Clacton-on-Sea did not develop until the latter part of the 19th century as part of an upsurge in Victorian seaside development of which it is a classic example. By 1900 the cliffs were cut back from their rugged state and planted and there were extensive pleasure grounds.
During the First World War the cliff top gardens became gun emplacements and during the Second World War it became a frontline town wired and barricaded and visitors banned.
The west side of Clacton Pier was open greensward until around 1911 when the area nearest to Pier Gap was fenced off and planted with displays of bedding. In 1921 Clacton Urban District Council decided to spend considerable sums of money laying out gardens and providing shelters.
Four formal gardens were laid out, a sunken rose and flower garden and two level gardens that were originally called Flat Gardens 1 and 2. In 1924 the original flower garden was re-designed with a war memorial in the centre, at that time the beds were probably re-shaped and exotic Cordylines were planted around the memorial and in the centre of the flower beds. Early photographs suggest the Memorial Garden and the Sunken Flower Garden look very much as they did in the mid 1920's.