Clacton-on-Sea Off The Beaten Path

  • Memorial @ East Essex Aviation Museum...
    Memorial @ East Essex Aviation Museum...
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  • Broadway...
    Broadway...
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  • Off The Beaten Path
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Clacton-on-Sea

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    Jaywick Sands...

    by arturowan Updated Oct 7, 2014

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    If you want to find the best beaches in Clacton area, then most agree that these are Jaywick Sands - the area between the main resort & the shingle spit at Colne Point...
    You only have to walk a km, to the right of the pier, in the direction where a tractor & a couple of fishing boats are beached, to reach these soft, sandy beaches...
    I think that Jaywick Sands are what most folk would define as an ideal beach, with a wide stretch of sand, surrounded by grassy dunes & ever present cries of gulls, scavenging scraps...
    However, seagulls here aren't the aggressive sort who mug holidaymakers of their chips; these gulls are aggressive enough to each other when fighting over discarded food, but I've never seen them attack to obtain it...
    This might be the great irony of Jaywick, because the local inhabitants do not enjoy a respectable reputation, & according to the authorities, the resort has the highest number of alcoholics & unemployed people in England...
    Accordingly, it has a poor reputation in regard to petty crime, but I've never known of it affecting holidaymakers in Jaywick Sands itself, either because the locals haven't gotten out of bed yet, or are hanging out in the area around Clacton amusements...
    Jaywick is a 'Marmite' sort of resort, & most locals love to hate it, but I regard them, on their boring, smug, suburban estates, as tasteless snobs, because if you want to see idiosyncratic homes, take a walk around Broadway & Brooklands...
    I think the photo selection here, shows what to expect, which is just about anything goes, from multi-coloured gnomes, to sphinxes!
    Architectural reviewer, Jonathan Meades, comments on a book called;
    A Corrugated Iron Roof 0ver My Head -
    "this book has only monochrome photos, places like Jaywick demand colour"
    True enough, & there ain't nowhere else in England quite like Jaywick...
    So, if you want a good old fashioned, English seaside resort day out, in a quietly secluded area of unspoilt beach, without the noisy distraction of pier & amusements, make the effort to stroll out of Clacton town, into Jaywick Sands...

    Broadway...
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    Where Butlin's once was...

    by arturowan Updated Aug 26, 2014

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    If you walk along the sea wall towards west Clacton, you will find the area beyond the Toby Carvery to be all redeveloped, comprising the coach park, RNLI station, & a housing estate of almost criminal blandness...
    Even a stranger to the resort might receive the impression that a certain 'something' is missing, which it is - Clacton's own Butlin's Holiday Camp, which once occupied this entire area...
    Butlin's was THE primary tourist attraction to, 'sunny Clacton-0n-Sea', defining the resort to its annual thousands of families who came to spend their fortnight beside the sea...
    Billy Butlin, Britain's South African born holiday entrepeneur & general 'wideboy', opened the second camp that bore his name (the first being in Skegness), in 1938
    It was closed soon after in 1939 to become an internment camp for refugees & those suspected of being 'fifth columnists'; (spies for the Axis enemy...)
    During the war, the camp received direct hits from Luftwaffe bombers, but re-opened to the public in 1946
    Some incredibly famous folk in the world of entertainment, got their 'break', as Butlin's redcoats, including the evergreen comic, Roy Hudd, & Harry Webb, better known as Cliff Richard, also won a talent contest with his band The Drifters, at the Clacton site...
    The Butlins' redcoats were copied from rival holiday camp sites enterprise, Warner's, with their yellowcoats, who retaliated by entering into local competition with the Clacton site, by opening a camp at Dovercourt (see separate HI-DE-HI! tip...)
    However, Butlin, who was also on the management board of Warner's, has been linked to the opening of the Dovercourt camp, intending that to be his second camp, & advertised it for a while as 'associated with Butlin's'...
    Without Butlin's, which closed in 1983, (3 years after the death of Billy Butlin), Clacton has lacked an essential aspect of its character, which to this day, tarnishes its value to the holidaymaker...
    0f course, you might accuse me of being nostalgic, not to mention a hypocrite, because my idea of a holiday camp, concurs with that of the late John Lennon, who described the experience as akin to volunteering to enter a concentration camp!
    I am not your happy camper type, I admit, but nonetheless, having been born in Clacton, it is sad to witness as to how the local council has allowed the resort to decline over the decades, & not invest the money that was needed when Butlin's took the business decision in order to depart...
    Clacton, like many English resorts, has been a victim of package tours & cheap air deals to the Continent, but the authorities have done nothing to encourage tourism from abroad, in return...
    This has resulted in Clacton becoming an unemployment black spot, with the contiguous resort of Jaywick, officially rated as the most deprived place in all England...

