Skegness Clock Tower
Butlins Skegness, Summer 1986
Skegness shown within Lincolnshire
|Population||18,910 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|- London||114 mi (183 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||PE24, PE25|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Boston and Skegness|
Skegness (pronounced //) is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Located on the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea, 43 miles (69 km) east of the city of Lincoln it has a resident population of 18,910.1
Longshore drift carries particles of sediment southwards along the Lincolnshire coast but at Skegness, the sand settles out in banks (tombolos) which run at a slight angle to the coast forming the beard. The slightly elevated dune land sheltered the small natural harbour which the Danes found behind the banks. The finer sediment drifts on to find a home in the mud of the Wash, beyond Gibraltar Point.
The civil parish extends westwards along the A158 to the west side of the South View Hotel, and the boundary follows North Drain, bodering with Burgh le Marsh. Just north of Mill Hill, it borders with Addlethorpe, passing to the west of Ash Tree Farm, the airfield and Skegness Water Leisure Park. At the north end of the leisure park it borders with Ingoldmells, and the boundary follows to the south of Wall's Lane. The boundary crosses the A52 at a subway across the road, just south of the Butlins camp.
To the south of the hotel on the A158, the parish follows Main Drain, to the west of Warth Lane. Just south of Ivy House, it crosses the A52 and borders Croft. The boundary follows Cow Bank Drain, over a level crossing, to the north of Croft Grange, then passes through Bramble Hills, just north of Seacroft Golf Course to the sea.
Skegness enjoys its position on what is officially recognised as 'the drier side of Britain', being the east coast2 - a fact that has often been used to some advantage in promoting it as a holiday resort.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Skegness experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Temperature extremes since 1960 have ranged from 32.4 °C (90.3 °F) In August 1990,3 down to −10 °C (14.0 °F) in January 1963.4 The lowest temperature recorded in recent years was −8 °C (17.6 °F) during December 2010.5
|Climate data for Skegness, 1981-2010|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||1.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||53.3
|Source: Met Office UK6|
The name would appear to indicate that Skegness has its origin in the Danish period of settlement of England although there is no reference to a village named Skegness in the Domesday Book. The town's name means either "Skeggi's headland" or "beard-shaped headland", depending on whether the first element represents the personal name Skeggi7 (meaning 'bearded one'), one of the Vikings who established the original settlement to the east of the current town which was washed away by the sea in the early sixteenth century; or the Old East Norse word skegg "beard".8
Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lincolnshire from a very early time, for governance, the parish of Skegness was in the Marsh division of the ancient Candleshoe Wapentake in the Parts of Lindsey.
In August 1642, a consignment of arms and money, probably raised by Queen Henrietta Maria, in the Netherlands for the support of King Charles I's campaign in the Civil War, was forced into Skegness by the ships of the Parliamentarian Earl of Warwick.9
Skegness was primarily a fishing village and small port10 until the arrival of the railway in 1875. In 1908, the Great Northern Railway commissioned a poster to advertise excursions to the resort, the first being from King's Cross, London on Good Friday 1908, leaving London at 11.30 am.11 The 'Skegness is so Bracing' poster featuring The Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now world famous. The poster, derived from an oil painting by John Hassall, was purchased by the railway company for 12 guineas.11 Paradoxically, Mr Hassall did not visit the resort until 1936. He is said to have died penniless.
Most of the land in what is now the downtown core formed part of the estate of the Earl of Scarbrough and he, together with his agent H.V.Tippet,12 realised that the extensive sandy beach could be made attractive to holidaymakers from the industrial towns of the English Midlands, a clientele already developed by Thomas Cook. He planned the town as a resort from 1877 and it expanded rapidly, but along with many other UK resorts, especially those on the cold North Sea, it lost out to the cheap package holiday boom which opened up Spain (in particular) to the average holidaymaker after World War II currency restrictions were lifted and travellers could leave the UK with more than 50 pounds.
Ingoldmells, the parish to the north of Skegness, was the site of the UK's first holiday camp, started by Billy Butlin in 1936. Butlins is still there today, at the north end of the town, on the road to Ingoldmells. It maintains its appeal as a destination for family holidays, and attracts thousands to the resort in the low season with music weekends encompassing 60s, 80s, soul and other genres.
The Wash Incident took place in the early hours of 5 October 1996 when a strange red and green rotating light was seen by Skegness residents and police officers to the southeast of Skegness, who then contacted the Coastguard at Great Yarmouth. It later involved many RAF stations, including RAF Neatishead, and GCHQ. The object was probably not an aircraft because although it could be seen on radar, it had no transponder. The Skegness News, a local newspaper which no longer exists, investigated the incident and sought confirmation of the object from the Jodrell Bank Observatory. In their report to the RAF, the observatory said that Venus, ‘the queen of UFOs’, which had been shining with exceptional brilliance in the early morning sky to the east, probably explained the light shown on the video. The object was caught on video by Skegness Police. The RAF decided the stationary 'blip' was a permanent echo of the 83m tall St Botolph's Church, Boston, and the object on the video was the planet Venus.131415 It coincided with the Westendorff UFO sighting.
In March 2005, Skegness took the top spot in a survey by "Yours magazine", looking at the best retirement places in the UK. Yours researchers visited sixty likely towns. The factors involved in judging included house prices, hospital waiting lists, the crime rate, council tax rates, activities and attractions, weather patterns and ease of transport.16 It has also been described by Lonely Planet's Great Britain guide as "everything you could want" in a seaside resort. On 22 July 2008 the newly elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, caused controversy in an article in The Daily Telegraph, where he declared "Stuff Skegness, my trunks and I are off to the sun", in his desire to have a foreign holiday that year.17
The town is popularly known as Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg or Skegvegas or "the Blackpool of the East Coast",citation needed and has a famous mascot, the Jolly Fisherman (designed by John Hassall in 1908 for the Great Northern Railway), and a slogan - "Skegness is so bracing" - a reference to the chilly prevailing north-easterly winds that can and frequently do blow off the North Sea.18 The slogan is thought to have come from an unknown member of staff of the railway. The poster was first seen at Easter in conjunction with an excursion from Kings Cross Station. The last of these trips ran in 1913.19
Many of the hotels, guest-houses, self-catering apartments and bed & breakfast establishments in and around the Skegness area are members of the "Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association". An association formed in April 2008 after the merging of two previous associations known as "The Skegness Hoteliers Association", consisting of hotel, bed and breakfast and guest house accommodation providers and the "Skegness Self Catering Association", consisting of holiday flats, chalet and caravan parks.
Skegness, like many UK resorts, has suffered in recent years due to the increase in cheap foreign package holidays over staying at home.citation needed In the 18 months leading up to the end of 2008, the resort had suffered the destruction by fire of three of its most popular attractions - The Dunes pub at Winthorpe, the Parade Complex which housed a nightclub, bar and amusement arcade, and a seafront building housing two bars and a fish-and-chip shop.
At the end of Lumley Road is the town's clock tower, its most well-recognised landmark. It was built in 1898-99 to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee back in 1897 and funded through public subscription. Along with the "Jolly Fisherman" mascot is the most recognised symbol of Skegness. Although its official name is the Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower it is referred by locals and holiday makers as "The Clock Tower". The clock tower became the subject of a hoax in the Skegness Standard on 1 April 2009, when the newspaper claimed that it was about to be dismantled and moved to a museum.20 It is featured as a 3D rendering in Google Earth.21
Beyond the clock tower, Tower Esplanade leads to the beach, with a statue of the Jolly Fisherman in the Compass Gardens to one side and the entrance to the once-popular boating lake on the other. The name Lumley comes from the surname of the Earl of Scarbrough's family. St Matthew's church22 of Early English Gothic style is on Lumley Avenue, being built by the Earl of Scarbrough in 1879, and [St Clement's] is on Church Road North. Tower Gardens, previously known as the Pleasure Gardens, opened in 1878 after being donated by the Earl of Scarbrough.23 The gardens have events during the summer.24
Skegness had a 1,843 foot (562 m) long pier which was opened on Whit Monday 1881 at a cost of £20,840 and was at the time the fourth longest in England. It was a T-shaped pier with a saloon/concert hall at the pier head. Steamboat trips ran from the pier to The Wash and Hunstanton in Norfolk from 1882 until 1910. In 1919, it was damaged by a drifting ship, the schooner Europa, and it took twenty years to raise the money to fully repair it. During the Second World War the pier was closed and parts of the decking was removed as part of anti-invasion policies and didn't reopen until 1948 following repairs. The north east corner of the pierhead suffered damage during the 1953 East Coast Floods and the pier entrance was flooded but the main structure survived. In the early 1970s the pier entrance archway was demolished despite it being classed as Grade II listed building and at the same time the pierhead theatre was enlarged from a seating capacity of 700 to one thousand.
