Royal Mail’s Seaside Architecture stamp issue, to be released on September 18, celebrates the infrastructure that makes the uniquely British seaside holiday possible.

Six stamps from counter sheets feature piers, lidos, bandstands and shelters from around the UK’s most popular resort towns, aiming to illustrate a wide range of architectural styles from their heydays.

An accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet concentrates on the theme of piers, showing four from the Victorian era.

In the early days of seaside tourism, piers were built to make it easier to access boats at all states of the tide, without having to wade into the sea. They were subsequently transformed into promenades with shops, arcades and other amusements.

The issue was designed by Why Not Associates, from photographs by Lee Mawdsley. The sheet stamps were printed in litho by International Security Printers, and the miniature sheet by Enschedé.

1st class Eastbourne Bandstand

In the days before widespread recorded music and radio, all resorts had bandstands. This example, built in 1935, has an almost circular shape and an Art Deco design. The stamp bears the Europa logo, being Royal Mail’s contribution to this year’s theme of national musical instruments. 

1st class Tinside Lido, Plymouth

Of the wave of fashionable lidos (open-air swimming pools) built in the late 1930s, Plymouth Hoe’s is one of the best surviving examples. Designed in the Modernist style and opened in 1935, it is semi-circular with a central fountain. Closed in 1992, it was extensively restored and reopened in 2005.

97p Bangor Pier

Built of cast-iron and steel and opened in 1896, Bangor’s Garth Pier extends 460m (1,500ft) into the Menai Strait and is the second-longest in Wales. Until 1914, a mini railway ran along its length for carrying baggage. The photograph shows one of its series of covered octagonal kiosks. 

97p Southwold Lighthouse

Towering over Southwold, a stately seaside town in Suffolk, is a 31m (100ft) lighthouse which was commissioned in 1890, surviving a fire six days later. Its inclusion in this set comes on the 500th anniversary of Trinity House, the corporation which looks after lighthouses in British waters.

£1.28 Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool became a key working-class holiday destination in the 19th century, and as an early adopter of electric light it became famous for the ‘Blackpool illuminations’. The Pleasure Beach amusement park, opened in 1896, is dominated by its casino, a Modernist building designed in the 1930s by the park’s house architect Joseph Emberton.

£1.28 Bexhill-on-Sea shelters

As part of the regeneration of this East Sussex resort, a competition to design a series of windshelters was won by Duggan Morris Architects. Built in 2011, they have a stainless steel frame clad with Scots pine, with a glass panel to allow views.

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class Llandudno Pier

Opened in 1858 and rebuilt in 1877, this is the longest pier in Wales. The design shows the entertainment pavilion, and some typical Victorian cast ironwork in the foreground.

£1.28 Dunoon Pier

Built in 1895, this pier was still served by boats until 2011, and was popular with tourists arriving from Glasgow. 

£1.28 Brighton Pier

Opened in 1899 as the Palace Pier, Brighton’s only remaining pier is an icon of the resort made popular by the Prince Regent in the 1810s. The stamp design focuses on its helterskelter.

1st class Worthing Pier

Another Sussex favourite, opened in 1862, this pier has a classic 1935 amusements arcade part-way along it, which typifies the architecture of the period.

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack, written by Kathryn Ferry, investigates seaside style. A first day cover and stamp cards are also available.

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps    £5.74

Miniature sheet    £3.80

Presentation pack    £10.05

Stamp cards    £4.95

First day cover (set)    £7.36

First day cover (mini sheet)    £5.04

TOTAL    £36.94

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH    

Piers and other buildings are part of Britain’s heritage, but there is no anniversary being marked by this set

 

QUALITY OF DESIGN    
Good use has been made of attractive photographs showing interesting and varied architecture

 

WOW FACTOR  

Few of the stamps will make people look twice if they turn up on commercial mail