Sign 15 - Swiss Bay

Swiss Bay

As Holland on Sea developed it was very evident that its gently shelving beaches, safe bathing, and rugged cliffs, with its natural greensward was very appealing to visitors looking for somewhere a little less commercialised than Clacton.  So, as well as residential development, there were entrepreneurs that saw potential in encouraging tourism to the area.  Following the success of the Kings Cliff Hotel, others such as Highcliffe, on the corner of Kings Parade and Queensway (then known as The Grove) and Suffolk Hotel on the corner of Norman Road and Frinton Road (then known as Holland Main Road) opened their doors.  Smaller guest houses sprung up and many home owners decided to offer bed and breakfast.  It was not unknown for the owner of the property to sleep in the garden shed in the summer months in order to maximise income by letting all the bedrooms!  Another means of providing accommodation for holidaymakers was by the installation of an old railway carriage in the back garden.  These could be obtained, once redundant, from the railway companies and converted relatively simply, making quite cosy summer residence with their windows lowered by leather strap in order to open the door; external handles only, and the word ‘smoking’ etched on some of the glass.

One slightly bolder scheme came from Mr C W Cooke, a Clacton businessman who was behind four purpose built chalets, set back from the road, surrounding tennis courts; tennis being a very popular sport at the time.  A plot was earmarked, off Hereford Road, sufficiently close to the seafront, and a design drawn-up for the four detached houses in the style of Swiss chalets.  Each one was given its own name – ‘Furka’, ‘Grimsel’, ‘St. Gothard’, and ‘Oberalph’ which were all after mountain passes in Switzerland.  To oversee the business there was a caretaker’s bungalow, known as ‘The Lodge’, in the same Swiss style to the left of the group as you look towards the sea, and balancing the complex was a set of four garages on the right.  The whole thing was promoted as – A new idea in “Please yourself holidays” with the sales leaflet stating “These delightfully modern, self contained “Swiss Chalets De Luxe” provide comfortable accommodation for families or parties up to 8 people.  Of attractive design, they are well appointed and beautifully furnished, well above the average standard of holiday accommodation.  Modern labour-saving furniture and full equipment, including kitchen-ware and linen, electric light, and gas for cooking.  Modern bathroom and sanitation.  Comfortable dining lounge.  Bedrooms with balcony overlooking tennis courts.  Garage for visitors’ cars.”  Within short distance of Clacton on Sea and its holiday attractions and easy reach of Frinton Golf Course, another of its slogans was  “A Home not a Hotel” and “En tout-cas” tennis courts with the slight proviso ‘open to the public’.  The company En-tout-cas started building tennis courts in 1909 with a strong reputation for a quality product.  Like life in general, the holiday industry was totally disrupted by the Second World War and things would never quite be the same.  Some years later the chalets were sold as private residence, the tennis courts removed and garages built in their place, but the buildings remain in their Swiss style to remind everyone of the past times when the air was filled with gaiety as holidaying parties enjoyed tennis matches in the Holland on Sea sunshine.

Last updated on: 03/09/2021 - 11:37