On Wednesday 11 January 1978 a northerly severe gale and storm surge which coincided with high spring tides brought disaster and Skegness Pier along with other piers at Margate, Herne Bay and Hunstanton was irretrievably damaged and only 380 feet of landward pier deck walkway from the main entrance was left with the eastern shelters and the pierhead totally cut off and isolated from the shoreline. Debris from the wrecked pier was scattered for several miles around with souvenir hunters coming into the area to see what they could find.
For several years following the storm these two isolated structures remained as features on Skegness beach whilst plans to try to repair the pier and relink the structures were sought but this failed citing the costs as simply too high and in 1983 the eastern shelters were dismantled and demolished. By 1985 the decision was made to demolish the now derelict and isolated pierhead and theatre as the building was falling into a state of disrepair as the upper deck of the structure had been badly damaged following the 1978 storm although it had become a roosting place for hordes of starlings. It was considered a risk to small shipping and also to the public. Special permission for its demolition was granted as it was a Grade II listed building as was the rest of the pier. It was planned to dismantle the pierhead in stages starting from October 1985 and just as work was getting underway the structure caught fire and two stranded workmen had to be rescued by the town's lifeboat. After the fire burned itself out only the cast-iron stanchions were left and these were removed in January 1986 on one of the lowest tides of that year.
Today the pier is only 387 feet (118m) long and no evidence remains of the old pierhead and shelters but what remains of the landward pier deck walkway has since undergone major refurbishment and is now once again a tourist attraction. Despite its much reduced length it is a major landmark along the beach as far as Gibraltar Point to the south and Ingoldmells to the north.
The RNLI has a station in Skegness manned by a crew who are volunteers except for the coxswain, and equipped with two lifeboats - the all-weather Lincolnshire Poacher and a smaller dinghy-style inshore boat. The Coastguard have a base on the town's industrial estate.
Two miles (3 km) out to sea is an offshore drilling platform for gas, and clearly visible from the town is the large Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm operated by Centrica. A larger wind farm further out to sea has been proposed.
Lumley Road, High Street and Roman Bank are the main shopping areas. There are Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets and an Iceland store all located in the centre of the town near the railway station. Beales department store, and fashion retailer Smart Clothing Co on Lumley Road.
Skegness holds an annual carnival in August, which includes a week-long programme of events throughout the town. East Lindsey District Council previously operated the carnival procession but handed control of the event to a group of volunteers, who now run it on a smaller scale.citation needed
On 16 August 2007 a fire at an entertainment and shopping complex on seafront destroyed a nightclub and an amusement arcade. Because of the severity of the fire, what remained of the complex had to be demolished.25 There are now plans to build a hotel on the site.citation needed In late 2008 a further fire at a building on the seafront destroyed public houses and a fish-and-chip shop.citation needed
Skegness Hospital has two entrances - accident and emergency on Dorothy Avenue and the main entrance on Lincoln Road. In October 2005, the East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust closed the Scarbrough Ward as part of a package of money-saving measures.2627 Locals were outraged by the decision, because the ward represented about a third of the hospital's entire capacity and also provided palliative care. Campaigners including doctors, nurses, business people, journalists and councillors marched through the streets and held up the traffic, then later called for the resignations of the PCT board members after they turned down a £100,000 donation offered by East Lindsey District Council to enable the ward to remain open through the winter.28 The PCT said the donation would "impinge" on its duties, and could be considered "unlawful" if accepted. The ward re-opened in 2006 and began operating to its previous capacity again.
The town also has two GP practices, a nurse-led community mental health team, providing long-term and short-term care and a PCT health centre; the latter being on Cecil Avenue.
- Richmond Primary School29
- Seathorne Primary School3031
- Skegness Infant School32
- Skegness Junior School33
- The Viking School (independent)
- Skegness Academy (formerly known as St Clement's College & the Earl of Scarbrough High School) is a secondary modern on Burgh Road.34
- Skegness Grammar School on Vernon Road.
- Skegness College of Vocational Training on Wilford Grove and Grosvenor Road.35
- Lincolnshire Regional College on Heath Road run by Grimsby Institute
The long and wide sandy beach features donkeys for riding, and has several times won the Blue Flag beach award for cleanliness. The Central beach has retained its blue flag status for 2011/2012.36 From 2007 the Quality Coast Award was introduced by Keep Britain tidy, an environmental charity focusing on raising the standards of beaches in England. This award is handed out in recognition of the achievements of beach managers and guarantees holiday makers that the beach is of the highest standards. The Central beach has been given the coveted award. Quality Coast Award
The shape of the beach has changed considerably in the last decade. In the mid-1990s an extensive programme of enhancement to the sea defences was carried out, with the installation of rock armour along the length of Lagoon Walk. This provided a barrier against the sea's tremendous power, but consequently the highest tides were forced southwards. The Environment Agency predicted that the sea would destroy Skegness Boating Club's boat compound and possibly wipe out a grassed picnic area just behind it. As the tides shifted, the boat compound was indeed flattened by the sea. Sand dunes were washed away and significant new creeks were carved into the beach, but so far the picnic area remains intact.37 The boating club now has a new compound just off the Princes Parade car park.
On the southern foreshore sits a popular family attraction, the Fairy Dell paddling pool. Closed by the district council because of health and safety fears in 2004, the pool became a centre of controversy as people from Skegness, elsewhere in the country and as far afield as Australia voiced their dismay at the loss of such a time-honoured free facility.38 Taxpayers and town councillors joined forces with the local press to campaign for the Fairy Dell to be reopened, and the district council gave way to public pressure and promised to have it back in operation by summer 2006.
On 22 May 2006 the Fairy Dell re-opened following a major refurbishment during which improvements were made to the pool such as clean-filtered water and extra water features.39
Natureland Seal Sanctuary provides visitors with entertainment, education and conservation. The sanctuary opened its doors in 1965 and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The sanctuary features seals, penguins, tropical and seawater aquariums and koi pond, a pets corner, tropical house and floral palace. Natureland works with abandoned baby seals which are often washed up on the beach and in need of medical care. Staff treat and rear the seals until they are well enough to be returned to the sea.
- To the south of the town is Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, on the northern limit of The Wash.
- Church Farm Museum is a museum of agricultural life covering the 17th to 20th Centuries.
- The town is a centre for bowls.
- Annual world's premier Meccano exhibition is staged in the Embassy Theatre, on the Grand Parade by the seafront and opened in September 1989.
- Botton's Pleasure Beach, featuring roller coasters, mini merry-go-round (the Gallopers), dodgems and many traditional and modern rides40 as well as its annual end-of-season firework display.
The A52 passes through the town from Boston to Mablethorpe. The A158 connects Lincoln to Skegness, and connects with the A16 to the north via the A1028. National Express operates direct (non-stop) daily coaches from East Midlands cities in the warmer months of the year. A 36-mile-long (58 km) Roman road passes between Lincoln and Skegness via Burgh le Marsh, initially following the A158, then to the north of the road, across the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The town's railway and 'bus stations are located next door to each other at the bottom of Richmond Drive in the town centre.
