During the Second World War the role performed by the coastline in the nation’s affairs was very different from what it had recently been. But in playing its part in the defence of the island against an all-powerful enemy its emblematic status in the national consciousness was confirmed and strengthened. Public access to the shore was denied, trenches and barricades were built on the beaches, bays were mined and older structures were sometimes destroyed to foil enemy invasion. More generally, says Walvin (1978, p.127): ‘The gaudy, painted face of seaside England ... was reduced to the grey, greens and browns of a nation at war.’ Even Blackpool did not escape the military influence, its hotels taken over by the army and its promenade used for drill and parades. Up to a million troops passed through the town during the war, which brought it ‘spectacular prosperity’ (Walton, 1978, p.187). The contrast with many other seaside towns could hardly have been greater. By August 1940, most of the coastline, from Berwick to Dorset, had been closed.