Skegness (pronounced ) is a seaside town and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Located on the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea, east of the city of Lincoln it has a resident population of 18,910.
The name indicates that Skegness has its origin in the Danish period of settlement of England although there is no reference to a village named Skegness in the Domesday Book. The town's name means either "Skeggi's headland" or "beard-shaped headland", depending on whether the first element represents the personal name Skeggi (meaning 'bearded one'), one of the Vikings who established the original settlement to the east of the current town which was washed away by the sea in the early sixteenth century; or the Old East Norse word "beard".
Lying within the historic county boundaries of Lincolnshire from a very early time, for governance, the parish of Skegness was in the Marsh division of the ancient Candleshoe Wapentake in the Parts of Lindsey.
In August 1642, a consignment of arms and money, probably raised by Queen Henrietta Maria, in the Netherlands for the support of King Charles I's campaign in the Civil War, was forced into Skegness by the ships of the Parliamentarian Earl of Warwick.
Skegness was primarily a fishing village and small port until the arrival of the railway in 1875. In 1908, the Great Northern Railway commissioned a poster to advertise excursions to the resort, the first being from King's Cross, London on Good Friday 1908, leaving London at 11.30 am. The 'Skegness is so Bracing' poster featuring The Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now world famous. The poster, derived from an oil painting by John Hassall, was purchased by the railway company for 12 guineas. Paradoxically, Mr Hassall did not visit the resort until 1936. He is said to have died penniless.
Resort town and Butlins
Most of the land in what is now the downtown core formed part of the estate of the Earl of Scarbrough and he, together with his agent H.V.Tippet, realised that the extensive sandy beach could be made attractive to holidaymakers from the industrial towns of the English Midlands, a clientele already developed by Thomas Cook. He planned the town as a resort from 1877 and it expanded rapidly, but along with many other UK resorts, especially those on the cold North Sea, it lost out to the cheap package holiday boom which opened up Spain (in particular) to the average holidaymaker after World War II currency restrictions were lifted and travellers could leave the UK with more than 50 pounds.
The Wash Incident
The Wash Incident took place in the early hours of 5 October 1996 when a strange red and green rotating light was seen by Skegness residents and police officers to the southeast of Skegness, who then contacted the Coastguard at Great Yarmouth. It later involved many RAF stations, including RAF Neatishead, and GCHQ. The object was probably not an aircraft because although it could be seen on radar, it had no transponder. The Skegness News, a local newspaper which no longer exists, investigated the incident and sought confirmation of the object from the Jodrell Bank Observatory. In their report to the RAF, the observatory said that Venus, ‘the queen of UFOs’, which had been shining with exceptional brilliance in the early morning sky to the east, probably explained the light shown on the video. The object was caught on video by Skegness Police. The RAF decided the stationary 'blip' was a permanent echo of the 83m tall St Botolph's Church, Boston, and the object on the video was the planet Venus. It coincided with the Westendorff UFO sighting.
In March 2005, Skegness took the top spot in a survey by "Yours magazine", looking at the best retirement places in the UK. Yours researchers visited sixty likely towns. The factors involved in judging included house prices, hospital waiting lists, the crime rate, council tax rates, activities and attractions, weather patterns and ease of transport. It has also been described by Lonely Planet's Great Britain guide as "everything you could want" in a seaside resort. On 22 July 2008 the newly elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, caused controversy in an article in The Daily Telegraph, where he declared "Stuff Skegness, my trunks and I are off to the sun", in his desire to have a foreign holiday that year.