Liverpool ‘one of the earliest seaside resorts’

In 2008, researchers from the University of Liverpool found diary references to ‘bathing wagons’ and other activities taking place in the growing town from as long ago as the 1750s. This is much earlier than other seaside resorts like Blackpool and Southport became popular destinations.

Allan Brodie, from English Heritage, made the discovery about early sea bathing in Liverpool.

He said: “I have found descriptions of ‘bathing wagons’ in diaries of Liverpool people which date back to the 1730s, as well as references to organised visits to Crosby for sea bathing.

“Liverpool was at the forefront of providing seawater baths around this time.”

Liverpool ‘first seaside resort’ – BBC News, 16 November 2008

Once Liverpool began to expand at a massive rate in the Victorian era, holiday-makers (those who could afford a holiday) made their way from the dirty city to the clean air of the seaside. It was at that time that the surrounding Lancashire towns became known for bathing and other seaside resort pursuits, and their popularity only increased with the spread of the railways and organised trips for the working classes.

The landscape influence

History is nothing if not a series of changes, one after the other, and it’s no surprise Liverpool is no longer a seaside attraction in the manner of Blackpool and Southport.

By the time the 18th century came to an end, Liverpool was becoming a much more industrialised place. For one thing, it was harder to get into the Mersey with the increase in dock numbers, and shipping! For a while other places in Liverpool, like Bootle away from the centre, became ‘resorts’. Bathers went further up and down stream for the waters.

But eventually transport became better, and with the arrival of the trains travel to dedicated leisure destinations became the norm. So people from all over northern England and the Midlands escaped for a few days to Blackpool, Rhyle or Llandudno. No longer did you have to stay local to go for a swim, and specialists took over the bulk of this kind of getaway.

4 Comments on “Liverpool ‘one of the earliest seaside resorts’”

  • Damion Page


    Love Liverpool could do so much more with the City so that the Tidal Barage which there planning for River Mersey could produce enough energy not just for a Million but 5 million and bring a new energy company like British Gas but call it Mersey Electric or something for Liverpool City region residence as I live in St Helens I would join depending on Prices could be a good income for the City. Then expand the Docks, introduce a new Stadium for around 500,000 people for multiple Sports Like Wrestling, Football, maybe add a racetrack around it for F1 could be further income plus more Sports them few could be hundreds of Billions of £s in income just a thought


  • Tanya Merciar-Zuvela


    My brother used to own and live in the Windmill in Crosby. Liverpool


    • Jan


      how fascinating! and what a place it is.
      any pics? x


  • Lynda Marshall


    Sea bathing at one of UK’s first seaside resorts – Crosby Seabank now WATERLOO. Bathing machines could be hired from the Royal Hotel and would be drawn into the sea by horses. The tide has receded gradually over the years and the Waterloo Seafront Gardens (created in the 1930s) and the Marine Park are now between the hotel and the shore. Thousands of people still visit the area to see Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ (the Iron Men) on the beach, so WATERLOO has always been a destination place since 1700s.


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