Stagecoach Lincolnshire is the main operator in the town with regular services operating up the coast as far as Mablethorpe; there are also regular services inland to both Boston and Lincoln.41
Skegness railway station is the terminus for the Grantham to Skegness Line. Trains run the full length of this and the Nottingham to Grantham Line to give connections to the East Midlands. For the amount of traffic, the station is bigger than necessary with four long platforms. Each platform can accommodate a full HST. The main interconnecting line, the East Lincolnshire Railway, was dismantled from Firsby to Grimsby. Access from the north was discontinued from 1970.
The station is having a major renovation programme costing £290,000.
Nottingham, Grantham, Boston and Sleaford have direct connections, while popular places such as Leicester, Derby and Kettering require a change at Nottingham. The track from Boston to Skegness, although once part of a busy longer-distance line, is not suited to large heavy trains, therefore line speeds are generally restricted to a maximum of 30 mph (for locomotive-hauled trains).
Fine beaches link the coastal towns, and there are large caravan parks in the surrounding countryside. Skegness Water Leisure Park, a short distance to the north of the town, near Ingoldmells, has its own airfield, with two runways. PPR (Prior Permission Required) is stated for landing.
Pleasure flights used to operate from the original Skegness airfield which was located close to the current site of Butlins. Vintage Austers were taking off and landing several times an hour in summer as holidaymakers sampled the joys of flying. At the time the shortest runway was just under 400 yards, making it challenging for less experienced pilots. Pilots from other airfields were sent to Skegness as part of their qualifying cross country.
Skegness Stadium, just outside the town, hosts stock car racing throughout the year, with events such as truck racing, stunt shows, firework displays and caravan racing. Speedway racing was staged at the stadium in 1997.42 The Skegness Braves failed in both of their attempts to operate there for a full season.
Skegness is home to Skegness Town A.F.C., Skegness United F.C. which was reformed in 2011 and has a rugby club, Skegness RUFC, and is home to Skegness Cricket Club.
In March 2013 it was announced that Skegness could become home to the country's national beach sports stadium.43
The resort is served by two local newspapers - the Skegness Standard and the East Lindsey Target.
- The East Lindsey Target is delivered free to most homes in the area every Wednesday. It can also be purchased at retail outlets such as newsagents and petrol filling stations. The paper's website is incorporated into the This Is network, and is owned by Northcliffe Media.
- The Skegness Standard is a paid for newspaper, released on Wednesdays. The Standard has its own website. The former tabloid editor Neil Wallis started his journalistic career in the 1960s on the Skegness Standard.44
- TV-wise, Skegness is covered by BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire/ITV Yorkshire, though it overlaps with BBC East Midlands/ITV Central (East).
- On the internet, there is a discussion forum used by local people and visitors to Skegness, at the Visit Skegness website, and a new website, Skegness.com, is being developed to provide local information, what's on listings, a business directory and other content.
The local authority is Skegness Town Council, which comprises five seats in each of four wards - St Clements, Scarbrough, Seacroft and Winthorpe - making 20 seats in total.45
Following elections in 2011, the political makeup of Skegness Town Council was:46
- Conservatives: 11 (12 prior to September 2012)
- Labour: 5 (6 prior to March 2013)
- Liberal Democrat: 1
- UK Independence Party: 1
- Independent members: 2
In May 2011 there was a net gain of 6 seats for the Conservatives, offset by the loss of 4 seats for Labour and 1 for the Independents.
A by-election was held in April 2012 following the resignation of a Labour councillor, but the seat was won by a Labour candidate, resulting in no change in the council's political composition.47
In September 2012 the youngest member of 19 and a Conservative defected to UKIP resulting in the first ever representation for that party on the Council.48
In March 2013 the Deputy Mayor (Labour) announced his resignation from the Labour Party making him an independent member. 49
The next full elections to this body are due in 2015.
The council has achieved Quality Status, which is an official mark of recognition that it conducts its affairs well in areas including official procedures, the qualification of its clerk and the effectiveness of its communications.50
Under this scheme, a group of volunteers from a cross-section of the community led efforts to find out what the people of the town wanted to see change, and the things they wanted to remain. This was done through surveys and public consultations.
