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1979: Brighton bares all
Brighton will become the first major resort in Britain to officially set aside part of its seafront to nudists.

Following a concerted campaign by local councillor Eileen Jakes, the council tonight agreed to set aside a 200-yard (183m) stretch of the beach solely for nude bathers.

Councillor Jakes, a 47-year-old grandmother and sea-front landlady, believes the beach will increase tourism to the town. In her bid to persuade her fellow-councillors to agree to the scheme she passed round photographs of herself bathing topless in Ibiza.

But there has also been fierce opposition to the proposals by some who believe the scheme will attract "perverts and voyeurs."

'Offensive'

Councillor John Blackman, who has dubbed it a "flagrant exhibition of mammary glands", said: "We are going too far and people will be offended.

"I personally have got no objection to people showing their breasts and bosoms and general genitalia to one another. Jolly good luck to them but for heaven's sake they should go somewhere more private.

"What distresses me is that people naively believe what is good for the Continent is good for Britain."

The 59-strong Tory controlled-council in Brighton was split down the middle, but following a trip to the site by a working party, the proposals were passed.

Situated to the east of Palace Pier between Peter Pan's playground and the marina, the beach will be opened as an experiment for one year.

The area is screened from the road by shingle and a double row of signs, soon to be erected around the area at a cost of 600, will warn other bathers that they are approaching a nudist area.

The decision to allow a nudist beach in Brighton comes in the wake of a national campaign by the Central Council for British Naturism who had petitioned 140 local councils to allocate sections of their beaches to nudists. So far only seven have agreed to do so.

Brighton's deputy Mayor Alfred Feld said: "It is a bold move ... but we feel we are just moving with the times.

"It is a fairly secluded stretch of beach and I don't think it will be offensive to anyone."

The beach is expected to officially open next year.

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Watch/Listen
Sign warning of nudist beach
Beach officially opened in April 1980

Councillors Eileen Jakes and John Blackman give their views


In Context
The beach officially opened on 1 April 1980.

In 1983 its existence was threatened when the majority Conservative group on Brighton council vowed to close it down saying it was "a disgrace to the town".

However the nudist beach remains at Brighton to this day and is now recognised as the best known in the country.

There are currently 11 officially designated naturist beaches around the British coastline located at:

Morfa Dyffryn, Gwynedd; Budleigh Salterton, Devon; Studland Bay, Dorset; Eastney, Portsmouth; Brighton, Sussex; Fairlight Cove, Sussex; Leysdown East Beach, Kent; St Osyth, Essex; Corton Beach, Suffolk; Holkham Beach, Norfolk; and Cleat's Shore, Isle of Arran.

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