Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring peninsula and district in Essex, eastern England, and was founded as an urban district in 1871. . . . In 1871 the Essex railway engineer and land developer Peter Bruff, the steamboat owner William Jackson, and a group of businessmen built a pier and the Royal Hotel (now converted to flats) on a stretch of farmland adjoining low gravelly cliffs and a firm sand-and-shingle beach near the villages of Great and Little Clacton. The town of Clacton-on-Sea was officially incorporated in 1872 and laid out rather haphazardly over the next few years: though it has a central ‘grand’ avenue (originally Electric Parade, now Pier Avenue) the street plan incorporates many previously rural lanes and tracks, such as Wash Lane. Plots and streets were sold off piecemeal to developers and speculators. In 1882 the Great Eastern Railway already serving the well-established resort of Walton-on-the-Naze along the coast, built a spur to Clacton-on-Sea with a junction at Thorpe-le-Soken. Clacton grew into the largest seaside resort between Southend-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth, with some 10,000 residents by 1914 and approx. 20,000 by 1939.
The bridge crosses Pier Gap that leads down to the pier from the town. It was built in 1914 to provide pedestrian access from the seaside attractions on the cliff on one side of the gap to the other.