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Seaside Shelter and railings, east side of Grand Parade, north of Jubliee Clock Tower

A Grade II Listed Building in Skegness, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1426 / 53°8'33"N

Longitude: 0.3443 / 0°20'39"E

OS Eastings: 556897

OS Northings: 363174

OS Grid: TF568631

Mapcode National: GBR MYT.XJN

Mapcode Global: WHJM8.886N

Entry Name: Seaside Shelter and railings, east side of Grand Parade, north of Jubliee Clock Tower

Listing Date: 31 July 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1452062

Location: Skegness, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, PE25

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey

Civil Parish: Skegness

Built-Up Area: Skegness

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Summary

Seaside shelter and railings, late C19-early C20. The railings date to 1875-1877 and form part of Lord Scarborough’s original development of the foreshore. The shelter was built between 1899 and 1906 and the railings altered accordingly.

Description

Seaside shelter built between 1899 and 1906 as part of Lord Scarborough’s development of the foreshore, with earlier cast-iron railings of 1875-1877.

MATERIALS: a timber shelter with half-glazed end panels, a tiled roof and cast-iron guttering. The shelter is enclosed within railings of cast-iron upright posts and tubular metal rails.

PLAN: rectangular in plan.

EXTERIOR: the single-storey, three-bay, timber shelter sits on a terrace above a purposely constructed extension to the sea wall. The three bays are separated by timber pilasters supporting heavy wooden, moulded, cross-bow shaped brackets with chamfered and stopped detailing. The brackets support deeply overhanging eaves, tongue and groove timber soffits and the hipped, tiled roof. Pierced timber fascia boards add decorative detailing. The railings run from approximately 5m north of the shelter and continue approximately 100m south, around the corner of Grand Parade and Tower Esplanade.

INTERIOR: the interior of the open-sided shelter has back-to-back, slatted wooden seating divided by a timber panelled screen running along the axis of the shelter. There are additional screens across the width of the shelter, between the timber pilasters, subdividing the seating into three separate bays on each side, with seating around three sides of each bay. The screens were originally glazed and the glazing bars remain but the glass has been replaced with timber panels. The slatted seating is supported on heavy, angled wooden brackets with detailing similar to that of the roof brackets. The ceiling is of tongue and groove, timber panelling.

History

When Skegness was connected to the railway in 1873 much of the land was owned by the Earl of Scarborough who saw the opportunity to convert the estate to meet the demands of the new summertime trade. A plan of the new town was drawn up in 1868 by Civil Engineers Clarke and Pickwell, who went on to design and construct the pier, and Skegness became a seaside resort, superimposed on the former village of 350 inhabitants, with a grid system layout of wide, tree lined streets, parades, a new main shopping street and supporting amenities.

Work began in 1877 with the building of a sea wall, built of limestone blocks bought by rail from the Earl of Scarborough’s Roche Abbey quarry, on which to construct the Grand Parade, its extension north and south and Lumley Road which replaced the former High Street. Within the first five years of development the Pleasure Gardens, with bandstand and Pavillion, an indoor swimming bath and a pier one-third of a mile long had been built. Tower Gardens (then known as the Pleasure Gardens), were of particular distinction, created from a site used for storing coal from Tyneside that had been landed by ships locally.

The glory of the newly created town was its pier. Opened in 1881 by the Duke of Edinburgh it was at the time the fourth longest in Britain. In 1882 it is recorded that over the August Bank Holiday there were 20,000 visitors to the pier, the majority having arrived by train simply to ‘walk the plank’. Towards the end of the C19 a nine-hole golf links was laid out along the south dunes; it opened in 1895. Five years later the Skegness Golf Club was renamed Seacroft Golf Club, and at the same time the course was extended to eighteen holes. A second links known as The North Shore opened in 1910 and the original club house, much enlarged, is now the North Shore Hotel.

By the end of the C19 a number of new hotels had opened but by 1900 the Seacroft Hydro was the biggest, and was renamed in 1921 as the Seacroft Hotel. Sea air had been recognised as having a recuperative influence long before John Hassall created his famous Jolly Fisherman poster for Skegness in 1908, and at the end of C19 convalescent homes were being erected. Many were financed by wealthy benefactors or by large companies for their employees; the Countess of Scarborough established one in Park Avenue, for women only, in the 1890’s. The Derbyshire Miners Convalescent Home opened in 1928, and in 1939 they added a holiday camp alongside but the contraction of the coal industry had an impact, and the camp, was forced to close in 1989. Homes to provide seaside holidays for disadvantaged children from Nottingham and Derby had been opened in the 1890’s in Scarborough Avenue, Brunswick Drive and Roseberry Avenue.

Following the end of the First World War, the Earl of Scarborough offered to sell the whole of the foreshore to Skegness Urban District Council. The deal was completed in 1922 and included the beach, parades, Pleasure Gardens (now the Tower Gardens), Marine Gardens and the Sands Pavilion.

