CLACTON ON SEA CHRONOLOGY
1871 - 2021
18 July,, the ‘Queen of the Orwell’ paddle steamer arrives at the newly completed Pier Landing Stage, marking the generally accepted date for the beginning of Clacton-on-Sea.
The Royal Hotel built and opened on 24 July.
Alfred Cattermole starts to hire out bathing machines on the West Clacton Beach.
Three pairs of houses, called Anglesea Villas, soon to be popularly known as the Blockhouses, built on the cliff top opposite the Royal Hotel,
At East Clacton, Ocean View built on the corner of Victoria Road.
The foundation stone for a new parish church to become St. Paul’s Church, laid.
St. Paul’s church opens for public worship.
The formation of the Clacton Gas & Water Company.
Clarence Villas built on the corner of Marine Parade West and Pier Avenue.
The Public Hall and Assembly Rooms, Library and shops built in Pier Avenue.
The Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church built in Pier Avenue.
The formation of the Clacton on Sea Railway Co. on 7 August.
The Landing Stage increased in length.
The RNLI opens a lifeboat station.
Eagle Crescent built.
Birth of Vivian J. Woodward. He was to become a noted England International footballer. He died in 1954.
The sea wall from the pier to Vista Road completed.
The Waverly Hall Hotel built on Marine Parade West originally as a boy’s school, converting to a hotel in 1883.
A Water Tower built at Old Road.
St. Paul’s Church enlarged.
The Tendring Hundred Line rail link from Thorpe-le-Soken to Clacton opens on 4 July.
Mills, Errington & Co. Bank opens near the Royal Hotel but fails in 1891.
The railway line becomes part of the Great Eastern Railway (G.E.R.).
The former Clay Hall, off Valley Road, built by Robert Blackie.
The Clacton Lifeboat capsizes on 23 January. Two men, Cross and Cattermole lost.
Clacton’s main drainage completed.
The Hot & Cold Sea Water Baths added to the pier entrance.
Riggs’ Retreat opens in Ellis Road.
The lifeboat slipways added at the end of the pier.
Shops built on both sides of Pier Gap.
Church Hall schools built at Trinity Wesleyan Church.
Christchurch built at Anglefield.
The opening of Ascham College in Holland Road.
Martello Tower ‘F’ in Tower Road becomes a Coast Guard lookout.
The opening of the former Beaumont Hall Hotel, Marine Parade West.
Edwin Joseph Gilders opens his firm of auctioneers and estate agents.
Mrs Booth, wife of General Booth, mother of the Salvation Army, dies at Crosley House. October.
The John Groom Orphanage founded in conjunction with the Watercress & Flower Girls’ Mission.
St. Paul’s Vicarage House built.
Pier Avenue made up with some other town centre roads.
The Golf Club formed with its links at East Cliff.
Clacton becomes independent from Tendring Rural Council with its own Local Board of Heath, later to become Clacton Urban District Council (CUDC).
The Towers Hotel built.
Holland House built for Thomas Lilley. Later to become a private school.
The Golf Club opens on lands opposite the Middlesex Convalescent Home.
The opening of St. Osyth Road School.
Clacton Town Football Club formed.
A drainage scheme carried out.
St. Andrew’s Mission Hall opens.
The Police Station and Court opens in West Avenue. Demolished 2000.
Saltmarsh & Sons stores opens in St. Osyth Road. Closed 1993.
A Fire Station opens in Skelmersdale Road.
The Town Hall buildings completed at the corner of Station Road and Rosemary Road, including Barclay’s Bank and the Operetta House, at a cost of £20,000, Following wartime damage, it was rebuilt in 1950.
The founding of the West Cliff Theatre’s Summer Variety Season, now the UK’s longest running.
The Middlesex Hospital completed at a cost of £35,000.
St. Paul’s Parish Church Hall built in the High Street.
The first meeting of Clacton Urban District Council, following the Parish Council Act of 1894.
Clacton Swimming Club established.
The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Light planned.
Crossley House opens as a convalescent home for the Eastern Counties Asylum.
The Warwick Castle Hotel built in Pier Avenue, demolished in 1974.
Clacton Golf Club relocates to West Clacton.
The Grand Hotel built on Marine Parade East.
