Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Geography lecturerer in BBC1 documentary on Scottish seaside

Thursday, 12 January 2012


The heyday of Scotland’s beach resorts was explored in a recent BBC1 documentary featuring Professor John Gold.
John appeared on Grand Tours of Scotland in December to talk about a time before all-inclusive package holidays and internet deals to Spain dominated the market, and where sun-seekers instead flocked to Aberdeen! In the last episode of the six-part series, John joined presenter Paul Murton in his Morris Minor to go in search of a little Scottish sunshine. Paul was driving a route up the east coast, from Carnoustie to Aberdeen, and was joined by John for a leg of the journey. Filming took place in June 2011. As they travelled along the coast near Carnoustie, John talked about his work studying the history of promoting Scotland to visitors. In a lengthy interview, he explained how the attractions of north-east Scotland were heavily advertised to visitors by big railway companies during the 1930s. Striking examples of the posters were also shown – these are now highly collectible. John described how promotion changed from being a gentle activity, normally delegated to anyone in the town hall with time on their hands, to become a brutally competitive activity in which the best ideas were quickly copied by rivals. One example of this was the number of seaside resorts in north-east Scotland that referred to themselves as 'The Brighton of the North'.