In pictures: Blackpool beach through time

With its soaring tower, Punch and Judy shows and popular donkey rides, in the late 19th and 20th centuries Blackpool beach became one of the country's most popular seaside excursions

(GERMANY OUT) United Kingdom - England - Blackpool: People on the beach and Blackpool Tower - undatedVintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The construction of railways in the Victorian period meant days out to the seaside became more accessible for people from all parts of Britain: a weekend at the beach was ideal for those looking to enjoy a short holiday.

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Blackpool Tower first opened to the public in 1894, and has since become an iconic tourist attraction. Along with its cockles and whelks stalls, buckets and spades and seaside entertainers, Blackpool was seen as the idyllic – and a largely affordable – getaway for families and couples throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries.

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Here, we look at Blackpool beach through the decades…

The beach at Blackpool in c1880, before the tower was built. (Credit: London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)
The beach at Blackpool in c1880, before the tower was built. (Credit: London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)
Crowds gather at the beach in c1920. (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
Crowds gather at the beach in c1920. (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
Two holidaymakers enjoy the heatwave on the beach at Blackpool in July 1934. (Credit: E Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Two holidaymakers enjoy the heatwave on the beach at Blackpool in July 1934. (Credit: E Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Three girls enjoy a game of cricket on the beach in 1937. (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Three girls enjoy a game of cricket on the beach in 1937. (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A staff sergeant makes sandcastles for his granddaughter at Blackpool beach while on leave in 1943. (Credit: George W Hales/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A staff sergeant makes sandcastles for his granddaughter at Blackpool beach while on leave in 1943. (Credit: George W Hales/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A couple buys seafood at Blackpool beach in 1945. (Credit: Ian Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A couple buys seafood at Blackpool beach in 1945. (Credit: Ian Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Men 500ft up Blackpool Tower where repairs are being carried out in 1947. The promenade and beach are clearly visible below. (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Men 500ft up Blackpool Tower where repairs are being carried out in 1947. The promenade and beach are clearly visible below. (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Two holidaymakers enjoy a donkey ride on the beach in c1954. (Credit: John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Getty Images)
Two holidaymakers enjoy a donkey ride on the beach in c1954. (Credit: John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Getty Images)
Sunbathers on Blackpool beach in 1954. (Credit: John Chillingworth/Getty Images)
Sunbathers on Blackpool beach in 1954. (Credit: John Chillingworth/Getty Images)
Ten dancers from a music hall troop present the new collection from the fashion designer Angela Cash on Blackpool beach in 1965. (Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Ten dancers from a music hall troop present the new collection from the fashion designer Angela Cash on Blackpool beach in 1965. (Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)