Thorogood’s Bakery opens in Station Road.
The Franciscan Convent opens in Holland Road.
The local Corps of the Salvation Army Formed.
Cramphorn’s shop established.
Clacton Jetty built near Wash Lane for barges bringing building materials.
The first motor bus service.
Passmore Edwards Convalescent Home officially opens as Sunshine Home for Children on 23 June.
The London & County Bank opens on the corner of Pallister Road.
The Cottage Hospital opened by Lady Rayleigh at a cost of £3,500.
The Bandstand erected opposite Colne Road.
The West Clacton Laundry established.
The CUDC takes over the gas and water utilities and later, in 1906, the electricity.
The Town Yard/Depot opens in Old Road, including a new Fire Station.
The Essex Agricultural Show held in the town on the 13 and 14 June.
Death of Peter Schuyler Bruff, the founder of Clacton-on-Sea.
Electric Parade in Pier Avenue built and entirely lit by electricity.
The Post Office opens in Electric Parade. It leaves this location for the High Street in 1927.
The eastern section of the sea wall completed.
The Isolation Hospital built by CUDC at Rush Green.
The RNLI Albert Edward Lifeboat on Station and remains until 1929. This was the third boat of this name.
The Reno Electric Stairway on the West Beach opens.
The Baptist Chapel in Pier Avenue opens.
Normanhurst on Marine Parade West built for E J Gilders. Demolished in 1999
The Holland Road School Board opens in temporary premises in the Town Hall.
The Zion Methodist Church opens, later becomes the Salvation Army Citadel.
The Great combined Army & Navy Manoeuvres held. Thousands of troops, cavalry, guns, equipment land on the beach around the pier to then strike inland.
The formation of the Arts and Literary Society.
Holland Road Council School opens in April.
The opening of the Palace by the Sea entertainment complex on Marine Parade West. Demolished during 1974.
CUDC takes over the sea defence powers from a Commission.
Two cannons unmasked at Anglefield to mark the centenary of Trafalgar Day.
The Central Buildings built on the corner of West Avenue and Pier Avenue.
A second parish church, St. James’, opened.
Clacton College established at 61 Marine Parade East.
The Reno Electric Stairway removed.
The Reckitt’s Convalescence Home opens in Holland Road.
The sea-water baths at the pier entrance close when the lease expired.
The opening of the Clacton Golf Club clubhouse.
The Moot Hall from Hawstead, Suffolk, taken down and re-erected on Marine Parade East.
A commemorative stone laid on the Kings Parade to mark the Coronation of King George VI.
The Operetta House in the Town Hall buildings re-opens as the town’s first cinema.
The promenade west of the pier is constructed.
The stage of the Yorkshire Pierrots washed away in an August storm.
The Ogilvie School of Recovery being built in Holland Road. Opens the following year.
CUDC acquires Pier Gap and its shops for improvement works
The Kinema Grand Cinema opens in West Avenue.
The opening of St. James Church.
25 April, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, makes a forced landing near the Jetty when the sea plane he is travelling in develops engine difficulties.
The Venetian Bridge and Bandstand complex opens.
The First World War starts. Many holidaymakers return home after seeing armed soldiers patrolling the cliff top.
Wounded troops arrive at the Middlesex Hospital in September.
HM King George V visits the town on 14 July to review the troops.
Death of Thomas Lilley of Holland House.
Zeppelins and Gotha bombers over the town.
The National Peace Day marked in the town by parades and a big bonfire in the evening.
Ernest Kingsman leases Clacton Pier.
Lloyds Bank opens.
The National Omnibus Co. takes over the former Rigg’s Retreat.
Ernest Kingsman purchases the pier outright.
W H Smith Bookshop opens in the town.
Formation of the Clacton Bowls Club and bowling greens laid at West Clacton.
Clown Bertram engaged by Ernest Kingsman to perform on the pier.
The Operetta House is renamed the Tivoli.
The GER becomes part of the LNER.
The opening of the new London Road.
CUDC begins to vacate its former buildings.
The Clacton War Memorial unveiled on the 6 April.
A Lych Gate at the Catholic Church erected in memory of six church members who died in the Great War.
The Blue Lagoon Coffee Lounge opens on the pier.
