Facts About Frinton
Until late Victorian times Frinton was a church, several farms and a handful of cottages. In the 1890s, the original developer of the town, Peter Bruff, was bought out by the industrialist Richard Powell Cooper, who had already laid out the golf course. In the first half of the 20th century, Frinton attracted visitors from high society. Connaught Avenue, named after the Duke of Connaught and opened by his wife, was nicknamed East Anglia’s Bond Street. Other attractions included a lido complete with palm trees, high-class hotels along the Esplanade, and a tennis tournament second only to Wimbledon.
Frinton was the last target in England attacked by the Luftwaffe, in 1944. The town has a reputation for a Conservative nature. Until recently there were no pubs, although there have long been bars in seafront hotels and at the golf and War Memorial clubs. The first pub, the Lock and Barrel, opened in 2000. In 2008 Frinton was the subject of a BBC Wonderland documentary, which focused on the campaign to ‘save’ Frinton gates and on a number of elderly residents.
Frinton is home to the Frinton Summer Theatre Season at the McGrigor Hall every summer. Started in 1937 by the Cambridge Academic T P Hoar as an amusement whilst he studied corrosion, it quickly developed a life of its own, employing many famous actors at the start of their career. Michael Denison, Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy West, Jane Asher, David Suchet, Gary Oldman, Owen Teale, Linda Bellingham, Jack Klaff and Neil Dudgeon all started their careers at Frinton. For many years it was run by the British actor Jack Watling, and his son Giles and son-in-law Seymour Matthews. His daughters Debbie and Dilys often appeared on stage, as did ‘Allo ‘Allo! cast member John D. Collins.
Frinton’s population of retirees makes it the butt of jokes, with the LNER advertising slogan “Harwich for the Continent” being appended “Frinton for the incontinent”. However, its genteel nature has ensured that property ‘within the gates’ is well sought after. Frinton was used in a recent Subway Sandwiches commercial for the UK although the advert was not actually filmed in Frinton.