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Monday, 14 October 2019

Jaywick

Hi, I can't believe how long this post on Jaywick has taken! I completed it last week and when I went back in to edit something the whole post was missing......vanished into cyberspace. I could have cried. I still don't know what happened. Anyway here goes. 


It was a beautifully sunny day when I ventured out on my walk in Jaywick,  which now seems like n age ago after all the rain we have had. Looking back at the photos I took on the day, they do lighten my heart during this particularly dreary, grey, extremely wet weather.


Jaywick is approximately 4.5 miles from the village I live in and you couldn't get more of a contrast if you tried. The landscape is unlike anywhere else in the country.

According to  research it was initially part of the plotlands craze of the early 20th Century. With its magnificent miles of golden sands it soon became a popular destination for factory workers from Dagenham and EastEnders who bought up strips of cheap agricultural land for a country retreat. Ford plant workers even built their chalets from the company's packing cases and named the streets, Hillman, Wolsey and Bentley.  



During the war bombed out EastEnders moved to their holiday homes permanently despite the chalets structures being classed as temporary.  They had no planning, no roads, drainage or electricity but I suppose it was better than the city conditions during the war.
Prom properties (sorry about finger)
It is written that most plotland settlements were swept away by the 50's but when you look around Jaywick and its tiny little dwellings, many no bigger than a garage,  it hard to believe. Yes there is mains electricity now, drainage and tarmacked roads but you still get the sense that you are looking at a very temporary landscape. Of course there are some beautiful properties which have been lovingly extended and take advantage of the sea views.
A small one bedroomed renovated bungalow in Jaywick will set you back £52K whereas as beach hut in Holland on Sea 5 miles along the prom will cost in excess of £30k. CRAZY!


Jaywick is classed as one of the most deprived areas in the UK. Unfortunately, the small unrenovated homes have lent themselves to some unscrupulous landlords buying up these cheap properties to rent them out to Londoners,  who want to make their benefit money go further. And of course it has become the subject of a popular series of documentaries on Channel 5 : Benefits by the Sea. The Council have ploughed some money into the area but its well known that they would prefer to demolish it and allow developers in. Many locals feel they have been forgotten. A Jaywick cyclist who regularly uses the Council cycle path to get to the shops in Clacton stopped me as I walked. The route from Jaywick to Clacton floods regularly. He said he had complained  numerous times but Tendring Council had  told him it wasn't their responsibility and to ring the Environmental  Agency. The Agency were responsible as they had undertaken thousands of pounds worth of work along the east coast over the last 5-7 years both at Jaywick, Clacton  and Holland, in order to stop beach erosion. He wasn't a happy chappy. 
Towards Clacton

The Environmental Agency work  has meant some of the beaches at Jaywick have turned grassy and are very popular with dog walkers. I found the walk from Jaywick to Clacton  very pleasant and I'll definitely be doing it again. 
Towards Jaywick, cycle path to right of prom. 
You can see puddles.




Bultins came to Clacton in 1938 after Billy Butlin gained the support of the local council in 1936. It was an extremely popular camp frequented by Londoners and I can remember my dad taking me there  on a 'day pass' when we moved to Essex from Liverpool in the late 60's. It had a great funfair, swimming pool  and large restaurant whereby you could see underwater views of occupants of the pool through glass windows, something that probably wouldn't be allowed now for one reason or another today! But like so many camps it closed in 1983 when alternative types of holidays became more popular. 
Properties at the former Butlins site

Right:One of the many Martello towers on the East coast 

The land was sold quickly to developers and housing of one sort or another now exists on the site. Did you visit a Butlins as a child? I went to Butlins Skegness a few years back with my daughters family and its still as good as I remember as a child. The entertainment was first class and so were the facilities but of course you are at the mercy of the English weather. Back a bit sooner. Tx


27 comments:

  1. I used to go to Butlins for Spring Harvest when the children were younger. Skegness and Minehead. On one occasion, they were in the middle of doing it all up and it was also a cold, wet Easter week and I've rarely been anywhere more depressing. The other times were much more positive though, even though a number of the facilities weren't open.
    xx

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    1. I've been to both of those with my children. We had an amazing time mainly because the weather was incredible. They have really upped their game with centrally heated open plan chalets.

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  2. The only thing I "know" about Jaywick was from that documentary, and admittedly it was more TV porn than fair I thought. It's good to see that there is another side to the place all the same!

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    1. There are some wonderful properties there and to be so close to the sea is beautiful. There is a lot of support for the residents from outside agencies as it does seem to have lots of societies under privileged.