The further enlargement of Clacton Hospital.
Death of Mr E J Gilders, the estate agent, aged 73.
The St. Michael’s Convalescent Home on Marine Parade East opened by Viscountess Byng.
A new Post Office opens in the High Street. It includes a telephone exchange which is disbanded in 1936.
Formation of the Clacton & District Cycling Association
Clacton County High School opens in Walton Avenue. The first headmaster is Vivian Smith.
The present West Cliff Theatre building opens.
The Ocean Theatre opens on the pier. It closes in 1978.
The Crystal Casino amusement arcade opens on the pier.
The Children’s Theatre, specially built for Clown Bertram, opens on the pier.
Clacton Rotary Club inaugurated.
The new railway station completed.
The foundation stone for the new town hall is laid in Station Road.
The Vista Road Recreation Ground is laid out.
Clacton Amateur Operatic Society founded.
The new Baptist Church opens in Pier Avenue.
The Marine Hotel reconstructed and refitted
The Edward Z Dresden lifeboat on station and remains until 1952.
The Duke of Kent opens the new lifeboat house on the pier.
Further enlargements made to Clacton Hospital.
The Silver Queen Omnibus Co. acquired by Eastern National.
The Duke of Connaught officially opens the Town Hall buildings in Station Road.
The first Essex County Cricket Festival held.
The public library opens in the Town Hall.
The Swimming Pool on the pier, the first over the sea in the world, opened by Sir John Pybus MP.
The Rambla Concert Party commences on the pier.
The opening of Clacton Brotherhood Hall.
The new berthing arm on the pier under construction.
First Clacton Rose Show and Floral Fete held on the pier.
Death of Sir John Pybus MP of the Moot Hall.
Edward Brewater aged 19, a Clacton Town Footballer, died following two collisions during a mach.
The Silver Jubilee extension to Clacton Hospital opens in Freeland Road.
The opening of the new Band Pavilion and Winter Gardens.
The Odeon and Century Cinemas open.
Butlin’s Pleasure Park opens in West Clacton.
The Eastern National Bus Station built in Jackson Road.
Ascham College closes.
The foundation stone for the Masonic Temple is laid.
The Steel Stella ride is constructed on the pier.
A circus is held at the left of the pier entrance.
Butlin’s Holiday Camp opens on 11 June.
Queen Mary visits Clacton to review the ex-servicemen of the First World War at the War Memorial.
Construction of the new pier façade on the left-hand side.
The Tivoli cinema closes.
4 June sees Clacton’s biggest fire as the old public hall, Lewellen’s iron-monger’s store and a number of other shops in Pier Avenue are destroyed.
A Supermarine Spitfire flies over the town during August. It is said to be the fastest moving object seen by those lucky enough to see it.
Two days before the declaration of war against Germany, Edmonton school-children, mothers and babies are evacuated to Clacton by train and found billets in the town.
Sunday 3 September Britain declares war on Germany.
A large fire at Bryans Garage in Old Road.
Butlin’s Camp used as an alien’s centre.
An ARP Centre opens at the former Ascham College.
A floating German mine blows a hole under the pier at 10.15am on 8 February.
The Royal Engineers blow a further hole in the pier and remove the Crystal Casino and the Children’s Theatre as anti-invasion measures.
30 April, a damaged German Heinkel 111 crashes on Victoria Road killing Mr and Mrs Gill. They were the first civilian deaths on mainland Britain.
Clacton Lifeboat sent to Dunkirk for the BEF evacuations under a Naval crew.
The Local Defence Volunteers recruited at the Police Station. By July they were renamed the Home Guard of Great Britain.
Death of Captain Quick, local newspaper owner, during the summer.
Threat of an enemy invasion, the remaining London children and the Clacton children evacuated mainly to the West Midlands area.
Clacton designated as a restricted military place.
The Jetty at West Clacton demolished as an anti-invasion measure
Extensive anti-invasion defences constructed.
An ME110 German plane crashes into Smith Pit and disappears.
Winston Churchill visits the town on the 7 February.
A Searchlight crew killed in an attack near Albany Gardens.
Air raid at Wagstaff Corner causes considerable damage including to the town clock tower.
Town holds a fund-raising War Weapons Week in June.
