Description

Dating from 1886, this jolly flier describes not only the Royal Hotel’s grand sea-facing dining room (‘contains 25 windows’), but also its onsite games and land sports (‘Cricketing, Quoits … Horses, Traps & Donkey Rides’). In this emphasis on the grandeur of its location and on the physical culture of its guests, the hotel speaks to a number of growing obsessions among the holidaying British middle class.

Seaside visits and sea bathing had been something of a craze among the aristocracy in the early 19th century, but with the arrival of affordable steamboat and train travel, the apparent benefits of fresh sea air became available to all but the most impoverished urban dwellers. Towns such as Walton-on-the-Naze (in Essex), Margate (in Kent) and Brighton became particularly popular places to stay during the summer months, marking the first concentrated demonstration of the growth of a British leisure class.

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