Beauty and 

 the Beach Tour 

Swimwear from 1940-1969

Now available to hire at your Venue

This exhibition explores the style, design and inspiration of women’s swimwear during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Through the display of bathing suits, two-pieces and bikinis, the exhibition highlights the changing shape and coverage of swimwear alongside our changing attitudes towards the body.


With the heyday of the English seaside holiday and the increasing accessibility of overseas travel, swimwear production gained momentum during this time. The development of new fibres with stretchy, shiny and water resistant qualities, allowed swimwear design to become more adventurous and embellished than ever before.


During these three decades, swimwear changed dramatically in its structure, coverage and associations. What started out as sturdy garments designed to hold everything in, push everything up, and flatten everything out, ended as a few bits of flimsy fabric that signified a change in both fashion and culture. This is a touring exhibition funded by Arts Council England and is now available to hire.

Please email museums@southend.gov.uk or call 01702 212511 for details about hiring the exhibition.

© 2020 Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Southend Museums Service is part of the Culture Section of the Place Department, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

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