Glimpse history through old images of Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, England.
Cliff Houses 1931
In 1931, a cliff fall damaged the foundations of one of Walton-on-the-Naze’s lovely cliff top homes.
As the angle of the camera moves, we can see a number of other homes along the road. There’s also a shot of a house further back in the other direction.
SUBSIDENCE: Houses damaged by cliff falls at Walton-on-Naze (1931) – British Pathé on YouTube
School Film Unit 1962
In 1962, the local county secondary school ran a film unit for its pupils.
This newsreel includes pupils, teachers, classrooms and the woodworking room, the dressmaking room, the art class, and the beach.
It’s nice to see the work of Mr L. F. Broom, who created the programme, the teachers who engaged with it, and the school who provided the expensive resources to support it, being celebrated for the great work they were doing raising pupil’s engagement, expectations and employability.
School Film Unit (1962) – British Pathé on YouTube
In 1983, the population of Walton-on-the-Naze was 5,664. It would double each summer as holidaymakers arrived, some of them returning every year for decades on end.
Dancing on the pier had given way to yoga and jogging, but roundabout rides and playing on the beach were still a core part of the family family here.
Some of the workers arrived for the season too, including young Barry the Londoner who pestered the girls as part of his job on the dodgems.
Taffie Reece, a former science teacher, took a semi-retirement job as chief beach inspector. He can’t swim.
A family company provided the outdoor cowboy show.
Just Another Day Walton on the Naze Part 1 – British Pathé on YouTube
In part 2, we learn that the lifeboat crew have their nights and romantic evenings interrupted by call outs.
Jimmy Andrews, a former clown, entertained customers on the Twister by eating litcigarettes.
It was a pound for a toy penguin.
There’s music and dancing at the Martello Club, along with some attempts at singing. The interview with the musicians raises a smile. They perform 6 nights a week for 18 weeks.
The next conversation is with Barry at the Dodgems, which is hilarious even though it’s discussing the injury list.
Just Another Day Walton on the Naze Part 2 – British Pathé on YouTube
Extract from: An historical and geographical description of … Walton on the Naze, etc
Published in 1840
Pages 12 – 15
The sea has made great devastation on this
part of the coast for a long period , and still con
tinues to wash away the soil , though not so much
as formerly , ( if we except a part of the coast
opposite the Terrace , for a new wall erected
here about three years ago , is now completely
destroyed , ) the ancient village is entirely vanish
ed with the exception of five or six old cottages
which stood inland , and which the sea has not
been able to reach . Upwards of one hundred
years ago the sea first began its inroads on the
village , and house after house gradually disap
peared in the devouring element ; it soon reach
ed the church , when it was melancholy to see
the remnants of half – decayed coffins protruding
through the soil . The sacred fabric gradually
vanished , and in a little time the whole village
was swallowed up in the mighty waters , except
the cottages before mentioned . The distance
from the present shore to the ancient one is up
wards of a quarter of a mile ; but the bottom of
the sea is very shallow as far as the old village
reached , and at low water is nearly dry for some
distance ; the earth which has been washed
down from the cliffs , has been carried out to sea
and turned , by the action of the salt water , into
a hard blackish substance resembling cement .
The endowment , or corps of one of the pre
bends of St. Paul’s Cathedral having been swal
lowed up long ago , is styled prebenda consumpta
per mare , it had the thirteenth stall on the left
side of the choir , and was rated at one mark .
King Edward the sixth granted to Sir Thomas
Darcy , the manors of Thorpe , Kirby , and
Walton , and the advowson of the vicarages ,
with their singular privileges , their immunities
have descended to the Right Hon . the Earl of
Rochford , and from him to the present owner , no
bailiff can arrest any person in these sokens ,
except the Lord’s bailiff , ( by the ancient custom , )
The custom as to lands are peculiar , they are
mostly copyhold but nearly as good as free , first
they pay twelvepence an acre for a fine , and two
shillings for a cottage . Secondly they may pull
their houses down without a licence . Thirdly ,
they may cut down their young trees . Fourthly ,
they may grant a lease even for fifty years , and
do most things contrary to the customs of other
Walton is a corruption of Wall – town , which
was so named from a wall of earth which was
formerly thrown up here to repel the encroach
ment of the Sea . It is sometimes called Walton
le – soken ; now soken is derived from the Saxon
Soc , or Soca , signifying a peculiar power or
liberty , but it is more frequently called Walton
on – the – naze ; this is derived from the Saxon word
nose , signifying a neck of land , as a river running
from the Harwich coast , separates Walton from
the main land and approaches within a short dis
tance from the sea , rendering the place quite a
peninsula , the river is navigable for vessels of
large tonnage for a considerable distance ; and
corn lighters , colliers , and other small craft ,
ascend as high as the water mill , where there is
a quay , here is a small island in this river called
Pewit – island , from a great quantity of birds , of
that name , who frequent the place , the river
flows a considerable distance further inland en
circling a large island called Horse – island ,
which is passable at low water on foot , the
sportsman may here pursue his pleasures , from
the different sorts of wild fowl , and other game
which frequent the shores of the river and islands
above named .
” The surge most swoln that met him : his
‘ Bove the contentious waves he kept , and
Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke
To th ‘ shore , that o’er his wave – worn basis
bow’d . ” The Tempest .
Walton is far superior to a number of places
of a similar kind , in having a beautiful natural
beach , composed of a fine sand , which is never
theless firm and durable ; and on it numbers
may be seen promenading on a fine day . Invalids
will find it very beneficial to rise early and take
a stroll along the beach , and enjoy the cool in
vigorating air which blows with double freshness
from the water .
Pages 16 – 20
The entrance to Walton is from the north – west ,
which is the only one in the place . Passing
over a causeway , which crosses a low marshy
point , were the river terminates ; the first object
that arrest attention is the church , which stands
on the right hand side of the road , after the old
one was washed away , a small one was built here
with red bricks , but since the increase of the in
habitants has been so great within the last few
years , it was found not large enough for their
proper accomodation , it has been therefore con
siderably enlarged ; a new steeple built , and a
piece added to each end of it , the inside is fitted
up in a very chaste manner ; on each side are
five arched windows fronting each other , all of
one uniform size and structure , a gallery has
been built at the west end ; the entrance to the
church is on each side of the steeple , it contains
only one bell , the roof is covered with slate and
it has altogether a very neat appearance .
The first street you enter is called High Street .
The first Inn in the place , as you enter , is called
the Porto – Bello ; it is a lofty , commodious house ,
which has been recently re – built of red brick , in
a much more elegant manner than formerly . It
is kept by Mr. Palmer .
Opposite this house , a lane leads down to the
quay and water – mill ; and likewise to the mar
tello tower , which stands on the left of the road ,
about a quarter of a mile from the principal
street : This is one of those fortifications that
were built by the government during the last
var , for the protection of our coast ; it is nearly
an oval in shape , gradually receding in size from
the base , it is about thirty feet in height from
the ground , built with brimstone – coloured bricks ,
the copings and archings of the windows , doors ,
staircase , & c . , are all of stone ; you ascend by a
small ladder on the western side , when you en
ter a fine vaulted apartment , the width of the
entire tower , with a pillar of brick in the centre
to support the ponderous roof , a large dungeon
or keep runs under this room ; there is a stair
case on each side of the tower , which leads to
the top , this is paved with freestone in large
squares , a battlement round the side about six
feet high , around the inside of which is a plat
form , by means of which a company of soldiers
could mount and discharge á shower of musketry
upon the assailants beneath , three iron posts are
fixed in the middle of the roof , on which the guns
work , but there are none kept here at present ;
it is kept by a man who receives a salary from
the government , who keeps it clean and in order .
In front of this , facing the sea , is a half – moon
battery , carrying three guns .
Retracing our steps to the inn , we turn up a
road which leads to the Marine Hotel , past a hand
some row of white – brick buildings , called Sid
mouth Terrace ; at the end of these , a lane leads
to the right , called Newgate Lane , from a traditio
nary report that malefactors used to be executed
here in former times , this leads to the Marine
Villa , and to the site of the old tower , similar to
the one just mentioned , with the exception of
having a moat and no battery attached to it ;
this tower has been lately sold and is now pulled
down , and the site will in a short time , no doubt ,
be converted into allotments for the purpose of
Leaving the above , we pass by a new building ,
recently erected for a Bazaar of fancy goods , it
is kept by Miss Gilson . Close to this stands
another large edifice , with a portico in front , of
the Grecian order of architecture , part of this is
devoted to a Bazaar , kept by Mr. Woolstone ;
the other wing is a Billiard Room belonging to
the Hotel , as are also the upper apartments ,
which are formed into some handsome Reading
Rooms – a handsome clock has been lately fixed
on the front , over the principal entrance opposite
the Hotel .
The Marine Hotel is a fine commodious build
ing , with a portal over the principal entrance of
stone in the rustic order , a passage leads from
this to the opposite extremity of the building ,
from which numerous rooms branch on each side ,
fitted up with every comfort and convenience that
is necessary , for the comfort of the visitors , who
are of the first respectability . It is built in the
form of a double square , the principal appart
ments with the servants ‘ offices & c . , being situ
ated in one , and the Tap , Stables , coach – houses ,
& c ,. in the next , behind , it is kept by Mr. Kent .
Opposite the Hotel is the Jetty , a handsome
structure stretching a distance of two huudred
feet into the sea , it is built on piles , and formed
with wood as high as the platform , the boards
you walk on are placed transversely on joists an
aperture is left about two inches wide , between
each board , to facilitate the discharge of the
water , which during the winter season frequently
washes over the top , and which likewise keeps
it clean , a beautiful railing runs around the
whole formed of cast iron posts , and forged
bars , painted green , with a rail of wood surmoun
ting the whole , of a stone colour , at the further
end are two convenient stairs for the landing of
passengers and goods , ever person must pay one
penny to a man stationed at the entrance , who
wish to go upon it , towards defraying the ex
pence of its erection and repairs – one payment
suffice for the day ; several large chairs are
placed upon it for the convenience of the public ,
where you may sit and have a charming view of
the German Ocean , and likewise of the whole
length of the village , which is particularly plea
sant on a hot day . There is something very
sublime in the appearance of the scene by moon
light on a fine summer’s night , when not a sound
is heard , save the gentle rippling of the waters
under your feet , or the dash of some distant oar
sounding on your ear .