    Bathing beauties then, grannies now! 0nly the coaches come & go these days... Those were the days! 1936 - you never had it so good!
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    Wartime sea-rescues...

    by arturowan Updated May 14, 2014

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    Along Clacton seafront, west of the pier, just before the sea wall turns into Jaywick, is a memorial plaque remembering 30th April 1914
    Winston Churchill, while serving in the Navy, was forced to land the seaplane he was flying, & abandon it on the seafront, coming ashore at the point now marked by the plaque...
    While waiting for the vessel to be repaired, the then First Lord of the Admiralty, & future British Prime Minister & War Cabinet Leader, took a rest in the Royal Hotel, where he was besieged by a media scrum & Sufragettes...
    Churchill is said to have blanked many of their ?'s, piqued at not finding the sanctuary he sought while he took refreshments at the bar, waiting for a substitute seaplane to arrive...
    When the second aircraft arrived, it was only capable of flying as far as Harwich, where Churchill again had to make a forced landing due to mechanical dysfunction, this time taking a Naval vessel to finish his journey by sea...
    In 1920, the Churchill family returned to the Tendring peninsula on holiday, but this time they stayed in Frinton - whether or not a visit was made to see where he forced in order to land 6 years previously, is not recorded...

    During WWII there were 2 sea rescues along Clacton seafront area;
    25th June 1941 - a Polish pilot was rescued from Sandy Point at Holland Haven
    13th January 1945 - Raymond E. King, an American pilot from the 436th Fighter Group, crash-landed his P51Mustang, eastwards of Clacton Pier, & was taken aboard the lifeboat still alive...
    He later died in hospital though, as a result of hypothermia, & now there is a memorial plaque placed at the entrance to Albany Gardens, opposite where the rescue took place...
    The remains of his plane were lifted from the seabed in 1987 & have been preserved at the military aviation museum in the Martello tower at St.0syth, which is dedicated to his memory...
    (see separate article - 'East Essex Aviation Society Museum'...)

    Memorial @ East Essex Aviation Museum...
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    Town Centre Fountain...

    by arturowan Written Dec 19, 2013

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    I'm not really sure which category to file this under, so I've chosen this 1 because Clacton fountain is something you might easily miss - despite the fact it's located right in the centre of the town, opposite McDonald's...
    You might miss it, because;
    1 - it's never turned on, &;
    2 - there is no actual structure to the fountain
    The actual 'fountain', such as it is, is 30 holes in the paving, up from which rush jets of water, that is, when it's actually operating...
    However, the council, who used local taxpayers' money to fund the feature, took the decision to fence off the site, because of fears about the quality of the water not being safe for human contact...
    So what is left now, is a fence around 30 holes in the sidewalk!
    As the adage says; 'if you do a job, then do it properly...' - & Clacton fountain was never done properly, because when it was working, it looked like a road accident where a series of fire hydrants had been knocked over!

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    First civilian mainland casualties of WWII

    by arturowan Written Mar 20, 2013

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    Think of the British casualties of mainland bombing in WWII - & you'll be aware of the blitz on Coventry, Liverpool, & of course, London...
    But, for the record, the first recorded civilian casualties of the Luftwaffe, were Dorothy & Frederick Gill, of Victoria Road, Clacton-on-Sea...
    They perished 30th April 1940, when a Heinkel 111E, which had probably been hit by straff by gunners at Harwich's Beacon Hill Fort, while attempting to drop mines in the shipping lanes out to sea, attempted an emergency landing on the cliffs at nearby Clacton seafront, while still carrying live mines...
    Flying in fog, the pilot of the stricken bomber clipped some chimneys of houses along Upper Victoria Road, before making a direct hit on the home of the unfortunate Gills...
    The 2 civilians & 3 crew of the enemy aircraft, all died in the resulting explosion, while 156 were injured & several other houses also razed...
    The Gills were buried in an unmarked grave in Burrs Road Cemetery, Great Clacton, but in 1994 their resting place was rediscovered & a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone planted to mark the 59th anniversary of their loss...
    There's also a memorial plaque marking the scene, at the intersection of Victoria Road with Albert Gardens...

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    Walk to Holland without getting wet

    by aaaarrgh Written Jun 26, 2006

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    Don't get too excited! I mean Holland-on-Sea, the suburb of Clacton. It is a three mile walk along the concrete seafront.

    The advantage of walking to Holland is you can see many of Clacton's traditional wooden beach huts. They are privately owned or available for rent. Each one is individually furnished - be nosey, like me, and have a good stare if you get a chance. Several had beds and small kitchens, though they have no running water or electricity. In England it is common to have by-laws which prohibit you from sleeping in them overnight.

    The other focal point of Holland-on-Sea seems to be the Flag Beach Cafe, by the beach, selling drinks, ice creams and beach toys.

    beach life
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