Clacton-on-Sea

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Clacton-on-Sea
Essex
Clacton-on-sea.jpg
Clacton-on-Sea from the air
Location
Grid reference: TM170150
Location: 51°47’30"N, 1°8’45"E
Data
Population: 53,000
Post town: Clacton-on-Sea
Postcode: CO15 & CO16
Dialling code: 01255
Local Government
Council: Tendring
Parliamentary
constituency:
Clacton

Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring peninsula in Essex. It is a seaside resort that saw a peak of tourists in the summer months between the 1950s and 1970s.

The town's economy continues to rely significantly on entertainment and day-trip facilities and it is strong in the service sector, with a large retired population. The north-west part of the town has two business/industrial parks. In the wider district, agriculture and occupations connected to the Port of Harwich provide further employment.

Geography

The town stands between Jaywick and Holland-on-Sea along the coastline and Great Clacton to the north.

It is at the south-eastern end of the A133 road. To the north-east is another resort, Frinton-on-Sea.

About the town

Town centre fountain

Clacton has a pleasure pier, arcades, a golf course, caravan parks and an airfield. The town and its beaches are still popular with tourists in the summer, and there is an annual entertainment programme including the Clacton carnival, which starts on the second Saturday in August and lasts for a week. Clacton Airshow, an aerial display, takes place on the Thursday and Friday before the August Bank Holiday, with historic and modern aircraft such as the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane, Harrier, Jaguar, Tornado, and helicopters. There are also wing-walkers and the Red Arrows.

Clacton has a shopping area with many of the usual national chains represented, and a Factory Shopping Village in the north of the town.

Clacton has two theatres, the West Cliff Theatre and the Princes Theatre. The West Cliff is one of the last theatres in the country to put on an old style summer show.

Clactonian man

Clacton was a site of the lower Palaeolithic industry of flint tool manufacture, which is known as 'Clactonian culture'. Those behind this Old Stone Age culture were an earlier hominid species, Homo erectus.[1]

The "Clacton Spear", a wooden spear found at Clacton in 1911 and dated at 450,000 years ago, is the oldest such spear to have been found in Britain.[2]

History

There are some vague traces of Roman occupation around Clacton.

The name Clacton is from the Old English language, in which it was named Claccingatun, meaning "the Village of Clacc's people". The Domesday Book records the village as Clachintuna.

Industry

Before the Industrial Revolution, Clacton was an agricultural village. As the Industrial Revolution spread, a steam-powered mill was built in 1867 to replace the windmill, which was eventually demolished in 1918. Nowadays, the town's main industrial area is in the north-east of the town (Gorse Lane Industrial Estate and Oakwood Business Park) which contain a variety of businesses and industrial units.

Seaside resort

The West Beach

The modern day Clacton-on-Sea was founded by Peter Bruff in 1871 as a seaside resort. Originally the main means of access was by sea; Steamships operated by the Woolwich Steam Packet Company docked from 1871 at Clacton Pier which opened the same year. The pier now offers an amusement arcade and many other forms of entertainment. People who wanted to come by road had to go through Great Clacton. In the 1920s, London Road was built to cope with the influx of holidaymakers. Later, in the 1970s, the eastern section of the A120 was opened obviating the need for Clacton visitors to go through Colchester. Today the PS Waverley operates from Clacton Pier offering pleasure boat excursions.

Clacton has one of only seven blue flag beaches in the eastern counties, at Martello Bay (two more are locally at Dovercourt Bay an Brightlingsea). West Beach has been commended for its quality also.

Clacton Seafront Gardens run along the top of the seafront west of Clacton Pier. They include various sections with formal gardens, memorials and places to sit and rest away from the hustle bustle of the beach.

Butlins camp

In 1936, Billy Butlin bought and refurbished the West Clacton Estate, an amusement park to the west of the town. He opened a new amusement park on the site in 1937 and then, a year later on 11 June 1938, he opened the second of his holiday camps.

This camp was open until 1983 when due to package holidays and changing tastes Butlins decided to close the camp. It was bought by former managers at the camp who reopened it as a short-lived theme park called Atlas Park. The land was then sold and redeveloped with housing.[3]

Sport

  • Cricket
  • Football: FC Clacton
  • Rugby

The Cricket Club has many grounds around Clacton with one in Holland-on-Sea and another where Essex County Cricket Club used to play.

Parish church

St John's Church is the oldest surviving building in Clacton. It has been suggested that smugglers may have used a tunnel from the coast to the Ship Inn to smuggle goods into the country, but this is discounted by some historians.

Sights about the town

Clacton Pier

Clacton Pier

Clacton Pier was the first building of the new resort of Clacton-on-Sea. It officially opened on 27 July 1871 and was 160 yards in length and 12 feet wide.[4] Originally built as a landing point for goods and passengers, as Clacton was becoming an increasingly popular destination for day trippers, in 1893 the pier was lengthened to 394 yards, and entertainment facilities added.[5] Bought by Ernest Kingsman in 1922, it remained in the ownership of the Kingsman family until 1971.[4]

In March 2009 the pier was bought by the Clacton Pier Company, who installed a 50-foot helter-skelter as a new focal point.[6]

Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm

A 48-turbine wind farm has been constructed about 5 miles off the Clacton coast.[7]

Clacton Airport

Clacton Airport has been active since its use by the RAF during the Second World War. In the 1990s, the airfield was featured along with Roly ("The Wing Commander of Clacton") on the BBC television series "Airport".

Conservation

Clacton’s environmental qualities draw on several things: proximity to the sea, its evolution as the resort, its attraction as a retirement area, and its business and trade. The conservation and enhancement of Clacton’s various environmental qualities depends on assessment, evaluation and management.

Cultural references

On the Easter weekend of 1964 rival youth gangs of Mods and Rockers descended upon Clacton-on-Sea. They created havoc by starting gang fights with each other and vandalising streets and shops.

The music video for "Always on My Mind" by the Pet Shop Boys was filmed in Clacton, which was also the setting for their film It Couldn't Happen Here.

The film Kinky Boots was partly filmed on Clacton Pier as was Starter for Ten.

Pictures

Outside links

Commons-logo.svg
("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Clacton-on-Sea)

References

  1. Ashton, N., McNabb, J. et al. Contemporaneity of Clactonian and Acheulian flint industries at Barnham, Suffolk in Antiquity 68 (1994), 260. pp. 585–589.
  2. The Clacton Spear - Natural History Museum
  3. Morning campers = =Adams, Nicky Essex Life, June 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Clacton And District Local History Society
  5. The Heritage Trail
  6. New arrival at Clacton Pier is not just any helter skelter...
  7. "Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm, United Kingdom". Kable Intelligence Limited. 2015. http://www.power-technology.com/projects/gunfleetsandswindfar/. Retrieved 19 March 2015.