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The Beach

Groomsport has two beaches.  The first, smaller, one, beside the harbour, is James Bay beach. This is an inclusive beach with facilities for people with disabilities to use the beach and access the sea. Through the gap in the wall that Robert Perceval-Maxwell had controversially built in 1856 for privacy, is the much larger Cove Bay beach which backs onto Groomsport House and the recent Cove Bay development.  The beaches have been popular with residents, holiday makers and day trippers since Victorian times.  As well as being popular with families in the summer, the beaches are used for a range of water sports including wild water swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Groomsport beaches have been given the Seaside Award in recognition of the water quality and because they have been judged to be clean, attractive and well-managed.

BATH TIME

Maureen Irwin remembers seawater baths in front of the fire during her early years on the Hill during the 2nd world war.

THE PAST & PRESENT

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James Bay beach and Perceval-Maxwell's wall - early 20th century

A view of James Bay beach and the wall built by Robert Perceval-Maxwell in August 1856 which led to the Right-of-way dispute. A flight of steps can be seen from the beach to the gap in the wall that the Admiralty obliged Perceval-Maxwell to make in February 1857.

Find out more about the Right-of-Way Dispute at: https://discovergroomsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Right-of-Way-v2.pdf

0001 Photogravure by Raphael Tuck Postcards. Downloaded, with permission, from: https://www.tuckdbpostcards.org/items/130155-the-shore/picture/1

James Bay beach and Perceval-Maxwell's wall c.1956

A view of James Bay beach and the wall built by Robert Perceval-Maxwell in August 1856 which led to the Right-of-way dispute. People can be seen using the flight of steps from the beach to the gap in the wall that the Admiralty obliged Perceval-Maxwell to make in February 1857. Groomsport House can be seen in the top right of the image.

0002 Photogravure by Raphael Tuck Postcards. Downloaded, with permission, from: https://www.tuckdbpostcards.org/items/20630-first-shore

Perceval-Maxwell's wall – 2023

A view of part of James Bay beach and the wall built by Robert Perceval-Maxwell in August 1856 which led to the Right-of-way dispute. The concrete pathway, which was constructed from the harbour, along James Bay and part of Cove Bay in the 1970s, created a wide passage through the wall. Some of the steps to and from the much narrower passage provided by Perceval-Maxwell in 1857 can still be seen. The Cove Bay development (2000 onwards) can be seen in the background.

Find out more about the Right-of-Way Dispute at: https://discovergroomsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Right-of-Way-v2.pdf

0003 Photograph by Peter Gibson