since about Victorian times (roughly 1837 on)
My immediate feeling about the late 40s and early 50s was that times were still very tough, rationing continued longer in Britain than elsewhere and that people made fun wherever they could. Nothing is more fun, and cheaper, than being on the beach.
I asked my mother - now in 80's - and canvey was considered even more desirable to Londoners than Southend. Jamie Oliver's new series showed him and his family on Southend beach and he says he was conceived on the end of the pier!
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