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Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town on the Tendring Peninsula, in Essex, Englandmarker and was founded in 1871. It is a seaside resort that attracted many tourists in the 1960s and '70s, but which like other English resorts has been in decline since foreign holidays became more fashionable and affordable making it more popular as a retirement hotspot these days. It is located between Jaywickmarker and Holland-on-seamarker along the coastline and Great Clactonmarker to the north. The relevant local authority is Tendring District Council.

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 held the second Saturday in August and lasting for a week. Clacton Airshow, an aerial display takes place on the Thursday and Friday before the August Bank Holiday involving historic and modern aircraft such as the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane, helicopters, Harrier, Jaguar, Tornado, wing-walkers and the Red Arrowsmarker.

Clacton-on-Sea is served by a bustling shopping area with many of the usual national chains represented and a Factory Shopping Village, in the north of the town.

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


Clacton was the site of the lower Palaeolithic Clactonian industry of flint tool manufacture . Great Clacton was founded by the Celts in c.100BC . There are some vague traces of Romans using the Clacton area as a seaside resort. The name Clacton dates from c.500 AD when the area was settled by Saxons. The original name, Claccingaton, means 'the village of Clacc's people'. The Domesday Book records the village as Clachintuna.

Year History
400,000 B.C. Clactonian tools, early flake instruments dating back to the early Interglacial stage, get their name from the area.
900 B.C. The 'Catuvellauni' (Celts) set up a village inland, on site of Great Clacton.
500 A.D. Saxons under their leader Clacc from whom the town gets its name set up residence, Clacc Inga Ton (the Village of Clacc's People).
1000 A.D The "Claccingtune" a tithe introduced by the Church to contribute two seaman towards a ships crew.
1056 A.D In the Domesday Book, it was recorded that 'Clachintuna' was part of a Manor belonging to the Bishops of London.
1100s A.D Midsummer Fair established on 29 June, ran for 700 years, until abolished in 1872.
1539 A.D Abbot of St.Osyth's surrendered all Lands to his King. Henry VIII handed over the land to Thomas Cromwell
1539-1545 A.D Henry VIII appointed himself Lord of Manors of Great and Little Clacton and Cann Hall after execution of Thomas Cromwell.
1645-1832 A.D Smugglers Headquarters in Great Clacton, many tunnels are said to exist between St John's church and the Ship Inn as well as other places. One runs from the north side of the church towards St. John's square. Others are reputed to run from the Ship's Inn, Geddy Hall (Home of the Webb family), the Queen's head and at Eaglehurst, a house in Valley Road. The smugglers were a rough lot sometimes taking captive the revenue men while they completed their work of loading cargo from the unguarded beach at Clacton and storing it, ready for "Gentleman" to transport it to London. Clacton Beach was also situated between two noxious marshes Little Holland to the east and Jaywick to the west.
7 December 1830 Luddites smashed up farm machinery on nearby farms. 1,000 locals had to put down the riot.
1911 Archaeologist, J. Hazzledine Warren discovered a wooden spear, dating back at least 400,000 years. This is the oldest known man-made wooden artifact found on the British Isles'.

Seaside resort

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. Ships came and docked at Clacton Pier, which 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, Londonmarker 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.

In 1937, Billy Butlin bought and refurbished the town's amusement park and later bought land beside the park. A year later on 11 June 1938, he opened the second of his holiday camps, with space for 400 holidaymakers. It was later enlarged twice with capacity for 6,000 people. The camp was built around a lake and contained the original amusement park, miniature railway, tennis courts, lawns, roller skating rink, outdoor and indoor swimming pools. Entertainment was led by Redcoats, who compered and took part in shows every night in various entertainment venues in the camp. In the 1980s, faced with competition from cheap package holidays and changing tastes, the owners Rank Group sold the holiday camp, which reopened as a short-lived theme park called Atlas Park. The land was then sold and redeveloped with housing. (Registration required.)


Before the Industrial Revolution, Clacton's industry mainly consisted of arable farmland. As the industrial revolution spread across the country, farmers in Clacton realized that their equipment was obsolete. 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 northeast of the town (Gorse Lane Industrial Estate and Oakwood Business Park) which contain a variety of businesses and industrial units.


St John's Church

St John's Church is the oldest 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.

Clacton Pier

Clacton Pier viewed from the south west
Clacton Piermarker 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 4 yards wide. 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 1180ft (360m), and entertainment facilities added. Bought by Ernest Kingsman in 1922, it remained in the ownership of the Kingsman family until 1971.. In March 2009 the pier was purchased by the Clacton Pier Company, who installed a 50ft helter-skelter as a new focal point..

Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm

A 48 turbine wind farm 7 km is being constructed off the Clacton and Holland Essex coast in the Northern Thames Estuary began. The first 9 turbines were commissioned and started generating electricity in October 2009.



Clacton's population increased substantially during the 20th century from 7456 at the 1901 census, to 45,065 in 1991 and reaching over 53,000 by 2001.


St Osyth's Teacher Training College occupied several buildings in Clacton, mostly along Marine Parade East, until its amalgamation with the North East Essex Technical College in the late 1970s. The town is served by three secondary schools, Clacton County High Schoolmarker, Colbayns High Schoolmarker, and Bishops Park College.


The town is served by Clacton-on-Sea railway stationmarker (90 minutes to London Liverpool Street station). Clacton also has an airfield, which 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".

Notable natives

The following were all born in Clacton-on-Sea:

Cultural references

In the British soap opera EastEnders, the characters of Frank Butcher and Pat Harris met at the Clacton Butlins in 1958.

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"

Golden Globe Award-nominated film Kinky Boots, was partly filmed on Clacton Pier as was Starter for Ten with James McAvoy, James Corden & Catherine Tate.


Image:Clacton-on-Sea 700.jpg|Town centreImage:Clacton_1_(Piotr_Kuczynski).jpg|Town centreImage:Clacton memorial gardens.jpg|Memorial gardensImage:Clacton on seamap.jpg|A map from 1940Image:Clacton_Pier_01_(Piotr_Kuczynski).jpg|The entrance to the PierImage:Clacton_Beach_01_(Piotr_Kuczynski).jpg|BeachImage:Towers_Clacton.jpg|The Towers which once functioned as a hall of residence for St Osyths Teacher Training College.

See also



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