Southport is not an ancient town. Barely 200 years old, its development began in the early 19th century as a seaside resort in the isolated parish of North Meols. The merchants and industrialists from inland Lancashire who first popularised the resort, increasingly regarded it as a socially advantaged residential town.
In his well researched and perceptive text, the author explores the tensions between middle-class residents and those who sought quick profits from the 'tripper trade' . He demonstrates the importance of the landowners and the advantages when ownership is concentrated in few hands. The new residents shared the aspirations of the landowners for Southport. They formed a ruling elite, responsible for building the town's wealth of churches and chapels and, as magistrates, for restricting grants of liquor licences. In the later decades of the 19th century their battle was won as Southport lost ground as a resort but became pre-eminent as a residential retreat for the retired and the leisured classes.
Having avoided becoming another Blackpool in the 19th century, Southport has seen some changes during the 20th. As its importance as a middle-class commuter dormitory declined, the number of small industrial and commercial enterprises increased. The town's status as a regional shopping centre has survived, whilst golf courses and nature reserves threaten to overtake the traditional seaside attractions for visitors. Significantly, its importance as a haven for the elderly and the infirm continues - indeed increases.
It is not surprising that a wealth of pictures survives, recording Southport and its people in vivid, visual detail, throughout its history, most of which falls within the era of photography. The author has made skilful use of carefully selected pictures to illustrate his text, each informatively captioned, together with contemporary maps. This hardback book provides a fascinating and compelling picture of Southport's past and the making of the modern town.
The book is available from local booksellers, or by post from:
The Secretary, BAHRS
102 Dunbar Road
Post and packing:
USA, Canada: £5.20,
Australia, New Zealand, Japan: £6.00
Please add £5.00 bank handling charge if remittance not in sterling .
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