Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.

Photographs of a 1980s Seafront Amusement Arcade | George Wilson

British Culture Archive

British seaside resorts and amusement arcades conjure up all kinds of images, from mum’s and gran’s playing prize-bingo – to young lads trying to achieve the Hi-Score on the various classic arcade games.

Cain's Amusements

It was in the early 1980s when photographer George Wilson had the perfect job to document daily life at Cain’s – an amusement arcade on the seafront of Herne Bay, Kent. George, a graduate of Newport’s documentary photography course under David Hurn worked as a Bingo Caller for two seasons. He used this opportunity to capture daily life in the arcade, when day trippers and locals would flock to the Kent resort. It’s an incredible look at a British arcade during the early 1980s, one that will resonate with many who grew up or raised families during this era. 

Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Cain's Amusements, 1984. Photo © George Wilson.

Newport

George “I joined the Documentary Photography course in Newport as a mature student, having previously clocking up over twenty years of various work. Photography had always been an interest and when the opportunity arose I applied to the course, and was lucky to be accepted.

Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Prize Bingo. Photo © George Wilson.

After Newport I went to live in Kent with my wife Gill and It was then that I took the temporary Bingo Callers job in Cain’s. I built up a large collection of photographs during my time there, lots of characters from the small community. I wasn’t interested in the games or machines, it’s always about the people.”

Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Cain's Amusements, 1980s. Photo © George Wilson.

The George Wilson Collection

“I have previously exhibited my work locally a number of times, including ‘Postcards from the Coast’ which was an exhibition of colour digital postcard prints challenging traditional concepts of the seaside. A couple of years ago, a chance exchange between two friends generated unexpected interest in my collection of arcade photographs. This ultimately led to my archive of over 400 images called ‘The George Wilson Collection’ being accepted as part of the SEAS (South East Archive of Digital Photography).”

Gallery

Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Playing the Fruit Machines. Photo © George Wilson.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Photo © George Wilson.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Tea Break. Photo © George Wilson.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Asteroids and Defender. Photo © George Wilson.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Photo © George Wilson.
Cain's Amusement Arcade. Herne Bay, 1980s.
Knockout Punch. Photo © George Wilson.

All images © George Wilson, all rights reserved.

FULL GEORGE WILSON GALLERY HERE

George Wilson | Prints

A selection George Wilson’s 1980s Arcade Series are now available as archival prints exclusive to British Culture Archive.
Photographs of a 1980s Seafront Amusement Arcade | George Wilson

Read This

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap