The earliest record of donkeys working on beaches in the UK dates back to 1780. They were used because of their quiet disposition and gentle nature and were ridden side saddle.
They also pulled small little carriages which resembled a bath chair and were led by small boys dressed up as coach men. This allowed the gentlefolk to take in the sea air without having to do anything as undignified as walk!
Places like Blackpool, Scarborough, Skegness and Morecombe were popular tourist haunts with donkey rides on the beach being one of the main attractions. This soon extended to other beach resorts such as Weymouth and Weston Super Mare.
Some of the "stands" have been in the same family for up to four generations. Many seaside towns have made regulations, setting out the donkey's daily working hours and its right to have one day off work each week. They also stipulate the maximum age and weight of the riders.