Over seventy members, guests and speakers assembled at the Storehouse in Skegness on 18 May for the Local History Conference ‘Beside the Seaside’.
Sue Leese began with her personal reflections of the 1953 flood at Sutton on Sea. Much of her knowledge had come from her father who had been a teacher in the town. Accounts from the children he taught survived and formed the basis of her book on the flood.
Chris Hewis explained the development of Skegness as a resort through maps, images, adverts and postcards dating from the 1870s. Particularly amusing was his story of how the landowning Earl of Scarbrough had named the new streets and squares after members of his extended family.
Dr Susan Barton of De Montfort University described the story of the 1932 Sandhills Act which allowed the then Lindsey County Council to remove the collection of shanty holiday homes which had been built on the sandhills of the east coast. Her research had been helped by the discovery of a remarkable set of photos taken by the council before the Act.
Dr Caitlin Green outlined the evolution of the Lincolnshire coastline from c. 1250-1650 with stories of drowned villages, lost barrier islands and erosion. Caitlin’s in-depth research involved much use of maps including some from the late David Robinson.
Skegness-born Tammy Smalley, Head of Conservation for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, introduced herself by detailing her extensive Lincolnshire ancestry. She then described various coastal changes and the effect on wildlife and natural habitats in coastal saltwater and freshwater marshes and the various seal colonies and diversity of birds that wintered around our shores.
Jim Snee, the Project Officer of Heritage Lincolnshire’s Layers of History, recounted the decline and fall of Freiston Shore from a popular resort with two hotels and attractions such as horseracing to the peaceful RSPB reserve of today. The extension of the railway to Skegness was largely responsible – later railway plans to Freiston Shore never materialised.
The Local History team is grateful to all the speakers and to the Storehouse for their excellent facilities and buffet.