Future Cities Forum has been interviewing the photographer David Hurn - a member of Magnum Photos - at the press preview, ahead of the opening of the exhibition by Royal Museums Greenwich, 'The Great British Seaside: Photography from the 1960's to the Present' which runs between 23rd March and 30th September this year.
The exhibition explores our changing relationship with the seaside over the last six decades and features over 100 works by four of Britain's most celebrated photographers - Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts.
It was Tony Ray-Jones' fear that England was losing its cultural identity to encroaching 'Americanisation' which made him turn his camera to the beaches of England, while Martin Parr's ability to capture archetypal 'Britishness' has made him one of the world's most popular and important photographers.
David Hurn's career has seen him photograph pop-culture icons, stills for major films, fashion shoots and international conflicts, gaining his reputation as a photo journalist for his coverage of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, but his true passion is documentary photography finding his niche through 'the sublime moments in the mundane, through ordinary people living ordinary lives'.
His work shows both the changing and unchanging face of the English and Welsh coasts through meticulously observed black and white photographs. Through a film of him at the exhibition, he reflects on his childhood visits to the local Welsh beaches where miners would take their families to enjoy the sea and sunshine while the pits were closed for safety checks.
Watch David talk about his photography in the video clip and in the text below Future Cities Forum discusses the current story of the economic regeneration of our coastal communities.
Images from Simon Roberts 'Pierdom' (2010-13) are in the exhibition and see him emulating the 19th century photographer Francis Frith, by documenting the last remaining British pleasure piers using a large-format field camera. His most recent book, 'Merrie Albion' (2007-2017) show our changing relationship with the seaside both socially and economically.
Separate from this exhibition, but important in terms of regeneration, is the announcement of the next £40 million of government Coastal Communities' funding round. The funding has the continued aim of transforming the UK's coastal communities through investment in jobs, skills and local businesses.
Coastal Communities Minister Jake Berry reports that 'Coastal communities up and down the country from Barrow-in-Furness to Brighton have been boosted by this funding which has spurred inward investment, sustainable growth new jobs and exciting economics opportunities for local business'.
By 2020, the government says it will have invested nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in our seaside areas -295 projects to date totaling £174 million since 2012.
In Penzance, the Grade 11 listed Art Deco 'jubilee pool' to create an all year round visitor attraction was repaired and relaunched in 2014, while the following year Blackpool City Council received a £2 million CCF grant towards the 'lightpool' project to transform Blackpool illuminations and expects the numbers of visitors to increase to 2.6 million.
Amble - the seafood town in Northumberland - was awarded a £1.8 million CCF grant in 2014 to improve the economy through infrastructure works to transform the town into a visitor destination promoting seafood, attracting visitors and creating jobs. The project has provided two new restaurants, improved facitilities incorporating a Harbour Village with retail space and better access along the shore.
Among the funding projects for Barrow-in-Furness was £865,000 to Furness Enterprise Limited to accelerate regeneration in Barrow and the surrounding areas by strengthening supply chains and transforming skills as well as attracting inward investment,