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The seafront at Frinton-on-Sea
Frinton-on-Sea is located in Essex
 Frinton-on-Sea shown within Essex
OS grid reference TM236198
Civil parish Frinton and Walton
District Tendring
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CO13
Dialling code 01255
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Clacton
List of places

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Frinton-on-Sea is a small seaside town in the Tendring District of Essex, England. It is part of the Parish of Frinton and Walton.


Until late Victorian times Frinton-on-Sea was a church, several farms and a handful of cottages. In the 1890s, the original developer of the town, Peter Bruff, was bought out by R Powell Cooper, who had already laid out the golf course.[1] Powell Cooper rejected Bruff's plans for a pier, stipulated the quality of housing to be built and prohibited boarding houses and pubs.[1] The Sea Defence Act 1903 established a project to stabilise the cliffs, with the Greensward, which separates the Esplanade from the sea, put in place to stabilise the land further.[1]

In the first half of the 20th century, the town attracted visitors from high society with a lido complete with palm trees, shopping with, Connaught Avenue, named after the Duke of Connaught and opened by his wife, being dubbed East Anglia's Bond Street, high class hotels along the Esplanade, a tennis tournament second only to Wimbledon; the Prince of Wales frequented the golf club and Winston Churchill rented a house.[1] Frinton was the last target in England attacked by the Luftwaffe, in 1944.[2]

The town has a reputation for a Conservative nature (although it was in a Labour constituency from 1997 to 2005). Until recently there were no pubs, although there have long been bars in seafront hotels and at the golf and War Memorial clubs. The first pub, the Lock and Barrel, opened in 2000.[3]

In 2008 the town was the subject of a BBC Wonderland documentary, which focused on the campaign to 'save' Frinton gates and on a number of elderly residents.[4]

At 2am on Saturday 18 April 2009, Network Rail replaced the old wooden gates on the level crossing at the entrance to Frinton with remotely operated lifting barriers. Network Rail did this, in spite of a three-year-long campaign by the town's people to save the gates, in order to improve performance and safety, and to reduce costs.[5] The morning following the gates' removal, around a hundred people gathered to protest over the decision.[5][6]

In 2015, despite the town having a low crime rate, 300 residents began paying £100 each per year to have private security guards patrol an area of the town between 7pm and 7am. This drew criticism from the Essex police and crime commissioner, Nick Alston.[7]


An electoral ward in the name of Frinton exists. The population of this ward at the 2011 Census was 4,002.[8]


Frinton has three points of entry by road: an unadopted road from Walton-on-the-Naze in the north, a residential road, and a CCTV monitored level crossing adjacent to the railway station which replaced the older gated crossing in 2009. Frinton was once geographically distinct, but housing estates now line the roads between Frinton and Walton-on-the-Naze, Kirby Cross and Kirby-Le-Soken.

The town has sandy and stone beach washed daily, more than a mile (1,600 m) long, with wardens in season, and an area of sea zoned for swimming, sailing and windsurfing. The shore is lined by a promenade with several hundred beach huts. Landward from the promenade is a long greensward, popular with young and old alike, stretching from the boundary with Walton-on-Naze to the golf club in the south.

Six miles offshore lies Gunfleet Lighthouse, constructed in 1850 but abandoned in 1921.[9]


There are two Anglican parish churches: St Mary the Virgin is Norman in parts and once the smallest church in England[citation needed]. The church of St Mary Magdalene was built in 1928 to accommodate worshippers from St Mary the Virgin. Across the road from St Mary Magadalene is the Evangelical Gospel Chapel. Frinton has a Methodist church, a Free church and a Roman Catholic church (the Church of the Sacred Heart). There is a small convent of nuns who founded the independent St Philomena's day school for 4-to-11-year-olds.[citation needed]

Frinton in popular culture

Frinton is home to the Frinton Summer Theatre Season at the McGrigor Hall every summer. Started in 1937 by the Cambridge Academic T P Hoar as an amusement whilst he studied corrosion, it quickly developed a life of its own, employing many famous actors at the start of their career. Michael Denison, Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy West, Jane Asher, David Suchet, Gary Oldman, Owen Teale, Linda Bellingham, Jack Klaff and Neil Dudgeon all started their careers at Frinton. For many years it was run by the British actor Jack Watling, and his son Giles and son-in-law Seymour Matthews. His daughters Debbie and Dilys often appeared on stage, as did 'Allo 'Allo! star John D. Collins. It is now run by the actor Ed Max.

Frinton's population of retirees makes it the butt of jokes, with the LNER advertising slogan "Harwich for the Continent" being appended "Frinton for the incontinent".[10] However, its genteel nature has ensured that property 'within the gates' is well sought after.

Frinton was used in a recent Subway Sandwiches commercial for the UK although the advert was not actually filmed in Frinton.[11]

Notable residents

The actor Ross Davidson was living in Frinton-on-Sea at the time of his death in October 2006. The actor James McKenna, who plays Jack Osborne in Hollyoaks, resides there.

Disc jockeys Mike Read, Adrian John and David Hamilton lived in the town whilst broadcasting on Big L.[12]

David Evans, co-founder of AOL UK and AOL Canada grew up in Frinton-on-Sea while attending The Boys High School (Colchester).[citation needed]

Richard Cobb (1917 - 1996), Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford, was born in the town.

The late Group Captain Alfred 'Ken' Gatward DSO, DFC and bar, who flew a mission to occupied Paris during the Second World War to drop a French Tricolour on the Arc de Triomphe, and strafed Marine Ministry, lived in the town.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Peers, Deborah (September 2008). "Once upon a time in... Frinton". Essex Life. Archant. pp. 88–89. Retrieved 18 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Registration required).
  2. "Frinton-on-Sea". Retrieved 5 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Burkeman, Oliver (15 September 2000). "There goes the neighbourhood". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 24 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Curious World of Frinton-on-Sea". BBC Two. BBC. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Booth, Robert (20 April 2009). "Frinton-on-Sea's historic railway gates removed 'under cover of darkness". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Ungated Community". London: The Daily Telegraph. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 24 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Michael Collins (5 June 2004). "Frinton-on-Sea: last outpost of a long-forgotten Empire". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2015. Famously, many of Frinton's residents are in their dotage (a phrase which gets short shrift locally is "Harwich for the Continent, Frinton for the incontinent") and adhere to a sartorial decorum and a social etiquette of a bygone age.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Subway Advert Am I Dead? No, You're In Frinton On Sea 4 February 2010
  12. Martin Kelner Why Mike Read is saying L to the playlist The Guardian 16 June 2008

External links