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  3. Don't you find that it's always posts that have taken ages to write and add photos to that vanish into the ether, even when you have taken great care to 'save' them to go back to and carry on working!! So bloody annoying :-(

    I loved the tv series about Jaywick and the folk doing their best to survive in the dilapidated prefabs.

    We never went to Butlins, it was always Pontins for us once we stopped going to my Uncles caravan each Summer. Maybe it was just because it was easier to get to as we never had a car.

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    1. You are so right about the posts that go missing. Where are they? I can usually do the back button and it will reappear but not this time. I've only been to Pontins once and that was for a 60s weekend.

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  4. This is a really interesting post Tania.
    I have never seen the tv programme,sounds good.
    We are actually living in a prefab which is supposidly made partly from old aircraft from the war (It is metal on the outside).

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    1. Wow, that is really interesting. It's great to put the history behind an area.

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  5. I never went to Butlins as a holidaymaker but I worked at the one in North Wales one summer ( 1965) with a friend while I was at university. I worked for Lyons ice-cream and walked around the camp with a little cart. Had to have o/n accommodation outside the camp as we were not actual Butlins employees!

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    1. I spent many a holiday in North Wales as a child but never went to the Butlins there. How great that you have experience of the camp when they were still quite popular. I think the decline started early 70s.

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  6. What a really interesting post. I love social history and Jaywick seems to have plenty of it. We never went to Butlins when we were children but we took Amy to Skegness when she was 3. She had a great time. I don't recall it being basic, which is what I expected, then again I don't recall it being that cheap either! xx

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    1. Thank you. I love social history too. I loved Butlins as a child. The entertainment, free pool, funfair and games areas are great value if you utilise them.

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  7. I went to Butlins in Clacton when I was a child. It was a magical place to someone of tender years and I remember having a very happy week there. First thing in the morning we were woken up by singing over the speaker system, I remember the chalet that we stayed in and the bunk beds were fun and new to me. So much to do in the day, I was never bored. So much going on, the funfair was brilliant and I went swimming every day. Then in the evening there was always great entertainment for kids and adults alike. Ahhh happy days! x

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    1. Hi Trish, like you I gave fond memories of Butlins. Even when we went a few years back the entertainment was brilliant. The pools are like tropical oasis's and the funfair great fun. The grandchildren loved it.

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  8. I never stayed at Butlins but I do remember the one at Clacton as DB's family lived in Clacton and some still do. As a child I desperately wanted a holiday in Butlins but I don't think my parents could have afforded it. I did quite often go to Jaywick for a day on the beach though. I loved it.

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  9. I've never heard of Jaywick before, so found this post quite fascinating. It has an interesting history.
    I've also never been to a Butlins. I feel like I'm missing out now :) X

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    1. Bless you Jules. Jaywick and Butlins both have a place in history, they served the post war population well. The remaining Butlins Camps have been upgraded and are still well used. Perhaps you'll get to try one out at some point.

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  10. This looks like a beautiful little place, I wish I'd had a chance to go when in England. I'm glad you and your children have fond memories of being there.

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    1. I went in the 60s as a child. There was always something to do and it was free! I loved all the different experiences and the shows were great.

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  11. Jaywick sounds very much like the Fitties in Humberston. I keep meaning to have a trip out there and your post has reminded me. I love this kind of place.
    All my friends and even DH went to Butlins - my mum would never go and like Jules I feel I am missing out.

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    1. I'll have to look up the Fitties in Humberston. I dare say there are many unique communities around the UK. Butlins was and still is good.

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  12. I didn't go to Butlins for any holidays. The majority of my childhood holidays were spent in Cornwall, as we lived just over the border in Plymouth. But I did go for a day trip to Minehead in the early 80s and it was so run down! Now however, I believe it has all been done up and caters for a lot of 80s themed weekends. I see on Facebook that several of my friends have been on these weekends and have a whale of a time!

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    1. Cornwall us beautiful, lucky you. I went to Butlins Minehead when I was 8 and loved it. My dad took us into town for a cream tea. The themed weekends are good value as you have access to the rest of the camps facilities.

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  13. What a great post and well done for going and experiencing for yourself. I love going to these kind of places with a social history story to discover. I hate the documentary porn that does not give a full fair picture.

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    1. A biased program can put people off visiting people. The documentry only really captured the slum area but there is some beauties there. I'll definitely be walking there again.

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  14. My grandparents used to live just across the road from Butlins in Clacton. We spent nearly all our holidays with them and used to get day passes into Butlins from an aunt who worked there.
    We used to walk along the seafront to Jaywick in all weathers. I loved it there but I haven't been for nearly forty years.
    Thank you for bringing back some happy memories.

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