Skegness

From Academic Kids

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An early twentieth century postcard advertising the attractions of Skegness

Skegness is a seaside resort town in Lincolnshire, England, with a permanent population of about 30,000. It is administered by East Lindsey District Council.

It was primarily a fishing village and small port until the arrival of the railway in 1875. The Earl of Scarborough planned Skegness as a resort from 1877 and it expanded rapidly, but along with many other UK resorts, especially those on the cold North Sea, lost out to the cheap package holiday boom after World War II. Skegness was the site of the UK's first Holiday Camp, started by Billy Butlin in 1936. Butlins is still there today, outside the town on the road to the nearby village of Ingoldmells.

Today the town's tourist industry mainly caters for working-class day-trippers from Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and other nearby cities. Skegness has been dubbed 'the Blackpool of the East Coast', and has a famous mascot, the Jolly Fisherman, and a slogan - 'Skegness is so bracing', a reference to the chilly prevailing northeasterly winds that can and frequently do blow off the North Sea. Skegness had a 1843 foot (562 metre) long pier which was opened on Whit Monday 1881, at that time it was the fourth longest in England. Steam boat trips ran from the pier to the The Wash and Hunstanton in Norfolk from 1882 until 1910. In 1978 the pier was badly damaged and considerably shortened by severe gales. The pier has since undergone major refurbishment and is now once again a thriving tourist attraction, although it no longer extends far beyond the high water level of the beach.

The seafront teems with a variety of ways for visiting tourists to spend their money. The main strip of road along the beach is a kaleidoscope of neon and flashing lights advertising arcade machines, slot machines, fairground rides, crazy golf, fish-and-chip shops and various bars. There are also the usual seasonal shops selling cheap ways to entertain oneself, such as kites and buckets-and-spades - such quieter pleasures can be enjoyed on the long wide award-winning beach, which in summer features a fine herd of rideable donkeys. The town is also a major centre for bowls.

On its southern foreshore sits a popular family attraction, the Fairy Dell paddling pool. Closed because of health and safety fears in 2004, the pool soon became the centre of controversy as angered 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. Town councillors joined forces with the 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.

Caravan parks around Skegness are plentiful, with one a short distance to the north of the town centre featuring its own airfield. The airfield is not used by many tourists, unless they own a plane. The longest runway is 755 metres long, and grass. Visiting pilots can call the airfield on 132.425MHz, although PPR (Prior Permission Required) is stated for landing. A number of years ago, pleasure flights used to operate from the aerodrome.

Skegness is also the home to the schools for most of the surrounding area's secondary education. Two schools cater for the 11–18 age range, St Clement's College (formerly known as the Earl of Scarborough High), and Skegness Grammar School.

Skegness is also the home to the world's premier Meccano exhibition, annually staged in the Embassy Theatre, on the seafront.

The resort is served primarily by three local newspapers - the Skegness Standard, Skegness Citizen and Skegness Target.

In March 2005 Skegness took the top spot in a survey by Yours magazine, looking at the top retirement place in the UK. Yours researchers visited sixty likely towns, and factors involved in judging were house prices, hospital waiting lists, the crime rate, council tax rates, activities and attractions, weather patterns and ease of transport. It has also been described by Lonely Planet's Great Britain guide as 'everything you could want' in a seaside resort.

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The centre of Skegness, showing the clock tower and the “Jolly Fisherman“ sculpture/fountain.

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