Postcards from Chesil
West Bay

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This page shows pictures from West Bay at the northern end of Chesil Beach. If you have any old pictures or postcards of this area that can help fill in the gaps then please contact ed@chesilbeach.org.

Click on an image to see a higher resolution version of the picture.

My thanks to Veryan Walters for providing three of the postcards on this page.

1860 celebration

West Bay 1860

Picture is dated 1860 and appears to show a celebration on the East Beach. There are a lot of people around and a number of marquees erected. The most likely reason for the celebration is the completion of the refurbishment of the piers and harbour walls. This was started in 1859 under the guidance of John Coode.


Postmarked 1902

Note the large hole in the beach in the foreground, partially surrounded by a fence. This has gone in all later pictures


Postmarked July 1905

Taken looking south-east across West Bay. Note that the beach positions each side of the harbour entrance are pretty much equal.




Unpostmarked, believed 1930's

Taken looking north-west from East Cliff. Note that the beach on the south side of the harbour has begun to build out from its original line. Note also the paddle steamer entering the harbour at appreciable speed! there is some development on the north side of the harbour. There is a large sailing ship in the inner harbour.


Un-postmarked, believed 1930's

More development has taken place on the north side of the harbour.

  West Bay

Un-postmarked, but probably late 1930's

Note the horse and cart on the shoreline, then see the next postcards.

  Pebble pickers

Postmarked 1955

A team of four horses is pulling a cart of shingle from the shoreline by the east pier at West Bay. The picture was probably taken late 1940's.


  West Bay cliffs

No postmark

Probably a similar date to the previous postcard. The location is on the beach under West Cliff.


Postmarked 1934

This picture shows the promenade on the west side of the harbour.

  West Bay

Postmarked 194?

It is not possible to read the last digit of the postmark year, but the picture is probably late 1940's as the new coastguard lookout is in place.


Postmarked 1951

The cars have changed, but the promenade remains the same! The coastguard lookout on East Beach has appeared by the flagpole. Note the major difference in the beach line either side of the harbour entrance.


Postmarked July 1954

Again taken from East Cliff looking north-west. Note that the south side of the beach has now grown considerably compared with the early cards. there is a considerable growth in the tourist trade and the popularity of West Bay with a lot of new development on the north side of the harbour. The Watch House in the foreground has been extended and turned into a cafe.


Undated, 1980?

This card is undated, but several things suggest that it may have been taken around 1980. The shelters on the prom have changed from the victorian structures of early cards. The West Beach is now stripped of its groynes and much smaller than in earlier pictures.

  West Bay today

Picture taken Spring 2007

The new harbour has been built. The Watch House Cafe and the coastguard station have both gone and the beach shape has changed considerably. Note also that the shape of the coastline north of the harbour is also very different.

Last updated 30/04/2009 ©2007-2009 Copyright Chickerell BioAcoustics