the venue was situated in the middle of Prince’s Parade, and first opened its doors in 1904. Period photographs show that it was filled with hanging baskets and seats lined up around a central bandstand.

“As you can note, there are many fine rowing boats pictured in the postcard, some with passengers onboard. Sadly, I think that we shall never see a sight as sublime as this again in Bridlington.

“The bygone image depicted in the postcard will bring back memories for many people of a Brid Harbour packed with rowing boats of all different sizes and builds, providing a great source of income during the summer months for local townsfolk.

“Rowing boats were available to hire from several points in the harbour, including the central jetty and wooden landing stage.

“In addition to rowing boat trips there were several passenger steamers which ran from the harbour, such as the Yorkshireman, the Boy’s Own and the Yorkshire Belle. Today only the latter is still in active service, as it has been every season since 1947.

“Let’s not forget, too, the importance of photography in the period.

“The harbour would’ve been teeming with cameramen who were working for the many photo shops operating in the town – taking snaps of people enjoying the boat trips or just sat on the harbour eating an ice cream. One of the most popular photo outlets was, of course, Brigham’s (Mr Snaps), so prominently featured in the postcard.

“The modern photographic comparison shows the same beautiful view as it appears today, but was taken from a much higher elevation than the original postcard, namely the South Pier offices building.”