Anyone who has seen the latest Disney blockbuster, Jungle Cruise, which is in cinemas now, will be aware of the number of jokes the film contains because the leading lady, played by Emily Blunt, is wearing trousers.

Blunt’s character, Dr Lily Houghton, raises more than a few eyebrows because she dares to wear trousers as she adventures her way along the Amazon.

The film is set in 1916 when it was almost scandalous for women to be seen in anything except an ankle-skimming dress.

But even by 1930, right here in Southend, women wearing slacks even on the beach was considered just too risqué.

The glamorous beachwear trend – wide legged trousers or jumpsuits worn with short sleeved or halter tops were first made famous by Coco Chanel in 1922 as a way for ladies to look stylish but remain comfortable while yachting. But by the 1930s they were all the rage among young women heading for a daytrip to the seaside.

But not everyone approved. In August of 1930, a story of how a group of young women were turned away from Southend Pier due to their beach pyjamas made the headlines.

The women – all from London – had been holidaying on Canvey and decided to take a boat from the island to Southend Pier. A newspaper report into the saga explained: “They set off in high glee, with a couple of ukuleles, a banjo and a portable gramophone. All the girls were wearing the latest fashion in beach costumes - bright cretonne trousers and jumpers, no stockings, white shoes and white sailor hats.

“On arrival at the pier they were refused admission as they were judged to be indecently clad by one of the pier officials. They had to remain on the boat until it returned to Canvey an hour later.”

One of the girls in question was Phyllis Boyd, a 23-year-old teacher from Camberwell.

She was wearing a pair of baggy trousers that went down to the ankles and a matching high-neck sleeveless jumper.

“I admit we were making a bit of a row, singing and laughing, but we were all quite orderly,” she said.

“An old man at the top of the steps of the pier said we couldn’t come on because we were indecently dressed!

“I think the men of Southend Pier are a silly stuffy lot of old fogies.

“I thought sailor-men were cheerful, unconventional sort of men but they are nasty, horrid old things.”

By the time the Second World War broke out and women had to step into men’s jobs, the wearing of trousers became more acceptable.

However, in 1941, when Braintree Council was considering having women become volunteer firefighters while the men were away, the meeting erupted into laughter when it was suggested the women would have to wear trousers in order to keep safe.

It was deemed that while fire-fighting, the women’s clothing would be more likely to be set alight. The women would also have to climb up ladders and clamber over roofs which might be “rather awkward”.

The council calculated that in carrying water for stirrup-pumps and other such work two women equalled one man.

It was left to a local vicar to suggest that the volunteers should wear trousers, which saw the room erupt with laughter.

The motion was carried but less than a year later the existing Braintree firemen refused to work with the ‘trousered girls’ and more men were employed instead.