Press Release

12 December 2014

The South East Archive of Seaside photography, known as SEAS Photography, is celebrating the success of the project and its completion, providing an archive of thousands of images of families on the Thanet coast over the past century.

The project, in close partnership with Margate Museum and Thanet District Council, began in the autumn of 2012 and was granted just over £75,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to create the archive.

Two years on, over 20,000 images of a bygone era of seaside days and days out on the Isle of Thanet have been reimaged and archived, allowing them to be digitally accessed by all for years to come.

SEAS team with Thanet District Council and Margate Museum
SEAS team with Thanet District Council and Margate Museum

Project Director of SEAS and Principal Lecturer in the School of Media, Art and Design at Canterbury Christ Church University, Dr Karen Shepherdson, said: ”The work many of us here have undertaken in  archiving this Collection, is underpinned by a shared belief in the importance of UK seaside and coastal culture and its impacts on local communities, as well as the documentation of that culture, in this instance the photographic, being of significant cultural and research value.”

The project focused on the use of the Sunbeam photographic collection which consists of glass plate and film negatives dating from 1920 to the mid-1970s, and a collection of commercial seaside photographs and ‘walkies’.

‘Walkies’ were photographs taken of tourists and local residents who would be snapped by Sunbeam photographers on the beach and surrounding areas. A ‘walkie’ photograph would involve naturally capturing families and friends whilst they were walking, playing and many other activities, occasionally with the aid of props.

Sunbeam photographers would actively capture and document the excitement of the life on the Isle of Thanet and the civic, ceremonial and political events that took place in the 20th century.

Workshops, exhibitions and appeals for photographs have taken place over the two years ensuring community engagement is at the heart of the project.

Council Leader, Cllr Iris Johnston at Thanet District Council, said: “We’re very grateful to Christchurch University for their support with this project. An archive of more than 20,000 images is a fantastic asset for Margate Museum which I hope will be enjoyed by many generations to come.”

The collection has now officially been handed over to Thanet District Council and Margate Museum to share with the community for future years.

Nigel Breadman, Project Archivist and Support Technician and Rob Ball, Deputy Director of the Archive, make up the SEAS Photography project team from Canterbury Christ Church University and have all had vital roles ensuring the project’s success.

To take a look at the project in more detail and view some of the many archived images, visit the SEAS photography website:

Notes to Editor

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 across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00