Sign 13 - Kings Cliff Bay

Kings Cliff Bay

Whilst Clacton started to develop in those early days, its immediate neighbour to the east, Little Holland, was a very small community of farmland and fields bordered by the then German Ocean; its population in 1901 being just 81.  It was, however, at this time that plans for a seaside development were being drawn-up.  The area was being divided into estates which were subsequently named:

  • The Kings Cliff Estate
  • The Preston Park Estate
  • The Empire Cliff Estate
  • The Queens Cliff Estate
  • The Highcliff Estate
  • The Merilees Estate
  • The Birchfield Estate
  • The Holland Beach Estate
  • The Seafields Estate
  • The Kents Farm Estate

It was felt important to have a hotel built as the starting block for development in the area; providing visitor accommodation to those interested in investing in potential building plots (now drawn-up on paper, along with appropriate roads).  A suitable site, on the corner of Kings Parade and Kings Avenue was identified but attracted no interest from potential buyers when first put up for sale.  Later Samuel Newstead, who owned the Carlton Restaurant in Clacton, put in a successful bid and work began on the building. 

Up until this time the only licensed refreshment house was the modest Princess Helena which sat close to the landward end of Kings Avenue, on Holland Main Road, where the Roaring Donkey now stands.  Originally converted from a farm cottage belonging to Bennetts Farm, it had served the small number of villagers well and had subsequently been purchased by the Bury St. Edmunds brewers Greene King.   When an application was submitted for an alcohol license for the partially built hotel, an objection was put in by Greene King.  Its argument was that with so few houses having been built on the new estates any further licenses issued for selling alcohol would threaten the viability of The Princess Helena.  Greene King’s objection proved successful, and further applications were repeatedly contested by the brewery which always won the day.  This resulted in the building of the hotel coming to a grinding halt; that is until 1925, a quarter of a century after the very first application had been refused.  Sadly any celebrations were short-lived as Newstead passed away and the half-built hotel lay abandoned.  Despite attempts to market the now deteriorating site it took four years to find a new buyer, and ironically it was Greene King that became the owner in 1930; two years later, in 1932, The King’s Cliff Hotel was opened for business.  How much impact the hotel had on the growing development of Holland on Sea is questionable but it certainly proved popular as a place to stay and it wasn’t long before an extension had been built and in 1936 ten bedrooms were available for guests.  For Greene King, this was the only venture into the Hotel business but such were their hopes for Holland on Sea that they purchased the corner plots of York Road and Kings Parade, where York Mansion flats now stand, and the corner of Cliff Road and Kings Parade, where Medusa Court is situated.  Both plots remained baron pieces of land until such time, in the 1970’s, when they were sold for residential development.

Of all the estates, it was always the Kings Cliff that was considered the premier area.

Last updated on: 03/09/2021 - 14:47