since about Victorian times (roughly 1837 on)
What a fantastic photo. I almost never see huge crowd scenes in British beach scenes. Even in summer, most Victorians seemed to walk alongside the beach, watching Punch and Judy, using the piers or going on donkey rides.
And how crowded they are together. No deck-chairs though! They seem to be standing and chatting and as you say observing things. Most of all they really seem to be enjoying their day out.
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