Beside the Sea: Visual Imagery, Ageing and Heritage

Andrew Blaikie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The role of older people as inadvertent exemplars of all that was good about
the nation’s past is thrown into high relief when we consider representations
of Britain’s ‘ maritime heritage ’. Yet such mythology has a longer pedigree
than may at first be apparent. Victorian pioneers of photography championed
the custom, dress and extended family roles of elders in fishing villages because
these displayed an older moral world distinct from the sins of the city.
Subsequently, the conflation of positive ageing and seaside living fuelled the
promotion of health products and lifestyles, whilst the rise of the seaside
holiday prompted a more humorous re-evaluation of the ageing body as
typified by saucy postcards and family snaps. Alongside and related to the
phenomenon of retiring to the seaside, a fresh imagery is being wrought as
nostalgic images of the country’s seafaring history play heavily on the
reminiscences of older people. Meanwhile, growing numbers of retirees opt for
foreign travel. Focusing on a range of photographic materials, this chapter
explores the continuities in perception that have connected ageing and older
people with the morally and spiritually uplifting virtues of coastal com-
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-648
Number of pages20
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


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