The aim was to produce a 'blueprint' for the development of Skegness by the end of 2009, to cover the coming ten to twelve years and be a 'vision' for the future, hence the name Skegness 2020 Vision. The plan was to be used as a guide for developers and councillors when it came to submitting applications for planning permission.
Little happened as a result of the initiative, and in 2012 the council again appealed for members of the public to get involved in producing a more localised plan, based on individual wards within the town.52
- United Kingdom Census 2001. "Skegness (Parish)". neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2007.
- dead link
- "1990 temperature". KNMI.
- "1963 temperature". KNMI.
- "2010 temperature". KNMI.
- "Skegness Climate". Met Office UK. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- Kenneth Cameron, A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-names, Nottingham 1998, ISBN 0-904889-58-0
- AD Mills, Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, Oxford 1998, ISBN 0-19-280074-4, which gives both possibilities.
- Thompson, P. The History and Antiquities of Boston and the Hundred of Skirbeck (1856) facsimile edn. (1987) ISBN 0-948639-20-2
- Skegness historydead link
- Derbyshire Family History Society magazine issue 127, inside back cover
- Robinson, D.N. The Book of the Lincolnshire Seaside (1983) p.66.
- The 1996 East Anglian UFO flap | UFO Files | Strange Days | Fortean Times UK
- Boston Standard February 2010
- National Archives 38MB PDF file pages 229-240dead link
- Yours.co.uk Yours - Over 50s Dating, Holiday & Financial Advice | Find Friends & Travel Offers - Yours
- Johnson, Boris (22 July 2008). "Stuff Skegness, my trunks and I are off to the sun". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- dead link
- History of the Jolly Fisherman
- Gotcha! Clock Tower removal story was an April Fool - Local - Skegness Standard
- Skegness Clock Tower by sd3d - 3D Warehouse
- Skegness Group Church of England Churches in Skegness, Winthorpe, Ingoldmells, and Addlethorpe in Lincolnshire
- BBC - Lincolnshire - Places - Point 6 - Tower Gardens
- dead link
- "Coastal arcade destroyed by fire". BBC News. 17 August 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
- Digital Agency - Award Winning Web Design Norwich Norfolk, UK
- Services - Skegness and District General Hospital - NHS Choices
- "Campaigners oppose ward closure". BBC News. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Welcome to Seathorne Primary School
- Home Page
- Untitled Document
- dead link
- Is this the shape of things to come...? - Local - Skegness Standard
- Fairy Dell re-opens - thanks to YOU! - Local - Skegness Standard
- dead link
- theme park uk, amusement arcade, seaside holiday resort - pleasure beach skegness
- Stagecoach Lincolnshire
- SpeedwayPlus | The Non-Essential Guide to Skegness Speedway
- BBC News - Plans for national beach sports stadium in Skegness
- Ian Burrell (15 July 2011). "Fleet Street's 'Wolfman': hardened hack with a hotline to the Met". The Independent (London). Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- dead link
- Youngest Skegness Tory councillor Robin Hunter-Clarke jumps ship to join UKIP | This is Lincolnshire
- Deputy Mayor quits Labour Party following chains row - Local - Skegness Standard
- dead link
- Get involved in shaping your town's future development - Local - Skegness Standard
- Local News | Skegness Town Council in Lincolnshire
Media related to Skegness at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Skegness|
- Skegness Guide - what's on, things to do, news
- Skegness Town Council
- Photos of Skegness, Mablethorpe, Chapel St Leonards from the past to present day
- History of Butlin's
- Skegness Playgoersdead link
- Skegness Standard local newspaper
- The official "Skegness Magazine" news stories past and present
- Skegness discussion forum
- Stagecoach Lincolnshire
- Skegness PWS weather station
- Skegness holiday guide
- Pathe newsreel, 1925, motor racing on the sands
- Pathe newsreel, 1949, extreme weather
- Pathe newsreel, 1949, extreme weather
- 1996 UFO on Anglia TV
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