PortCities London

Port pastimes



Greenwich Beach.
View full size imageGreenwich Beach. 
During the 1930s, few ordinary people went abroad for holidays. Instead, in the summer Londoners headed for Greenwich beach and the sand strip at Tower Bridge. Children often went beach combing, finding chalk and later selling it on the streets.


Peg remembers Greenwich beach in the 1930s: 

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We used to have our tea down there... in our best clothes… It had sand and we used to go down the steps in the middle of the gate to the college and Mum would put a cloth down and we'd sit down and have a sandwich… and we'd take our swimming costumes and go and undress beside Mummy and
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get in the water and paddle…
Hilda on Greenwich beach
View full size imageHilda on Greenwich beach.


What happened to London's beaches? The increasingly polluted waters of the Thames meant they were closed after the Second World War. Now that it is easy to go abroad and find places where the water is warmer and the beaches cleaner, London's beaches are all but forgotten. However, salmon have returned to the Thames, so perhaps Londoners will too.

Kevin has seen old pictures of Greenwich beach:

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You can't really sit down near the Thames…you're looking down to it from the railings
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rather than sitting next to it or paddling your feet in it.


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