This saw a new surge in the growth of the town, the council’s engineer, surveyor and architect Rowland Jenkins (1877-1952), who held office from 1912 until his death, masterminded a second remarkable phase in the development of the seaside resort. He introduced a number of new features including the Embassy Ballroom, bowling greens, tennis courts, a bathing pool, a boating lake, the Suncastle Solarium, a waterway, beach walks, a ruined castle and an expanse of rose gardens. Jenkins transformed the foreshore into a huge pleasure park by the sea, sometimes incorporating ideas he bought back from walking tours of Italy and elsewhere on the continent. An example of this is the walk alongside the south boating lake, formerly known as the Axenstrasse which, with its ferroconcrete rustic rocks, fences, arches, pathways, shelters, bridges and castle ruin effect was designed to give at least a hint of the St Gothard area of the Swiss Alps. All combined with water, flowers, or lawns to form an attractive picture. The vision was assisted by government grants, made necessary as a result of the great financial depression of the 1920s and 1930s. The Unemployment Grants Committee made money available absorbing quite a large proportion of manpower in the area, and allowing many families to avoid the hardships of living ‘on the dole’. The Esplanade was created following the construction of a sea wall along the high tide line, and the reclamation of land from the sands of the foreshore. The 1906 OS map shows an area known as Marine Gardens planted with a shelter belt of hedges or trees and laid to lawn prior to the more extensive expansion of the Esplanade in the 1920s and 30s.

It was during this time that Billy Butlin first visited Skegness with his hoopla stall which he had previously operated in Bristol and Olympia, London. He set up stall in 1925 on a site off North Parade known as The Jungle, close to where the County Hotel stands today. The fairground was originally on the central beach, south of the pier, but after the First World War it was moved to the seaward side of North Parade, filling the space between the pier entrance and the figure 8 switchback at the Sea View end of the parade. Butlins amusements including model cars, a slide, a haunted house, were on the other side of the road, an area which also accommodated a theatre and mini-zoo. The sea side of the parade was the main draw for crowds with racing games using small model race horses and Charlie Severn’s Aerial Flight which, shown on the 1906 OS map, predated most of the other attractions. This consisted of two parallel wire cables suspended between high wooden platforms. The flyer clutched an inverted handle above their head and swung themselves to and fro towards the far platform with a safety net to catch the numerous ‘drop-outs’. There was a wooden studio where an artist drew portraits and sold his landscape paintings, a photo studio, a bowling alley with an Ariel motorcycle on show, a crystal maze, hall of mirrors and balloons for sale. There were roundabouts, helter skelter, swingboats, a rifle range, coconut shies and stalls selling ice cream. But, 1929 was the last summer for everyone. A covenant relating to new building compelled the council to remove all temporary structures and give notice to all stall holders, it did however, allow them to relocate to a new amusement park to be built on the other side of the pier. Billy Butlin offered to build and operate it and the other occupiers and the council accepted. From here Butlin went from strength to strength as he adapted his various ventures including the first Dodgem bumper cars to be seen in Britain. North Parade was developed with permanent attractions and in 1930 the opposite side of the parade began to be built up with private hotels and, later, residential flats.

Throughout this development Jenkins continued to acknowledge the special importance in the overall scheme of the foreshore, of the clock tower. When the pier was finally lost to the sea in 1984 the clock tower assumed an even greater importance. Built in 1899 by Edmund Winter of Liverpool to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Grade II listed clock tower remains the town’s most iconic landmark.

The foreshore development scheme was completed by 1939. The immediate post-war years saw holiday travel continuing but with emphasis changing from rail to road. New car parks had to be provided and much of the south foreshore was eventually used for this purpose. At the start of the C21, despite decades of change, Jenkins vision persists. Almost all the amenities he created for the foreshore have survived. Jenkins was also responsible for upgrading the highways, sewerage and water supply at a time when Skegness was developing as a holiday town. Rowland Jenkins died in 1952 at the age of 75. Skegness esplanade and Tower Gardens are registered at Grade II in recognition of their historic and design interest

The seaside shelter, the subject of this assessment, is known, from historic photographs to have been built between 1899 and 1906 at the time of the late-C19 or early-C20 development of the sea front by Lord Scarborough. Located just north of the clock tower, it stands on a purposely constructed terrace above the sea wall, enclosed by cast-iron railings. The railings are earlier in date, part of the sea-front development of 1875-1877 which included the construction of the sea wall. They were diverted around the shelter when it was built. Both the shelter and railings are located close to the Grade II listed Jubilee Clock Tower and the Grade II registered Esplanade and Tower Gardens.

Reasons for Listing

The seaside shelter erected between 1899 and 1906, and seaside railings of 1875-1877, erected on the east side of Grand Parade, north of the Jubilee Clock tower, as part of Lord Scarborough’s original development of the foreshore, are Listed for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as simple yet decorative seaside shelters and railings, built as part of the early sea front development in this iconic seaside resort;
* as good examples of late C19 and early C20 seaside street furniture with simple yet distinctive architectural form and decorative detailing.

Historic interest:

* as surviving features of Lord Scarborough’s sea front development the shelters express the leisure ideals of the early C20 and represent a period of an expanding summertime tourist trade.

Group value:

* for the strong group value they hold with the Grade II listed shelter and railings south of the Jubilee Clock Tower, the Grade II listed Jubilee Clock Tower, and Grade II registered Esplanade and Tower Gardens.

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