The Jetty was constructed in 1898 opposite Wash Lane. It was intended to be used by the barges bringing all the building materials for the new town of Clacton-on-Sea. A steam crane was placed at the end of the Jetty to help with the unloading. However, it proved to be a failure as the barge owners didn’t see why they should pay the owner of the Jetty to land there when they could just continue their normal practice of running up on to the beach, unloading there and then waiting for high tide to be able to float off.
In 1914, a seaplane carrying Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, made an emergency landing by the Jetty after suffering engine failure on its way to Felixstowe. Churchill was taken to the Royal Hotel for refreshments whilst awaiting a replacement plane. While he was there, news spread around Clacton that he was in town and the local branch of the Suffragettes quickly organised and staged a “Votes for Women” demonstration when he returned to the Jetty.
After the First World War, the Jetty was converted into a small pleasure pier like its bigger neighbour at the other end of the beach. Several stalls and amusements were erected including a small theatre called the West Pier Pavilion for the Jolly Coons, who had hitherto operated in the open on the Jetty Beach.
The Jetty was part of the West Clacton Estate which was sold to Billy Butlin in 1936 and formed part of his new amusement park.
The Jetty was demolished on the outbreak of the Second World War as a precaution to prevent it being used in any possible invasion.
Today you can still see the wooden stumps stretching out to sea at low tide.
Information provided by: Clacton and District Local History Society