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A short history of beach huts at Walton Beach huts are a prominent feature of Essex coastal towns, and Walton on the Naze has one of the highest concentrations with over 1000 huts located at Southcliff (between the pier and Frinton on sea) and Eastcliff (at the northern edge of the town near the Naze). Most of the huts are sited on land owned by the local council, Tendring District Council. There are also two privately owned beach hut sites - Hipkins at Eastcliff and The Walton beach huts site on the cliff immediately to the south of the Pier. Beach Hut Association membership is open to owners of the huts on land at Southcliff and Eastcliff owned by Tendring District Council, and one of its main roles is to liaise between hut owners and the Council on matters relating to beach huts and the seafront.
People have been enjoying beach hut life at Walton for over 100 years. The private site at Southcliff was originally known as “hut city” because of the density of huts built on the steep slope rising up from the pier. Early photographs show a mixture of tents and huts along the beach at Eastcliff. The first huts were built in a variety of styles, many featuring verandahs and elaborate detailing. Some were lovingly built in urban back gardens many miles inland, then transported to the coast and reassembled on site. A few of the old huts remain and several have moved around the cliffs before coming to their current position.
After the East Coast floods of 1953 the sea defences were improved, the promenade was constructed between Walton and Frinton and the cliffs were stabilised. The local council produced a standard beach hut specification featuring a low pitched roof, stable style door to one side of the facade and shuttered window on the other. A contract to build hundreds of new huts
along the Tendring coast was given to a Romford and Billericay based company called Wernick and sons who are still in business today, now specialising in commercial and school buildings. These Wernicks’ huts were very solidly built and they are still very much in evidence along the Walton and Frinton seafront.
The huts provide an attractive, colourful backdrop to the seafront and are popular with tourists, artists and photographers. They are not just for owners to enjoy, many are available to rent on a daily or weekly basis throughout the year. The Beach Hut Association and its members work very hard to ensure that the huts are maintained and preserved for future generations of seaside visitors to enjoy.