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Encyclopedia > Clacton on Sea
Arms of the former Clacton Urban District Council
Clacton town centre
Clacton memorial gardens
Clacton-on-Sea from the air

Town - Clacton-on-Sea

Location - Essex, England

Founded - 1871

Population (1991) - 45,065

Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town on the Tendring Peninsula, in Essex, England. It is a seaside resort which attracts many tourists in the summer. Clacton has a pleasure pier, arcades, a golf course and an airfield. In the summer, tourists have the pleasure of watching an aircraft display, sometimes involving the Lancaster Bomber, Spitfires, helicopters and the climax of the display - the Red Arrows. However, due to possible RAF cuts, this air display may cease in the future.

Clacton used to be home to one of the oldest Butlins sites, but in 1983, it was closed and replaced with the Martello Bay housing estate.

Clacton is the original home of the groups the insane picnic and Spasmodic Caress.


Great Clacton was founded by the Celts in c.100BC and was originally called Claccingaton, which means the The Village Clacc's People. There are some vague traces of Romans using the Clacton area as a seaside resort. The Domesday Book, a census conducted by William the Conqueror, records the village as Clachintuna.

Early village life was dominated by the St John's Church and The Ship Inn, which are now the two oldest buildings 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. Nowadays, this village is called Great Clacton.

Clacton as we know it was officially founded by Peter Bruff in 1871. Back then, Clacton was a popular seaside resort, but it was originally only accessible by sea. Ships came and docked with Clacton Pier, which is now an arcade and entertainment Pier. People who wanted to come by road would have to go through Great Clacton. In the 1920s, London Road was built to capicitate with the influx of holiday makers.

In archaeology, Clacton is famous as the eponymous site of the lower Palaeolithic Clactonian industry of flint tool manufacture.


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. They destroyed the old windmill and built a steam powered mill in 1867.

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