The ‘Now and Then column with Aled Jones: A wave of nostalgia on the cards

This week’s ‘Now and then’ column, centred around Aled Jones’ excellent vintage postcard and photo comparisons, focuses on waves along Bridlington’s sea wall.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 1:31 pm
This colourised postcard, entitled ‘Storm at Bridlington, is exactly 103 years old.
This colourised postcard, entitled ‘Storm at Bridlington, is exactly 103 years old.

Mr Jones said: “This week’s vintage postcard is a dramatic one to say the least.

“Entitled ‘Storm at Bridlington,’ it shows a huge wave crashing towards the sea defences in front of Prince’s Parade, set against the elegant backdrop of Bridlington’s old Grand Pavilion Theatre.

“Trying to ‘replicate’ it has been a real labour of love for me, the most ambitious photo project I’ve known. It sure wasn’t easy, but as luck would have it, one day a fierce storm blew over and I was able to capture the same raw power of the original picture.

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A modern day photo of a wave along Bridlington’s seafront.

“Postcards relating to stormy seas were very popular in coastal resorts 100 years ago, with thousands sold in Bridlington alone.

“This postcard is 103 years old and has been beautifully colourised. It was delivered in 1919 to an address in Harrogate, with the sender complaining that Bridlington ‘is not quite as fashionable a place as Harrogate’.

“There was, at least, some truth in this assertion. And yet, for a Yorkshire seaside resort ten decades ago, Bridlington was a hive of high fashion!

“This is because people came to the resort to ‘see and be seen’. Back then, having a walk along the Prince’s Parade in your best bib and tucker was as much a part of a holiday in Bridlington as a paddle in the sea. The ‘promenaders,’ as they were called, would show off their grand outfits as they strolled up and down the seafront.

“Prince’s Parade is where the famed Floral Hall was situated (now the Pavilion seafront café and bar). The interior had hanging baskets full of flowers and outside was a spectacular garden that included both a floral staircase and floral clock.

“Many gala evenings were held in the Floral Hall during which the whole Parade would be lit up by thousands of fairy lamps and Chinese lanterns.

“What a magical sight it must have been. No wonder Bridlington was in the top 10 English seaside destinations before and after WW1.

“It is the old Grand Pavilion, built in 1906 but demolished only 30 years later, that captures the limelight in the vintage postcard. It was a largely wooden building with an Oriental appearance. The theatre offered plenty of room as there was seating for 2,000 people.

“A new Grand Pavilion was erected in the Victoria Terrace Gardens in 1937, afterwards known as the famous 3B’s Theatre. Clearly evident in both the postcard and modern photo is the tall spire of Holy Trinity Church. Situated at the top side of Promenade, it was built in 1871 thanks to sponsorship from the Lloyd Greame family of Sewerby Hall.

“It is one of the few Bridlington landmarks that is visible well out to sea.”