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Victorians and Edwardians Abroad

The Beginning of the Modern Holiday

Victorians and Edwardians Abroad by Neil Matthews
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‘Victorians and Edwardians abroad: the beginning of the modern holiday’ reveals a story never told before: the early years of one of Britain’s leading modern travel agencies, the Polytechnic Touring Association (PTA). Created in 1888 within Britain’s first Polytechnic, the PTA was an emblem of the era. It served a growing mass of middle-class and lower middle-class consumers, who found for the first time that they had the time and money to take extended holidays, often abroad. This book explains the creation of the Polytechnic and the PTA, charting the expansion of the travel agency into continental Europe and beyond.

‘Victorians and Edwardians abroad’ uncovers the recollections of those who went on ‘Poly holidays’ before 1914: how they experienced the journeys, what they did when they reached their destinations and what they thought holidays should be about. For all the serious strictures from their social ‘betters’ about the educational and ‘improving’ aspects of travel, PTA holidaymakers enjoyed themselves: liberating pork pies from train carriages, annoying foreign policemen and even beating the German Emperor to the last horses in town. Letters, articles and diaries of Poly holidays reveal a penchant for fun, even naughtiness, not often associated with the Victorians and Edwardians. Also included are a selection of postcards, photographs and promotional items from the PTA archives. Victorians and Edwardians abroad is a fascinating glimpse into holidays as they were, just over a hundred years ago.
Pen and Sword; February 2017
144 pages; ISBN 9781473886261
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Title: Victorians and Edwardians Abroad
Author: Neil Matthews