Jews by the Seaside
The Jewish Hotels and Guesthouses of Bournemouth
A visit to a Jewish hotel in Bournemouth in post-war Britain was greatly anticipated - for many, it was both a regular family and communal event. Pam Fox’s incisive investigation has reclaimed the underlying meaning of this episode in Anglo-Jewish history.
This is thus both valuable social history but also a collective biography of British Jews by the seaside, lovingly recreated by the author who has assembled hundreds of first-hand accounts from those who cherish their memories of these establishments.
Tony Kushner, Jewish Chronicle
Pam Fox’s book on the Jewish hotels and guesthouses of Bournemouth is a gem. … [S]he … provides anecdotes which bring the experience to life, often through the eyes of people who were children at the time. … The illustrations are a delight.
Gillian Dawson, LJ Bulletin
I recommend this to anyone whose family stayed at these hotels or who would like to learn more about what English seaside holidays were like.
Jessica Feinstein, Shermot
This book describes the rise and decline of Bournemouth’s Jewish hotels and guest houses within the context of Anglo-Jewish history, the growth of Bournemouth as a premier resort and the evolution of its Jewish community.
Commencing with the appearance of the first small Jewish boarding houses in the late nineteenth century, which gradually became larger and more comfortable guest houses, it charts the emergence of ever-more luxurious hotels during the inter-war years. With great dexterity, the book captures both the heady atmosphere and glamour of the ‘Big Eight’ hotels and the more intimate environments of the smaller establishments when they were in their heyday following the Second World War.
It explores the decline and changing nature of Bournemouth’s Jewish holiday trade before examining different aspects of hotel and guest house life – the food, religious activities and entertainment. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the historical significance and many legacies of the kosher establishments, illuminating the hopes, achievements and sorrows of generations of British Jews as they attempted to balance the goal of assimilation with the desire for a world of their own.
Throughout the book, the focus is on those who ran, staffed and stayed in the kosher establishments, shedding light on the dynamics of the mainly family-run businesses. Based largely on interviews, the text is replete with humorous and poignant memories and stories that enliven the text. ~
400 pages, 73 b/w photos, 8 b/w illus Paperback