Jaywick - the truth

THE first historical mention of Jaywick is during the Glacial period – settlers who shared the planet with mammoths made tools there. Coastal defences were built in the early 19th century but it was not until the 1920s that Jaywick expanded rapidly.

THE first historical mention of Jaywick is during the Glacial period – settlers who shared the planet with mammoths made tools there.

Coastal defences were built in the early 19th century but it was not until the 1920s that Jaywick expanded rapidly.

Then a businessman had the entrepreneurial idea of building a seaside resort and holiday village on the marshes lying to the west of Clacton, which was a runaway tourism success.

Frank Stedman bought the land and began building chalets to cater for people in London during their summer breaks.


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In the early 1930s, however, more than 2,000 chalets had been built and people were beginning to live there permanently. Soon Stedman was building up on the former saltings abutting the sea wall, where he created Brooklands and Grasslands.

Jaywick by this point was a thriving small town, with connections in high places, including George Lansbury, the Labour Party leader.

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Rather than relying on a council, the Residents Association cost £40 a year to join even back in 1932, but provided a range of services. These included street lighting and a nightly patrol made up of two women with dogs.

Stedman's expansion was halted during the war and his ambition to create a village green and an estate of Tudor-type buildings never came to fruition.

In 1953, during catastrophic floods, the sea wall was breached and 37 people were killed.

As tourism seeped away from the British coast in the decades following, services and infrastructure – which were never ideal for all-year living – deteriorated in parts of the village.

In recent years a major "spinal road" was made up and more externally funded community facilities appeared. Regeneration money, from various funding bodies including the European Union, is earmarked for the area and soon bigger and better tidal defences for the village are on the cards.

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