Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What my grandparents wore to the beach

I guess this was taken on the beach at Filey in the late 1950s. Left to right: my maternal grandfather Leonard, me, my grandmother Lois (pronounced Loyce.)

That's how my grandparents dressed to go to the seaside. If they were going to be seen in public there was no question of not putting on their best. Leonard wore a shirt (possibly with a stiff collar), tie, stout sweater, equally substantial trousering, golfing socks, highly-polished shoes and his best cap. Lois appears to be wearing pearls and is certainly guarding her best handbag.

I never saw my grandad out in public in a shirt without a tie. The very notion of him owning a pair of shorts would have seemed disrespectful. You could say the same about granny and trousers.

Granny and grandad weren't in any way posh but they were profoundly respectable. The clothes they wore were the outward expression of that respectability. Particularly on the beach.


  1. Wonderful! A time when people considered others too.

  2. I can imagine that this may have been taken on a Sunday, hence the pearls and best cap. My grandparent's Sunday best went on in the morning and stayed on all day no matter what the circumstances.

    Remember when Sunday wasn't just a slightly truncated version of Saturday?

  3. I saw an old family cine film from the late 50's, and my grandfather is sitting in a deckchair on the beach in a three piece black suit and a Homburg hat.

  4. Lovely stuff. I have similar photos taken in the 50s. Seldom, if ever, seen nowadays (and probably banned from most beaches along with cigarettes) the pipe is a nice touch.

  5. My grandparents were the same. Always a suit for Grandad Bill, at his most casual - the collar was sometimes freed from his shirt. Although my nan, I always think of wearing a chintzy pinny.

    On the few occasions I met my nan's elder sister - she was puffed up in Hinge and Bracket Black Victoriana gowns. She seemed like a visitor from history - which she was in a way.

    The presentation of respectability and distancing of working class thriftiness - was the drive behind Elvis' flash and tat. Denim was associated with poverty and the depression

  6. No grown ups seen wearing a football shirt...... a time to cherish.

  7. Of course, in those days we all believed we would dress like that too when we grew up, because that's how grown-ups dressed.

    Whereas in fact, instead of growing up to dress like our grandparents, we now dress like our grandchildren.

  8. My Grandad was not one for the Speedo banana hammocks look either

  9. Check out my Nanna and Pop, Eastbourne, 1963. They're on the front row, furthest right.

  10. When was young we lived in Southend so my Mum's Londoner parents came to us for the summer.

    The only time my Granddad took his tie off was in the house and on rare occasions in the garden.

    He once made my Dad put a tie on when we went to the pictures to see The Love Bug!

  11. An old uncle of mine, now deceased, wore a shirt, tie, trousers and braces - and a trilby hat - when eating Sunday lunch.

  12. Anonymous11:33 am


    "[Grandad] once made my Dad put a tie on when we went to the pictures to see The Love Bug!"

    Did your dad demur, even if briefly? Did he wear a tie next time he took you - sans the elder statesman - to the next movieshow? Was this, for a film released the year after the Summer of Love, a tale of generational warfare writ small but important in the P household?

  13. @Gary Parkinson

    I pretty much remember my old man wearing a tie well into the eighties.

    I think he was worried he would bump into my Granddad even though we lived on the south coast by then and
    he still lived in London!

  14. Wonderful stuff. My father has a vast amount of photos like this dating back into the 50's and 60's. They feature himself, my mother her parents and latterly myself and my sister. They are all shot in black and white with everyone dressed properly. The older people all appear to be glowering at the camera. Now that I am approaching my middle years and later I see pictures of myself with the same suspicious look.