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seaside entertainers in blackface, New Brighton, Merseyside, late 1890s

January 20, 2015

seaside entertainers in blackface near Ham and Egg Parade, New Brighton, Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire
(photo: from a stereocard in The S.P. Series of Stereoscopic Gems, England, probably late 1890s; the original caption reads: ‘NIGGERS NEW BRIGHTON’)

‘It is a curious place, this New Brighton, a lesser Blackpool, with its promenade pier and lofty tower. The fort which stands beside the lighthouse on a red rock is far more picturesque than effective; the Mersey defences are not impregnable, but a hostile fleet at the mercy of a few torpedo-boats would be in considerable difficulties if the buoys were removed from the intricate channels of Liverpool Bay. As a watering-place New Brighton is hardly a success; Lancashire trippers do bathe here, but one must walk far to get knee-deep. There is, however, much healthy paddling going on, both young and old gloating in the cool, though somewhat Liverpool-stained water. Donkey- and horse-riding is a great source of amusement, especially to spectators, and then there is all the attraction of the pier. There is a promenade, too, other than the pier; “Ham and Egg Terrace” is its name. Coy maidens lure the pleasure-seeker to enter their gaudy saloons, where oysters, shrimps, aerated waters, and other luxuries may be partaken of, but at one and all the stock dish, the bonne bouche is ham and eggs. Do not inquire where the eggs come from. There are other entertainments on the Terrace; you can have your photograph taken and printed while you wait, with appropriate comments thrown in during the operation anent your sweetheart, varied of course according to the sex of the victim. Then there are penny gaffs, menageries, peep-shows, performing dogs and boxing cats, ventriloquists, and all the other charms of the tripper’s seaside resort.’
(T.A. Coward, Picturesque Cheshire, Manchester, 1904, p. 251)

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