Facts about Clacton
Clacton was a site of the lower Palaeolithic Clactonian industry of flint tool manufacture. The “Clacton Spear”, a wooden (yew) spear found at Clacton in 1911 and dated at 450,000 years ago, is the oldest such spear to have been found in Britain. Great Clacton was founded by the Celts around 100 BC. There are some vague traces of Romans using the Clacton area as a seaside resort. The name Clacton dates from around AD 500 when the area was settled by Saxons.
Clacton was repeatedly surveyed by the Army in the Napoleonic Wars as a possible invasion beach-head for Napoleon and his Dutch allies. There was a large army and militia camp where Holland-on-Sea now stands. Clacton was still a small village and a few outlying hamlets when the Essex railway engineer Peter Bruff, the steamboat owner William Jackson, and a group of businessmen built a pier and hotel there in the 1871.
Clacton Seaside Resort
The modern-day Clacton was founded by Peter Bruff in 1871 as a seaside resort. Originally the main means of access was by sea; Steamships operated by the Woolwich Steam Packet Company docked from 1871 at Clacton Pier which opened the same year. The pier 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 1920, London 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. Today Paddle Steamer Waverley operates from Clacton Pier offering pleasure boat excursions.
Clacton has one of only seven Blue Flag beaches in the East of England at Martello Bay (two more are locally at Dovercourt Bay & Brightlingsea). Other beaches have also been awarded the Seaside Award for 2013 at West Beach and again at Martello Bay. Clacton Seafront Gardens which run along the top of the seafront west of Clacton Pier has also been awarded a Green Flag and includes various sections with formal gardens, memorials and places to sit and rest away from the hustle-bustle of the beach.