The series attempts to reveal the 'secret history of Britain's beaches', blending present day commentary on a selection of British seaside towns with personal stories, and engaging and exciting historical narratives. While earlier episodes have focused on Devon, South Wales and Scotland, the final episode takes a closer look at Yorkshire and Northumberland.

Dr Michael Reeve features in this final episode, in a segment focused on the Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough.

Michael Reeve joined BGU in 2021 as Lecturer in History. He is a historian of modern Britain, with broad interests in the social and cultural history of war and conflict, empire, consumption and coastal-urban contexts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In this episode, Michael draws upon his own research into the naval bombardment of the town (alongside other coastal towns, including Whitby and Hartlepool) during the First World War, which is also the focus of his forthcoming book with Palgrave Macmillan, Bombardment, Public Safety and Resilience in English Coastal Communities during the First World War (due for release in late 2021).

Dr Michael Reeve said: “It’s been an immense pleasure to contribute to Britain by Beach and help tell the stories of Yorkshire and Northumberland.

“My previous research has focussed on coastal towns and cities in the context of war and empire, and in this episode I talk about both the wartime impacts of naval bombardment and its legacies for the people of Scarborough. This includes the incorporation of the seaside resort into national propaganda efforts to condemn the enemy and spur enlistment to the armed forces.

“I also comment on the startling newness of bombardment for civilians during the First World War, a contrast with today’s media, which is often saturated with images of civilian casualties and the destruction of non-military spaces.”

The final episode of Britain by Beach airs on Channel 4 (and All 4) on Saturday 27 November at 8pm.

To find out more about History at BGU, visit: or if you’re interested in hearing more about Dr Michael Reeve’s work, you can follow him on Twitter @DrMichaelReeve

26th November 2021

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