Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring peninsula and district in Essex, England, and was founded as an urban district in 1871. It is a seaside resort that saw a peak of tourists in the summer months between the 1950s and 1970s. The town's economy continues to rely significantly on entertainment and day-trip facilities and it is strong in the service sector, with a large retired population. The north-west part of the town has two business/industrial parks. In the wider district, agriculture and occupations connected to the Port of Harwich provide further employment.
Until the end of the 19th century it was known as Great Clacton.
Clacton was a site of the lower Palaeolithic Clactonian industry of flint tool manufacture . The "Clacton Spear", a wooden spear found at Clacton in 1911 and dated at 450,000 years ago, is the oldest such spear to have been found in Britain.
Great Clacton was founded by the Celts around 100 BC. There are some vague traces of Romans using the Clacton area as a seaside resort. The name Clacton dates from around AD 500, when the area was settled by Saxons. The original name, Claccingaton, means "the village of Clacc's people". The Domesday Book records the village as Clachintuna.
A nineteenth century description
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Clacton from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72: