Skegness Clock Tower
Skegness from the pier
Skegness shown within Lincolnshire
|Population||24,876 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||115 mi (185 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.
Longshore drift carries particles of sediment southwards along the Lincolnshire coast; at Skegness, the sand settles out in banks which run at a slight angle to the coast. The slightly elevated dune land sheltered the small natural harbour which the Danes found behind the banks. The finer sediment drifts on to reach 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, bordering Burgh le Marsh. Just north of Mill Hill it borders 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 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 Butlin's 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 is situated on the drier eastern side of Britain: this is often used in promoting it as a holiday resort.
As with most of the British Isles, Skegness experiences a maritime climate with warm summers and cool winters. Temperature extremes since 1960 have ranged from 32.4 °C (90.3 °F) In August 1990, down to −10.0 °C (14.0 °F) in January 1963. The lowest temperature recorded in recent years was −8.0 °C (17.6 °F) during December 2010.
|Climate data for Skegness, 1981-2010|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||1.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||53.3
|Source: Met Office UK|
The name indicates 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" (possibly referring to the banks at an angle to the coast). Skeggi(meaning "bearded one"), may have been 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 16th century; or the Old East Norse word skegg "beard".
In August 1642, a consignment of arms and money, probably raised by Queen Henrietta Maria in the Netherlands to support King Charles I's campaign in the civil war, was forced into Skegness by the ships of the Parliamentarian Earl of Warwick.
Skegness was primarily a fishing village and small port 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 such excursion was from King's Cross, London on Good Friday 1908, leaving London at 11.30 am. The "Skegness is so Bracing" poster featuring the Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now famous. The poster, derived from an oil painting by John Hassall, was purchased by the railway company for 12 guineas (£12.60). However Mr Hassall did not visit the resort until 1936. He is said to have died penniless. Skegness is now served by an East Midlands Trains service from Nottingham via Grantham.
Most of the land in the modern centre of Skegness formed part of the estate of the Earl of Scarbrough. He and agent H. V. Tippet realised that the extensive sandy beach could be made attractive to holidaymakers from the industrial towns of the 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, especially when currency restrictions were lifted in the 1970s and travellers could leave the UK with more than 65 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 272 ft tall St Botolph's Church, Boston, and the object on the video was the planet Venus. 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. Skegness 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. A Beale's department store is on Lumley Road. Hildreds Centre on Beresford Avenue, with its main entrance on the pedestrianised part of High Street, is a small shopping mall with a Cooplands, W H Smith's, Claire's and Home Bargains store.
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.
On 16 August 2007 a fire at an entertainment and shopping complex on seafront destroyed the Strike's nightclub and Lucky Strike amusement arcade. Because of the severity of the fire, what remained of the complex had to be demolished. Recently there has been a new "Lucky Strike family amusement arcade built with 3 floors including "Cafe 66" on the ground floor, "WOW" milkshake bar and "Coffee Point" above and "Waterfront" a restaurant on the top tier. It is operated by Bell's Leisure, who operate other arcades such as "Plaza" further up Grand Parade near the pier and "Planet Fun" located in Ingoldmells near Fantasy Island further up the coast. In late 2008 a further fire at a building on the seafront destroyed pubs and Mitchell's fish and chip shop.
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. 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. 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.
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 2011/12. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 railway 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 railway 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 Butlin's. 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. 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.
The resort is served by two local newspapers - the Skegness Standard and the East Lindsey Target.
The parish 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. The Conservatives are presently the largest group on the council.
The political composition is as follows:
Elections in 2011 resulted in a political composition of Conservatives 12, Labour 6 and Independents 2. Since that time however there have been several changes.
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.
In September 2012 the youngest member of the council and a Conservative defected to UKIP, resulting in the first ever representation for that party on the council.
In March 2013 the Deputy Mayor (Labour) announced his resignation from the Labour Party, making him an independent member.
In November 2013 a Conservative Councillor resigned from the council. This led to a by-election which was won by Labour which changed the composition of the council.
The next full elections to Skegness Town Council are due in 2015, when boundary changes will mean that an additional ward is created. The four existing wards will remain largely unchanged, each electing five councillors as before, but there will also be a new ward – Brunswick Drive – electing one councillor. The total number of councillors therefore will rise from 20 to 21.
Skegness Town 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. Quality Status also enables councils to take a more active role in the running of local services and enter into partnership agreements with principal authorities in order to deliver them. Accreditation was achieved in 2005, though the council has yet to see any material benefit as a result.
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.
Skegness has well-established twin town relations with Bad Gandersheim, a city in southern Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hannover and Kassel. Skegness Twinning Association has existed for more than 30 years, and the town plays host to its German visitors normally once every two years.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Skegness.|