Press Release

03 October 2012

Canterbury Christ Church University has received £75,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to archive images of a bygone era of seaside holidays and days out on the Isle of Thanet.

The project, in close partnership with Margate Museum and Thanet District Council, will establish the South East Archive of Seaside (SEAS) Photography, and create an online digital archive of the significant Sunbeam photographic collection.

Sunbeam was the dominant commercial company which photographed the Isle of Thanet throughout the twentieth century, photographing street scenes, events and ‘walkies’. Walkies were pictures taken by professional street photographers who would snap couples and families whilst walking, often using props to encourage participation. The photographs would then be rapidly printed to postcard size and available for purchase from purpose built kiosks.

Dr Karen Shepherdson, Project Director and Principal Lecturer in the Department of Media, Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University's Broadstairs Campus, said: “We are delighted to have received this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabling the University, Margate Museum and volunteers from the local community to collectively record and make Sunbeam’s extraordinary collection of images accessible to the public.

“By conserving and digitally archiving these beautiful images of Thanet, both present and future generations will have the opportunity to access, enjoy and engage with our seaside heritage.”

The two-year project will be calling on the community to get involved with a number of events including workshops and other activities planned throughout 2013 and 2014, culminating in a large exhibition and publication. 

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, said: “This archive will mean that many more people will be able to gain access to this historic collection of photographs, providing a vivid and fascinating reminder of seaside days on the Isle of Thanet in years gone by. The project will also give the local community a chance to enhance and add to the collection by sharing their own Sunbeam pictures.”  

SEAS Photography’s Patron is the internationally regarded Magnum photographer Martin Parr, a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photo book collector. He is well known for his photographic projects that take a critical look at aspects of modern life, in particular provincial and suburban life in England.

Notes to Editor

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9 billion across the UK. Website:

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • We are the third highest university in England for graduates in employment, with 94.3% of our most recent UK undergraduates employed or in further study six months after completing their studies.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2009/10 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:15:00