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Moon and Starfish

Read about Clacton’s history as a seaside town, which remained popular even after the Second World War.

1 Marine Parade East, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1PU
The word ‘moon’ is in the name of several Wetherspoon pubs. It links them with the fictional pub described in detail by George Orwell. The famous author called his ideal pub ‘Moon Under Water’. This one is part of the former Royal Hotel. A well-known landmark for more than 130 years, the hotel first opened its doors in 1872. At that time, it stood alone on the cliff top in the new resort of Clacton-on-Sea.

Prints and text about Clacton’s Butlins.

The text reads: Clacton’s popularity as a seaside holiday resort peaked in the 1950s. Part of this was due to the Butlins holiday camp which had opened in 1938. The pleasure park which had opened a year earlier was a major attraction it boasted the largest big wheel in the country (at that time) and had many speciality acts such as Dare Devil Peggy, a one legged diver and the Stratosphere Girl who performed astonishing stunts from the top of a small platform almost two hundred feet in the air.

Photographs and text about the history of Clacton.

The text reads: From a small village on the Essex coast, Clacton was transformed into one of the most popular seaside resorts in the country in less than a quarter of a century. This was the result of the vision of one man, Peter Bruff. Bruff bought all the land along the coast in 1864. A successful railway engineer, Bruff’s first step towards the creation of his new resort was to gain permission from parliament to extend the railway as far as Clacton and to build a pier which would enable paddle steamers to visit the new resort.

The pier was opened in July 1871 and the second project to be completed was the Royal Hotel which opened the following year. From then on, Clacton-on-Sea developed at a rapid rate and by the turn of the twentieth century was one of the most popular destinations for holiday makers.

Old photographs of Clacton.

Top: Pier gap, Clacton-on-Sea c1908
Bottom: Electric Parade, Clacton-on-Sea, c1907.



Top: Pier Avenue c,1880
Bottom: The pier in 1923.



The speed boat pleasure ride, Clacton-on-Sea.



Clacton Pier, c1932.



Clown Bertram and his ‘Bright Young Things’. The most popular performance ever to appear on the one the Pier. He performed every year from 1922 to 1939.


Bultins Holiday Camp. Partly responsible for the continued popularity of Clacton-on-Sea in the years following the Second World War.



The Winners of the ‘Ideal Holiday Girl’ at Clacton-on-Sea, 1957.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.


If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk