RETRO with Colin Drury: East Coast summers

Plenty of fun for the kids at Bridlington.... as shown by this super slide along the promenade'31st July 1972
Plenty of fun for the kids at Bridlington.... as shown by this super slide along the promenade'31st July 1972
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FISH and chips, donkey rides and windbreaks on the beach?

Ah, welcome to summer holidays before package trips to Florida or all-inclusives to Turkey.

These evocative images show how Sheffielders enjoyed their annual leave when air travel was still the preserve of the super-rich. That is to say, they show Sheffielders en masse in resorts such as Skegness, Scarborough, Bridlington and Cleethorpes.

Now Midweek Retro has pulled them especially from The Star archives to celebrate (what should be) the height of our sunny season.

They were taken by our very own snappers who, throughout the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, were sent to capture readers enjoying their hols.

“It was like Fargate-on-sea at these resorts,” says The Star’s chief photographer Stuart Hastings, who started at the paper in 1968. “We did a coast edition through the summer back then so readers away at the seaside for the week could still find out what was going on back home.

“During works weeks, when the steel factories all shut down for a fortnight, we’d go and photograph people at the seaside. We’d walk along the promenade and we hardly needed to check where holiday-makers came from because virtually everyone there would be from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley or Doncaster.”

What attracted the region’s trippers was easy to see, of course. The amusement arcades, funfair rides, lively shows and sweet stands – not to mention the chance to beat a family member at crazy golf – were all major draws.

“Even the English drizzle seemed to hold off back then,” says author Steve Bush, who wrote about his own childhood trips in Gee’or Ruwerin, a book about growing up in Parson Cross. “I still remember how the days would stretch out when you were there. The big dipper – which really wasn’t that big – was a favourite with kids but there was loads to do, from spending your money on sweets to just building sand castles. I also went as a teenager with friends – and that was great fun too.

And one of the 57-year-old’s favourite stories from those happy days?

“Me and my family would stay in a caravan every year,” recalls the retired communications worker of Paxton Court, Gleadless. “It doesn’t sound much today but the fact it was different made it so exciting to us as kids.

“I remember once we pitched up and started looking round, and just two caravans down were our neighbours.

“We were amazed but that’s what it was like.

“You always bumped into someone you knew – and somehow it was a nicer holiday because of that.”