The Royal Hotel closes. The town resident population falls to 5,000, some say 4,500.
Death of Ernest Kingsman, who transformed the pier into a top attraction. His son, Barney, takes over.
Clacton adopts the mine-sweeper HMS Clacton.
The Clacton’s Own, an LAA Battery leaves for Singapore.
The Zion church badly damaged in an air raid.
HMS Clacton lost in action.
The Great Firebomb (Incendiary) raid on Pier Avenue and West Avenue area. Among the shops damaged is Marks & Spencer which is burnt out.
Two V2 rockets hit the town, the damage restricted as they both hit the cliffs.
VE Day in May, and VJ Day in August marked.
Clacton Pier re-opens.
The Clacton Amateur Dramatic Society founded.
A winter of severe weather, with shortages, of food and fuel.
The John Groom complex acquired by Dr. Barnardo’s.
A private house purchased in Granville Road for a Quaker Meeting House.
CUDC relinquishes its electricity undertaking to Eastern Electricity and its Gas to Eastern Gas the following year.
The Grand Hotel and the Towers Hotel are sold to become St. Osyth Teacher Training College.
The Viking Saga pleasure boat commences pleasure trips from the West Beach.
Clacton Golf Club re-opens on 1 November, having closed in June 1940.
The Regional Hospital Board takes over the Passmore Edwards buildings for the convalescence of TB patients.
Wagstaff’s Corner rebuilt after war-time damage.
Reported that 90,000 people, day trippers, car and motorcycle owners, and week-end visitors poured into sunlit Clacton for the Whitsun weekend.
The Rambla Concert Party re-commences on the pier.
The paddle steamer the Golden Eagle makes her last visit to Clacton before being broken up. Her first visit was in 1909.
Former Ascham College demolished.
The Salvation Army move into the former Zion Methodist Church.
Clacton Sailing Club founded.
The replica sailing ship Centurion for the SPCK, being a half size replica of a 1702 vessel, visits Clacton Pier as part of a coastal voyage.
Alton Park School opens for 480 pupils.
The Red Cross Hall built in Hayes Road.
The Sir Godfrey Baring becomes Clacton’s new life-boat on station, having been on display at the Festival of Britain in London the previous year.
On the night of the 31 January, the great East Coast Flood occurred. The pier was awash by 1am.
Pathfields School divided into boys and girls with the opening of the new Girls School.
The first annual Christmas Morning swim.
The Clacton Maternity Home opens in Skelmersdale Road.
Clacton’s first Coach Rally held.
‘No passport’ trips to Calais on the MV Queen of the Channel restart after stopping in 1939.
Hurricane force winds on 29 July see the Nemo II pleasure break free and sink and the Cresta Run on the pier blown over.
The Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Chieftain, is anchored about one mile offshore. The restored Nemo II gives trips out to view it.
24 January sees The Great Snowfall of Clacton with many school pupils unable to attend for their 11+ exam.
Pleasure flights start at West Clacton.
CUDC purchases the Dr. Barnado’s Home in Old Road.
The rail line to Colchester electrified.
CUDC acquires the West Cliff Theatre.
The Clacton Cine Club formed.
Clacton Town FC win the Southern League First Division championship.
Clacton Town FC reach the First Round Proper of the FA Cup.
The former Passmore Edwards Home opens as a rehabilitation centre.
Butlin’s opens its Winter Social Club.
The Kinema Grand cinema is demolished.
The East Cliff Sports Ground opens.
Serious fire at the Grosvenor Court Hotel.
The long severe winter.
The Easter Mods & Rockers disturbances.
The Ramblas Concert Party on the pier disbanded.
The opening of the Atlanta Restaurant.
The new St. Paul’s Church built.
The Oulton Hall Hotel and the adjacent Hadleigh Hotel acquired for additional accommodation for the St. Osyth Teacher Training College.
The first RNIL Inshore Rescue craft based on the promenade.
The final Clacton Cricket Festival held.
The new Clacton Library built in Station Road.
The large Magnet Building Society Offices open.
The new Clacton Fire Station opens at St. John’s Road roundabout.
The Duchess of Kent names the new Clacton Lifeboat the Valentine Wyndham Quinn, replacing the Sir Godfrey Baring.
