chapter  7
Liminal seaside?
Working-class tourism in the nineteenth century
ByRobert Troschitz
Pages 14

Popular novels like Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist or Friedrich Engels's famous description of Manchester in The Condition of the English Working Class have created a rather bleak image of the nineteenth century. According to Thomassen, 'seaside and beaches are archetypical liminal landscapes'. But as catchy as this description of the seaside as a liminal landscape sounds, it raises the question what the term liminal' actually means. The concept of liminality was first introduced by Arnold van Gennep in his work on rites of passage and later taken up and popularised by Victor Turner. As part of the great transformation, leisure practices altered and new popular practices such as the seaside holiday emerged. While the seaside holiday had for long been the reserve of the few, the spread of the railway and increasing spending power brought the seaside within the reach of the middle and later also the working classes.