From the 1820s the Essex seaside towns of Walton, and later Clacton and Frinton, were promoted as high-class residential and holiday resorts. After a slow start, hampered by poor communications and low demand, growth was stimulated by steam-ship companies which landed visitors on newly built piers in Walton and Clacton and by the railways that reached Walton in 1867, Clacton in 1882 and Frinton in 1888. The contemporary emphasis upon the health advantages of the seaside also led to the establishment of many convalescent homes. However, working-class excursionists newly attracted to Clacton, and to a lesser extent Walton, then irrevocably changed the social tone of the resorts. By the 1920s and 1930s Clacton was a commercialized holiday destination and the funfair-style facilities of its pier rivalled those of any other resort. Nearby Jaywick was established as a cheap and cheerful chalet development. While Walton remained popular with families, Frinton continued as a "select" resort, with building development and commerce strictly controlled. The town remains famous for its wide unspoilt greensward facing the sea and its resistance to any threats to its exclusive character.B R> Camping, caravanning and holiday camps replaced the traditional seaside holiday after 1945, but from the later 1960s the increase in overseas holidays led to a steep decline of the seaside resorts. The economy has, however, since diversified with large dormitory-style housing developments, light industry and new shopping centres, and the coast becoming increasingly popular for retirement homes. This volume presents an authoritative account of the growth and development of these towns on the so-called "Sunshine Coast".
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