Friday, 14 August 2015

Skegness Holidays

Ever since I was a little girl, I was taken to the East Coast for holidays. Skegness, Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, and Mablethorpe, I've visited them all, but Skegness has to be my favourite. 

The first Butlin's holiday camp was built here in 1936. I had two holidays there with a friend and her parents, when I was about 12. Fantastic holidays. We've had camping holidays with mum and dad, and caravanning holidays when our kids were young, in mum and dad's caravan. The most recent holidays were in a guest house called The Americana. I've recently found out this has now closed.

There is a lovely beach, gardens, boating lake, a seal sanctuary, a model village and a wind farm out to sea.

Seal Sanctuary at Natureland

Penguins at Natureland

Part of the Butterfly House at Natureland

The town is popularly known as Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg or Skegvegas or "the Blackpool of the East Coast", 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. 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 King's Cross railway station. The last of these trips ran in 1913.


Chris by the Axenstrasse

Yours Truly by the Axenstrasse

Many of the hotels, guest-houses, self-catering flats 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 British resorts, has suffered in recent years due to the increase in cheap foreign package holidays over staying at home. 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.

The famous clock tower

At the end of Lumley Road is the town's clock tower, built in 1898-99 to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and funded through public subscription. With the "Jolly Fisherman" mascot, it is the most recognised symbol of Skegness. The Diamond Jubilee 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. It is featured as a 3D rendering in Google Earth.

The Compass Gardens with Jolly Fisherman statue
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 Church 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. The gardens have events during the summer.
Below are photos of the model village

Skegness had a 614 yards (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 did not reopen until 1948 following repairs. The north east corner of the pierhead suffered damage during the North Sea flood of 1953 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 1,000.

Fairy Dell Paddling Pool

Boating Lake

Part of the beach
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 MargateHerne Bay and Hunstanton was irretrievably damaged and only 127 yards 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.

Chris and I looking like American tourists, with Jonathan

Jonathan and Rachel by the beach

Rachel with Chris and I
Today the pier is only 129 yards (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, Though a tiny amount of the structure still stands from the sand, with a triangular sign warning of the piece of iron's presence. 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.

 Part of the Skegness Wind Farm
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. There is a wind farm further out to sea now.


  1. You flipping do look like american tourists, and midget ones at that next to jonathan! However, it's a great post, I love skeggy and have so many great memories from the east coast. One especially is when I was about 8 and I was distracted in a shop by some arty farty object ( no surprise there ) and I looked to where u were standing only to find you had vanished and I thought I'd been lost, so I stood and shouted you at the top of my lungs only to turn the other way and find you all standing a few feet away gawping at something. So I joined you and acted like I wasn't scared at all xx

    1. Can't remember that. Ahhhh, poor you. :-) xx