The ‘heritagisation’ of the british seaside resort: The rise of the ‘old penny arcade’
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Journal: Journal of Heritage Tourism
Amusement arcades have long been a key component of the British seaside resort. For almost a century, they enjoyed popularity and success and became established as a quintessential feature of the British seaside holiday. However, the advent of home-based video games along with recent gambling legislation has led to a decline of the seaside amusement arcade sector. Arcades gained a reputation as unsavoury places and their appearance and fortunes often mirrored those of the resorts in which they were located. However, over the past decade, a new variant of the seaside amusement arcade has appeared, featuring mechanical machines working on pre-decimal currency. Such ‘old penny arcades’ frequently describe themselves as museums or heritage centres and they offer an experience based on a nostalgic affection for the ‘traditional’ seaside holiday. They have appeared in the context of an increasing interest in the heritage of the British seaside resort and constitute one element of the ‘heritagisation’ of such resorts. This paper argues that such arcades can be important elements of strategies to reposition and rebrand resorts for the heritage tourism market. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.