Playing in the sand and climbing the rock at Bowleaze Cove

At the beginning of a New Year, many of us think about booking our holidays, I am sure the Grandad Beck was no different.  Up until 1909 the only time he had off was 5 days annual holiday.  One year the family went to Bowleaze  Cove near Weymouth.  I know this because Lionel and May very kindly built a sandcastle.  Little did they know how useful this would be over 100 years later.  Thank you Granny!

2 Children on beach with chalet behind
May and Lionel playing sandcastles at Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

For those of you don’t know Bowleaze Cove, it is east of Weymouth in Dorset (on the south west coast of England).  The beaches here are sheltered and it has been a favourite holiday destination for generations.  This is now part of the Jurassic coast world heritage site.

I can only guess when these photographs were taken.  The family moved to Upwey, 4 miles away in 1904 when Lionel was 5 years old  and moved to Dorchester (about 7 miles from Bowleaze) in 1908 when Lionel would have been 8 years and May 6 years old.  Though Lionel was 2 years older than May, he often looks a similar age in photographs.

It is possible that they were there for the day but because of the number of photographs. many of them include this chalet, I think they were on holiday.

People seated outside a wooden chalet
Seated outside the Chalet at Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

All the photographs look as though they were taken in the same year, perhaps this was the year Grandad Beck got his camera.  This photograph shows that some other members of the family or friends visited them. The lady on the left looks like Grandad Beck’s mother, Frances, she is in the photographs above as well. Has anyone in the family any ideas of who the gentleman is and the lady with the dog?  It is possible they are friends that came for the day.  There are no other photographs of them or any of Grandad Beck’s father Eli.  I can only assume Eli was working and Francis came on her own or I am wrong and the elderly lady is someone else.

Group of people in front of chalet
Francis Beck, May, Rebecca standing and Lionel on the far right. Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

I have mentioned before that I wondered if Grandad Beck developed his own photographs.  The photograph above is the same one as below but the family have been enlarged.

People seated outside Chalet
Beck family seated outside the Chalet at Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

Bowleaze Cove had changed over the years.  I have seen pictures taken in the 1920s were there are lots more chalets and huts, though this one can still be picked out.  When the family were staying this was the only chalet and them must have had the place more or less to themselves.

Field with Chalet in front of cove
Bowleaze Cove looking west towards Weymouth C. 1908

In 1937 the Riviera Hotel was built close to were the chalet was, which later became Potins holiday camp.  Recently the hotel has been restored back to the Riviera Hotel.

In the photograph above you can see the cove curving around, Weymouth is on the opposite shore from the chalet. Below is another photograph of the cove, the people are too far away to know if they are the family or walkers.

Photograph showing cove
Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

I did say there was lots of photographs, I would like to show you a few more.  As we would expect, Grandad Beck’s took lots of photographs of his family.  Here Lionel and May are playing on the rocks.

2 children on rock's by the sea
Lionel and May Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

I think their holiday must have been in the spring or autumn, they are well dressed and it doesn’t look too warm, this may be why they had the cove to themselves.  The sea is quite choppy but the children are happy.

2 children seated on rocks
Lionel and May Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

The photographs above and below were in the ‘best’ family album, so likely to been some of Grandad Beck’s favourite photographs.

2 children and their mother on rocks
May, Lionel and their mother Rebecca on the rocks at Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth C.1908

There are 22 photographs in all, which at the time must have been a substantial investment. Quite a few show the views around Bowleaze Cove.  I have found it difficult to choose which ones to show you, I hope you have enjoyed my selection.  I thought I would end with this one looking to the East, away from Weymouth.

View of cliffs and sea
Taken from the cliffs above Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth looking East towards White Nothe C.1908

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