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W & Co Ltd: the Edwardian seaside

Reproduced by permission of Historic EnglandThe seaside developed as a holiday destination for the masses in the later 19th century, assisted by the coming of the railway. The art of photography was also developing at this time, and the portrait shot and postcard view were the stock-in-trade of the itinerant photographer and established firm alike.

W & Company Ltd photographed in the period 1890-1910, a golden age for the English seaside. The surviving collection concentrates in particular upon the resorts of the Kent (convenient for Londoners) and Lancashire (for Manchester and Liverpool) coast; especially Margate, Ramsgate, Deal, and Herne Bay in Kent and Blackpool, Lytham, Southport and New Brighton in Lancashire and Merseyside.

The photographs may have been intended for use as picture postcards - each has its location overprinted in white. They capture the flavour of the late Victorian and Edwardian seaside.

In addition to seaside resorts, a number of towns and other inland locations are included in the collection, most notably Canterbury and Liverpool.

The identity of W & Co is uncertain, though it could possibly have been Walker & Co of Margate.

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