The flag staff near The Band Pavilion reduced to half its original height.
Death of Teddy Dobbs the popular band leader of the Blue Lagoon. He had first came to Clacton in 1926.
Town Twinning ceremony with Valence-sur-Rhone.
The old Clacton Gasworks demolished.
St. Monica’s School closes and is demolished.
The Leas School at Alton Park opens.
Clacton marks it centenary with a series of events.
Barney Kingsman sells Clacton Pier to the Goss family.
The Ambleside hotel on Marine Parade East demolished.
Mrs Barbara Thompson elected as the last Chairman of CUDC.
The opening of the Clacton Indoor Bowls Centre.
The Steel Stella ride on the pier destroyed by fire.
Miss O J Lawrence retires from the Secondary School for Girls.
The Warwick Castle and The Palace both demolished
Tendring District Council (TDC), replaces the former Clacton Urban District Council.
Sydney Caro, of the Odeon Cinema, retires after 37 years as manager.
Record breaking summer weather.
The Viking Saga popular pleasure boat sold.
The Odeon Cinema is re-opened after an 18 months closure as the Salon Cinema.
The Ocean Theatre closes.
Severe storm damages the Dolphinarium and Life-boat house
The Salon Cinema closes on 20 November
Clacton Pier sold to a consortium led by Francis McGinty.
A new ride on the pier, the Whirlwind, replaces the old Steel Stella.
Butlin’s Holiday Camp closes.
Sale of the Oulton Hall Hotel by the ECC.
Atlas Park opens on the former Butlin’s site.
Demolition of the former Odeon/Salon Cinema.
Former John Groom’s Home demolished.
Clacton’s all-weather lifeboat replaced by an Atlantic 21 Class.
Granny Vera of Clacton makes her Great Britain Walk from March to November.
Grimwade & Clarke Shop closes.
The formation of the Clacton & District Local History Society.
The formation of the West Cliff (Tendring) Trust.
A one-way traffic system introduced for the town centre.
The Marine Hotel in Rosemary Road is demolished.
Atlas Park is sold.
The ‘go ahead ‘given for a £11 m retail park on a ten-acre site in Old Road to be called Waterglade Park.
The former Passmore Edwards Home demolished.
Death of Ronnie Mills, aged 92, once the popular big band leader at the Band Pavilion.
£25,000 damage caused to Colbayns school roof in storm force winds in November.
Clacton Town FC leave their Old Road ground for a temporary home before moving to Rush Green.
The Martello Bay residential development on the former Butlins site gets underway.
Clacton Leisure Centre opens at Vista Road.
Extensive damage caused when a hurricane hits the town during the night.
Clacton Aero Club founded.
Clacton & District Fuchsia Society formed.
Centenary of the East Essex Gazette newspaper.
Alexandra, the former Samuel Foster’s clothes shop, closes.
Centenary of Clacton Town F C
St. Osyth Road School centenary.
A Local History Room at the Clacton Public Library officially opened on 12 May.
The Station Hotel is demolished.
The Harrison family purchases the pier from the receivers, Grant Thornton.
Sea Defence works east of the pier using concrete ‘Wave Walkers.’
Death of Terry Baker, librarian and local historian.
The Clacton Queen steamroller is purchased by TDC and saved for preservation.
A former shop sign is revealed during the work on erecting new shops at the Pier Avenue, Rosemary Road junction
Storm damage to the pier decking.
The ‘Year of the Pier’ marked by various events.
The Magistrates Court in Jackson Road closes.
Closure of Bryans Garage which had been in the town for 85 years.
The Shearn Thomas fashion shop closes.
New fast-food outlets built on the site of the former flagstaff near the Band Pavilion.
The beginning of A.W. Project Clearwater, a 2.1m tunnel from Anglefield to Holland Haven.
St. Osyth Road Infants’ School closes and is later converted into a new base for the Tendring Adult Community College.
The new 4 million Police Station opens.
Lewellen’s shop in West Avenue closes and relocates to Burcart’s Corner.
Cordy’s Restaurant closes and re-opens as a public house named the Lighthouse.
Death at the age of 76, of Wally Dunn (Walter Dungate), Clacton’s own comedian.
Normanhurst is demolished.
The seafront gardens are redesigned.
