Clacton-on-Sea heritage trail unveiled ahead of town’s 150 birthday

Tendring District Council
Councillor Jeff Bray and historians Roger Kennell and Richard Walker attend ribbon cutting in Clacton-on-Sea Credit: Tendring District Council

A ribbon cutting event in Clacton-on-Sea officially opened a new heritage trail marking 150 years of the town.

The trail has been installed by Tendring District Council with funding from National Heritage Lottery Fund.

This weekend (Sunday 18 July) marks the town’s 150th birthday and 150 years since the first ship docked at the newly completed Clacton Pier.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow the Clacton 150 trail and learn more about the town.

Clacton-on-Sea celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021 Credit: Tendring District Council

The ribbon was cut by Tendring District Council Chairman Jeff Bray.

He said: “The Clacton 150 trail is eye-catching in its colour, and the pictures and information on the boards and really interesting to read.”

“Along the way there’s something for everyone, whether you want to re-live a trip to Butlin’s or you’re intrigued by some of the characters who helped to shape the town to what it is today.”

The trail consists of 19 information boards, stretching from Jaywick Sands to Holland Haven and going into Clacton town centre, charting various aspects of Clacton’s history.

Some of the board also have augmented reality options for those with smartphones, and there are also audio benches recanting people’s memories of the town.

Historians Roger Kennell and Richard Walker were among the team who helped toresearch and write the information on the trail.

The Clacton 150 Heritage Trail boards stretch from Jaywick Sands to Holland Haven Credit: Tendring District Council

Mr Kennell, who is part of the Victoria County History Group and the Clacton and District Local History Society said he was delighted to see the town’s history displayed for all to enjoy.

He said: “To think that the vision of one man – Peter Bruff – to buy up 50 acres of land and build a railway and pier to capitalise on the growing popularity of seaside resorts led to the modern town of Clacton we see today is staggering to think.

“It has been a lot of fun diving into various strands of history along the way as we developed the trail.”

The Clacton 150 celebrations received £250,000 from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, which has paid for the heritage trail and two staff to co-ordinate events and activities.

Clacton Pier will be marking its anniversary on 27 July, which was the official opening of the attraction 150 years ago, and is holding weekly firework displays during the school summerholidays.

Councillor Alex Porter, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism said: “It has been fascinating to learn about Clacton’s history, and I would recommend everyone takes time to read the information boards.

“There is so much going on in Clacton, and the whole of Tendring, this summer – from the Clacton 150 and Mayflower 400 heritage trails, to Octopus Ahoy and Street Tag, to the big wheels at Clacton Pavilion and Clacton Pier. So why not come along and do it all, making the most of all the Essex Sunshine Coast has to offer?”