SEAS Photography

The South East Archive of Seaside Photography (SEAS Photography) was first established in 2012 with assistance from a Heritage Lottery Fund award.

walkies-seas-270SEAS undertakes research into seaside photographic practices, communities and cultures and specialises in organising exhibitions, events and spectacle that offer new and exciting perspectives on British seaside photography.

For the past two years, SEAS Photography have been researching and digitally archiving the substantial Sunbeam Photographic Collection and in parallel to this has had an ongoing focus on locating, collating, archiving and researching seaside ‘Walkies’ photographs taken along the South East Coast. This research strand continues to offer an exciting ongoing opportunity to raise awareness of the rich visual heritage residing within many of the homes of the local communities.

Sunbeam Collection

Sunbeam, was the dominant commercial photographic company, which ‘worked’ the Isle of Thanet’s (Margate/Broadstairs/Ramsgate etc) coast. This visual heritage is not in print form, but consists almost wholly of glass and film negatives.

The collection archived here is owned by Thanet District Council and is normally stored at the Margate Museum. For the purpose of archiving and digitising  Thanet District Council and Margate Museum have generously agreed for the collection to be relocated at CCCU. Except as otherwise expressly permitted under copyright law, the content of this site may not be copied, reproduced, republished, downloaded, posted, broadcast or transmitted in any way without first obtaining written permission from TDC as copyright owner.

Browse the Sunbeam Collection

Walkies Collection

The Walkies Collection focuses on locating, collating and archiving ‘Walkies’ photographs taken along the South East Coast. Whilst predominantly taken by Sunbeam photographers, there are few of these images in the actual Sunbeam Collection – they were not at the time of taking regarded as worthy of archiving. But this strand offers an exciting opportunity to raise awareness of the rich visual heritage residing within many of the homes of the local communities.

Browse the Walkies Collection


In 2014 SEAS organised a large exhibition and conference which focused on seaside photography. Corresponding with this was the publication of Beyond the View: New Perspectives on Seaside Photography which was co-edited by Rob Ball and Karen Shepherdson. 2015 sees the beginning of a new archive research project: cataloguing and digitisng the Dreamland Funfair Collection. In addition, various research projects are also developing from the Archive, including examining the role of women seaside photographers and uncovering the earliest of itinerant tintype photographers. The latter has received recent support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Photographs from the SEAS were featured in this article about the reopening of Dreamland in Margate.


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Last edited: 29/06/2016 01:00:00