In its modern guise, the seaside resort, as a recognizable kind of specialized coastal leisure settlement, came into being in Western Europe from the early eighteenth century onward, originating in England (perhaps in Liverpool, perhaps on the coast of Yorkshire). It had antecedents in ancient Mediterranean societies, especially in the Roman Empire, and popular summer gatherings associated with sea-bathing rituals and pleasures, although ill-documented, were clearly common over a much wider area. The novelty in the eighteenth-century West was the development of sea-bathing, and the enjoyment of seaside environments, into the basis for seasonal businesses, the transformation of urban economies, and incorporation into the rapidly expanding consumer societies of the first Industrial Revolution. The therapeutic use of the sea was formalized under medical direction, while ...

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