Five Vicarious Vacations
Holidaymakers the world over have put their passports away this summer as the global pandemic continues to make international travel difficult, if not entirely impossible. In an effort to recreate that holiday feeling Iâ€™ve been seeking inspiration for future trips in some of the documents published in Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture - The History of Tourism.
This resource reveals 130 years of British and American working-class tourism from c.1850 to 1980 through a multitude of sources including travel journals, guidebooks, maps, photographs and film. Here are my top five dream getaways inspired by the documents found in these digitised collections.
1. The North Pole
Ever fancied travelling by dogsled to stand at 90Â° North? In 1985, Society Expeditions offered an exclusive 11-day trip promising adventure, breath-taking views and arctic wildlife, all culminating in selfies and sipping champagne at the North Pole.
2. Agra, India
This 1957 leaflet celebrates Agra, inviting tourists to marvel at the architecture of the Agra Fort, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It describes the 70 ft high walls and almost 1.5 miles of unbroken masonry as â€˜enclosing many relics of old splendourâ€™.
3. Basel, Switzerland
This 1932 photograph shows passengers waiting to board the â€˜Worldâ€™s Largest Passenger Air Linerâ€™ as part of one of the first escorted tours from The Polytechnic Touring Association. The P.T.A prided itself on making travel affordable and accessible for middle-class and lower-middle class travellers and the trip departed from Croydon in the UK, stopping in Paris before arriving at its final destination, Basel.
4. The Nile, Egypt
Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture includes the archives of Thomas Cook, founded in 1841 as Thomas Cook and Sons. Thomas Cook was the worldâ€™s oldest travel agency well-known for their package tours all over the globe. This brochure from 1939 advertises luxury tours of Egypt and the Nile on a Cookâ€™s Nile Steamer. Tourists would stop in Cairo, Aswan, Sakkara, Memphis and take in Egyptâ€™s â€˜kaleidoscopic charmâ€™ of rivers, ruins, hills, mountains, and desert scenes.
5. Coney Island, USA
Coney Island has been a magnet for day-trippers since the mid-1800s and reached the height of its popularity during the first part of 20th century. These images from the Otto Dreschmeyer Slide Collection at the Brooklyn Historical Society reveal two of its biggest attractions, the beaches and the amusements. The Coney Island Cyclone is one of the United Statesâ€™ oldest wooden rollercoasters, built in 1927 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
Full access restricted to authenticated academic institutions which have purchased a licence.