Day Trips to the beach. Article written for Local Reach
With the easing of lockdown many of you will no doubt have been going to our local beaches.
In the early part of the 20th century these were also destinations favoured by day trippers and although welcomed by the people offering refreshments, donkey rides etc. they were not always popular with the residents according to Charles Harper (The Somerset Coast 1909).
He writes “ The definition of a tripper, in these parts, is a person who comes across the Bristol Channel from Barry, Cardiff, Swansea, or any other of the South Wales ports, for half a day, and “brings his nosebag with him”; or, if it be a family party of trippers, a family handbag with provisions; including a bottle of beer for mother and father, and milk for the children. Thousands of these family parties came over by cheap steamboat excursions on most fine days in summer, and may be observed on the sea-front at Weston and other resorts, where they are apt to leave an offensive residuum
of their feasts behind them, in the shape of greasy paper and pieces of fat, as often as not upon the public seats.
The unfortunate person who, clad perhaps in a light summer suit, has unwittingly sat upon a piece of ham-fat left behind by one of these gay irrespon
sibles, hates the tripper thereafter with a baleful intensity. But this is only one of that half-day excursionist’s deadly sins, of which the fact that he brings merely his presence and his nosebag—and little money—into the places he favours is one of the deadliest. Another is the circumstance that he is a Welshman. The Somerset folk do not like the Welsh, who are alien from them in every possible way, and it is quite certain that the South Wales colliers and dockers are not a favourable or pleasing type. Thus triply—financially, racially and socially—the trippers from across the Severn Sea are not a success.”
Elizabeth Friend, Axbridge Archaeological and Local History Society