Cleethorpes is a seaside resort on the estuary of the Humber in North East Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, England with a population of nearly 40,000 in 2011. It has been permanently occupied since the 6th century, with fishing as a primary industry, while developing as a resort since the 19th century.
The name "Cleethorpes" is thought to come from joining the words "clee", an old word for clay, and "thorpes", an Old English/Old Norse word for villages, and is of comparatively modern origin. Before becoming a unified town, Cleethorpes was made up of three small villages, or "thorpes": Itterby, Oole and Thrunscoe, which were part of a wider parish called Clee (not to be confused with Old Clee).
While there are neolithic and Bronze Age remains in the area, permanent occupation appears to date from the 6th century, when the Danes arrived, with substantial communities only appearing in the 9th century.
The manor of Itterby was purchased in 1616 by the trustees of Peter Blundell's charity for the benefit of scholars and fellows at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge from Blundell's School, Tiverton. This is reflected in many of the street and park names in the area.
Cleethorpes developed as a fishing village. By the time of the 1801 census the population was 284. The 1820s saw the first developments of Cleethorpes as a health holiday resort, with sea-bathing and the taking of medicinal waters becoming fashionable. By 1831 the population had increased to 497.
In 1842 the Cleethorpes Enclosure Bill was enacted. of land were divided between land owners and eight new roads developed. In 1848 Cleethorpes was described as
The resort expanded following the linking of the town by railway with the industrial towns of Yorkshire. Cleethorpes Pier opened in 1873, and the promenade in 1885. Cleethorpes with Thrunscoe was constituted a Local Board of Health District in 1873, and under the Local Government Act of 1894 it became an urban district.
In 1916 the urban district was renamed Cleethorpes, and in 1922 and 1927 the town's boundaries were extended to include part of Humberston (as far as North Sea Lane) and the Beacon Hill area of Weelsby parish. In 1936 Cleethorpes was granted a charter of incorporation to become a municipal borough.
Cleethorpes successfully resisted attempts by Grimsby to absorb it and in 1974 it became the Borough of Cleethorpes within the new county of Humberside. However when Humberside County Council was abolished in 1996, Cleethorpes Borough Council was joined with Grimsby Borough Council as the unitary authority of North East Lincolnshire. In 2009, North East Lincolnshire Council agreed to market the towns of Grimsby, Immingham and Cleethorpes, under the 'Greater Grimsby' banner.
Local residents from Lincolnshire and the Humber area affectionately refer to Cleethorpes as Meggies; the two largest resorts on the Lincolnshire coast are known by their nicknames 'Meggies' (Cleethorpes) and 'Skeggy' (Skegness). Cleethorpes can also be known as "down beach".
Lincolnshire is very low-lying and land had to be drained for agriculture to be successful. The larger drainage channels, many of which are parallel to each other, became boundaries between parishes. Many parishes are long and thin for this reason.
There is much fenland in Lincolnshire, particularly in the Boston and Horncastle areas. Fenlands tended to be extraparochial before the mid 1850s, and although many sections were identified with names and given the title "civil parish", little information has been found about them. Many appear to be abolished in 1906, but the parish which adopts them is not given in A Vision of Britain through Time. Note the WR category Lincolnshire Fenland Settlements which is an attempt to organize them into one list.
From 1889 until 1974 Lincolnshire was divided into three administrative counties: Parts of Holland, Parts of Kesteven and Parts of Lindsey. These formal names do not fit with modern grammatical usage, but that is what they were, nonetheless. In 1974 the northern section of Lindsey, along with the East Riding of Yorkshire, became the short-lived county of Humberside. In 1996 Humberside was abolished and the area previously in Lincolnshire was made into the two "unitary authorities" of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The remainder of Lincolnshire was divided into "non-metropolitan districts" or "district municipalities" in 1974. Towns, villages and parishes are all listed under Lincolnshire, but the present-day districts are also given so that places in this large county can more easily be located and linked to their wider neighbourhoods. See the WR placepage Lincolnshire, England and the smaller divisions for further explanation.