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Essex Coat of Arms

Sep 2020

clac Unknown unknown + tūn Old English farmstead, settlement.

Population - 56,874.

Essex Coat of Arms

Clapped-out-on-sea, more like, right? Isn't that what it's jokingly called following decades of thrillseekers thronging to Torremolinos with Thomson™s instead?

It's standard, town centre fayre, so far, but some of the Victorian elegance that came with the railways remains.

Clacton-on-Sea - West Avenue Clacton-on-Sea - Pier Avenue

It's standard, seaside fayre, also, but plenty of options to amuse yourselves between ice creams. While the sun often helps, it's nowhere near as awful as anticipated, wonderfully well-kempt and not at all what you were expecting.

If it isn't already, the excellently-tended Garden of Remembrance should be up for some annual blooming prize or other.

Clacton-on-Sea - Garden of Remembrance Clacton-on-Sea - Beach Clacton-on-Sea - Pier

Towns like Clacton are all about the front, naturally, and this raised area gives some sense of perspective. To the east, a more-than-serviceable beach with a plastic lighthouse and mini choo-choo but below a linking bridge, here's a pier, of course.

 
Moon & Starfish (Marine Parade)

This pair aren't massive fans of these places, honestly, although Wetherspoon™s do represent exceptionally good value in an emergency. There is simply a passing interest in whatever the Director of Contrived Waterhole Naming has managed to conjure up for the place.

Clacton-on-Sea - Moon & Starfish

This one is simply a nod to the Moon Under Water, George Orwell's perfect but fictional pub with the Starfish of absolutely no relevance here whatsoever (1/5).

Founder Tim Martin has recently adopted an anti-lockdown stance during you-know-what with the Brexit™-loving billionaire being briefed by his specialist team of in-house, scientific advisors, no doubt.

This selfless stance is purely in the public's interest for whom a weekly trip to the 'Spoons is essential for their mental wellbeing. What next? He'll be cautioning his customers against any vaccine that's been proved to be full of microchips, right?

Ironic, really, since 90% of them are in here ingesting them anyway, usually with a budget burger and all washed down with an out-of-date pint of ale, right CAMRA™?

Places with a single road in and out are often lazily labelled as the end of the line[1] and so it is with Jaywick, just 2 miles west of Clacton. One of the most deprived locations in the country, it has sadly been said several times, and Channel 5™'s Jaywick - Benefits by the Sea made for investigative yet sympathetic[2] viewing.

While it's true that some development opportunities remain, there's at least one underway that looks to tempt in those who aren't just here to sneer.

Jaywick - Promenade Jaywick - Tamarisk Way Jaywick - Beach

That'll be for the beach, which is way better than Clacton's, and that single road in leads past rows of traditional-looking bungalows all overlooking, get this, a golf course!

The area behind Brooklands, however, is where Channel 5's cameras were concentrated with the largely temporary, '30s holiday housing now all permanently occupied. That was never the original plan but a lack of post-war places to live in London fuelled the influx.

There was still something of a spirit of the blitz with residents resisting repeated attempts by the local council to demolish and a 1970 preservation order means this will all be here until at least the next, big North Sea flood.

[1] See also Cumbria's Barrow-in-Furness although Cornwall doesn't look to be doing too badly.
[2] Oops, looks like 'exploitative' has been spelt wrong there.

Meanwhile, back in Clacton, back in 2020 it was Clacton's turn for, sorry, Clacton was awarded the prestigious '  Pier of the Year' prize. At a little over 1,000 foot long, that makes for an adequate entry in the pier charts, length-wise, and there's a view back to the beach, which is way worse than Jaywick's.

Clacton-on-Sea - Pier Clacton-on-Sea - From the Pier

The respectable length is matched by a generous girth making room for a fair-sized funfair but gone is Steel Stella, a largely-wooden, 1930's rollercoaster following a, taps nose, fire in 1973.

To prevent a similar situation, smoking is no longer allowed and the management reserve the right to refuse addmittance and this pair don't mind addmitting some of them gaps in the decking are a little too wide for the wobblies and yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

Clacton-on-Sea - On the Pier Clacton-on-Sea - On the Pier

The fire, just for once, does appear to have been accidental and all during an end of the pier performance by The Comedians with Russ 'Madhouse' Abbot and Jim 'Speedboat' Bowen, no less, involved in the evacuation.

It was here that Bowen first coined his catchy catchphrase 'BFH', honestly, which fans of the  Bullseye will know stands for Bus Fare Home, a derisory sum for losing contestants ha-ha! Not that night in 1973 it didn't. Grabbing the mic from a panicking Abbot...

'Everybody... BFH!' Big Fire Hurry!

That version didn't get nearly as big a laugh as he would have liked.