Clacton’s first multi-storey car park opens off the High Street.
The Robert George Alexander RNLI inshore lifeboat dedicated in October.
St. Helena Hospice purchases the former Police Station site.
Clacton Magistrates Court in Jackson Road closes.
The completion of Project Clearwater.
Johnson’s long-established provisions shop in Rosemary Road closes.
Reckett’s House in Holland Road demolished.
The former police station and court demolished.
The’ ‘Modern’ multi-sided design former library at the Colchester Institute is demolished.
E J Gilders Estate Agents one of the town’s oldest businesses closes after 116 years.
Flicks 1 & 2 cinema (formerly the Century Cinema) is refurbished.
Clacton’s new water feature in Pier Avenue turned on for the first time.
Clacton Community Hub established at the former Imperial public house.
The Gunfleet Wind Farm begins to transmit green power from its wind turbines.
Billy & Eliot Ball take over Clacton Pier during April.
The refurbishment of the Band Pavilion.
The former Century Cinema reopens under its original name following major refurbishment.
An Aldi store opens on the site of the former Warwick Castle Hotel in July.
The hottest summer since 1976.
The Comfort Hotel, the former Waverley Hall, closes and is later demolished.
The 75th anniversary of the opening of Butlin’s marked by a “Butlin’s Day” on the greensward and an exhibition.
A storm on the 28 October causes the Helter Skelter on the pier to be blown over, while Scaffolding collapses in Rosemary Road and numerous trees and branches are down. No trains leave Clacton Station.
The former gas works site cleared.
Former Comfort Hotel demolished during April.
The Centenary of the Venetian Bridge. In July it had to be propped up after a piece of concrete fell off the underside.
A Pirate Radio Museum opens at the former Atlanta Restaurant.
The annual Clacton Air-Show includes a display of two Avro Lancaster bombers. One from the BBMF, the other specially flown over from the Canadian Heritage Museum.
The £36m Clacton and Holland Sea defence Scheme begins.
After the winter break the sea defence works restarts.
The first TDC Beach & Sea Festival held.
The new Premier Inn on the site of the Comfort Inn opens.
The completion of the rock groynes and beach recharging.
The demolition of the former Osborne Hotel along with the first two houses to be built in Clacton-on-Sea in Rosemary road.
New building development starts at the rear of the East Cliff playing field.
The Clacton Air-Show extended to include evening illuminated flying.
A new Crazy Golf complex is created next to the Greensward Café.
The Royal Hotel Carvery & Bar and American Diner opens in the late Spring on the ground floor of the hotel.
A circus held in the former Jolly Roger theatre on the pier.
For the air-show there are increased precautions at all road junctions which are blocked by concrete blocks and guarded by armed police.
The former Carlton bar and restaurant in Rosemary Road is demolished.
Repairs commence on the Venetian Bridge.
A reported multi-million up-grade to Clacton Pier begins in January.
Major works to the former Oulton Hall Hotel with the removal of the pyramidical top to the former clock tower.
The Marks & Spencer store closes.
The water feature at Christmas Tree Island removed.
The former Cordy’s restaurant demolished.
Over £4m improvement works on the pier completed.
The Post Office facility at the High Street closes in June and transferred to the W H Smith premises in Pier Avenue.
TDC investigate the restoration of Martello Towers ‘D’ and ‘E’.
The former Queen Mary Sundeck on the pier is demolished.
Stella’s Revenge ride on the pier is dismantled, to be replaced by a water slide feature.
During new works at the pier, a new concrete section by the former Stella’s Revenge collapses into the sea.
On 4 March the pier was closed to visitors following the Covid-19 Government restrictions.
Clacton Town Hall lit up blue for the ‘Clap for the NHS’ appreciation at 8pm.
TDC begins to remove the external cement render to Martello Tower ’E’ and clear the interior to help towards the eventual drying out of the brickwork.
The town is much affected by the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 virus.
The death in December of Bob Young of the Young Brothers, Clacton entertainers for 65 years.
The pandemic of Covid-19 continues with the Tendring district severely affected, Vaccines are available and are being administered.
Clacton marks its 150-year anniversary 1871-2021.
Compiled originally by Roger Kennell, and updated and amended. March 2021