Entrance to Southport Pier, Lancashire, c 1895.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A snapshot photograph of people at the entrance to Southport pier taken by an unknown photographer in about 1900. Groups of people gather at the pier entrance. Daily admissions are two pence, and the sign also announces that yearly, monthly and weekly 'contracts' or passes are all available. Piers started out as simple platforms allowing people to venture out to sea without having to take a boat. The Old Chain Pier, Brighton was the first, built in 1823. Piers reached the height of their popularity at the end of the ninetenth century, becoming substantial money-spinners. Many offered a variety of entertainments such as theatres, dance-halls, restaurants and slot machines. Originally a shooting term, the word 'snapshot' was first linked with photography in the late 1850s, when it was used to describe a photograph taken with a brief exposure. Over time, snapshot came to mean any amateur photograph taken with a simple camera.