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"Brightly coloured beach huts are an essential part of the British coast. They go together with ice creams, sandcastles and the unreliable British weather to form part of our experience of summer by the seaside. Recently the spirit of nostalgia for the British coast has meant that beach huts, in some locations, can sell for more money than houses in other areas and given that you cannot stay overnight in them and many need annual maintenance, this is really saying something! Beach huts really started to be used in the early years of the twentieth century. Before then, bathing had been a cumbersome and expensive affair. Men and women bathed on separate beaches and changing for a dip in the ocean was performed out of view in a bathing machine, which was towed a safe distance out to sea before the nervous bather took his or her plunge into the often uninvitingly cold sea water. When we finally dispensed with the bathing machine many were left abandoned on the beach. In the Edwardian era and in the years following the First World War, the sight of people of both sexes in bathing costumes had become acceptable. However, changing in public was frowned upon and could result

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in a fine, even if decency was preserved under a Macintosh - so called "Macintosh Bathing". Hence councils provided and charged for beach huts to change in. Beach tents and huts at Bexhill in summer of 1919 Enterprising people made use of the abandoned bathing machines by removing the wheels and turning them into beach huts. As an alternative to the beach hut, some seaside towns provided tents for hire, along with deck chairs. These were often brightly coloured and decorated with stripes. Now you can buy your own beach hut or hire one for the day or a week. They make a great base for a family on a beach holiday. Many are equipped with small stoves for boiling kettles, essential for the British afternoon cup of tea. A few years ago, the beach hut was languishing in the depths of unfashionability. In my youth it was something old people used. Today it has been swept up on a tide of nostalgia and now takes its proper place as an essential part of the British seaside holiday."

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