Coronavirus: Photographs capture 100 days of Skegness in lockdown

As England marks 100 days of lockdown, one photographer shares the pictures he took to document the impact on one of the UK's most popular seaside resorts.

Skegness would usually welcome thousands of visitors a week but has resembled a ghost town in recent months. Shops, car parks, toilets and attractions all closed, while there was not a kiss-me-quick hat in sight.

Photographer John Byford recorded the early part of lockdown during his daily exercise when the seafront was deserted, then later when the resort began to reawaken as restrictions eased.

Mr Byford said Skegness had been eerily quiet at the start of lockdown but as restrictions eased, visitors had started to return. He said it would have been disastrous for the resort, which relies on tourism, if lockdown had continued through the busy summer season.

However, he said there were also some benefits to the enforced quiet, including less litter and traffic and a chance to enjoy the natural surroundings.

"Sadly, normality soon returns," he said.



RESULT! Campaigners overjoyed plan for signage around the Clock Tower in Skegness has been withdrawn.

Campaigners are overjoyed a plan to put signage around the historic Clock Tower in Skegness has been withdrawn.

Former town councillor John Byford launched a campaign in the Skegness Standard after the plans were spotted on the East Lindsey District Council website a week ago with less than a day to lodge objections.

There was outrage in the community and the protest was even covered by Look North television news.

Over 40 objections were also added to the planning planning application on the East Lindsey District Council website after the campaign was launched.

On hearing the plan had been withdrawn, Mr Byford said: "It's fantastic news for Skegness.

"I'm glad the powers that be have seen sense and listened to the comments.

"I'd like to thank them for listening and that it's not going to happen in my lifetime.

"Hopefully, the Clock Tower will remain for another 130 years without advertising and that future generations can have the pleasure of seeing our beautiful clock without any interruptions."

Skegness Clock Tower was built in 1899 by Edmund Winter of Liverpool to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

When the pier was finally lost to the sea in 1984, the Clock Tower assumed an even greater importance.

The controversial application had been submitted by Steve Green of CP Media in Halifax, who wanted to install four identical hoarding, non-illuminated signs measuring 1200mm wide x 500mm high, fixed into the ground using steel posts, with the distance between the ground and the bottom of the sign being approximately 350mm.

22nd April 2020. By Chrissie Redford


"Under the sign of Mars" - The war year 1918

The conclusion of peace with Russia sets new forces free for use on the western front. Therefore, in a major offensive, an attempt is made to turn the fortunes of war once more and still help the Central Powers to victory. After initially great success, this company fails.

At home there were mutinies in the navy and revolutionary unrest broke out. The forces of the German army are almost exhausted, on November 11, 1918 an armistice comes into force on the Western Front.

Accompanying the 1st World War exhibition, Claus Schrader will give his last lecture on the subject on November 12, 2018. As always, the event will take place in the Biedermeierzimmer of the city museum at 7.30 p.m. with free admission.

The museum friends cordially invite everyone interested in the lecture to this lecture.

Report on the lecture:

Museum friends commemorate the end of World War 1, 100 years ago.

For 4 years there has been a special exhibition in the city museum on the centenary of the First World War. The series of lectures was opened at that time with a first lecture 4 years ago about the trigger for this terrible event, the "Assassination of Sarajevo". Claus Schrader has continued this tradition every year. He now ended this cycle with a final lecture and a review of this epoch.

Again the Biedermeierzimmer in our museum was fully occupied with the interested guests. The lecturer deliberately did not dwell on the mere description or the exact course of events at that time. These were and are all too familiar to the public. So he could only briefly illuminate and show the framework conditions and the most important actors.

His main focus and concern was devoted entirely to the individual, the individual fate, which at that time was directly exposed to horror, horror and destruction. The pictures shown of the soldiers, the young people involved in the fighting, the troops crouching miserably in the mud and dirt conveyed not only a feeling of pity, but above all displeasure and horror at the hardships to be endured and the deeply inhuman conditions. Stunned faces, wide-open eyes in the face of the deadly guns, corpses hanging in barbed wire, and disfigured faces after devastating wounds made the audience stunned and inwardly completely silent.

Claus Schrader also dared to take a look at the beginnings of the air war, which even then brought a premonition of the events 20 years later, even if at that time it was not or could not be thought that far. Prominent war heroes were also shown in the picture and gave an idea of what the future would be like. Adolf Hitler could be seen as a simple soldier and Hermann Göring as a fighter pilot, all of them as combatants in World War I. They formed the bridge, so to speak, into the future of an even more monstrous war that would break out on our country a few decades later.

The lecturer's warning to everyone never to give space to such events again was unmistakable. The lecturer's advice to refer to the event the next day in Bad Gandersheim, where a memorial service would take place at the British telephone box designed by artist John Byford on the Stiftsfreiheit with the names of the fallen of World War I from both Bad Gandersheim and Skegness, was a good fit. Here the city leaders of the two partner communities and a group of citizens together commemorated their dead fellow citizens, a truly sensitive conclusion to this commemoration of the end of the First World War 100 years ago in our city.


Englischer Künstler schenkt Harzhorn eine römische Münze

English Artist gifts Harzhorn a Roman coin

The English artist and councillor from Bad Gandersheim's twin town of Skegness, John Byford, presented the Mayor of Gandersheim, Franziska Schwarz, with a Roman coin from the time of the Roman Battle of the Harzhorn on the day of the Open Monument.

The special thing about it: The passionate treasure hunter found the more than 1700 year old coin himself in a field near Skegness!

“I feel connected to the past in a very real way when I hold this coin in my hand. I would be delighted if visitors to the Harzhorn get a chance to feel this connection when they hold this wonderful piece of history in their hands” said the artist at the handover on Sunday.

John Byford finds it “absolutely fascinating” that a coin minted thousands of miles away in Rome traveled across Europe and across the English Channel to end up in a field near Skegness. "And now the coin is traveling back across the channel to this special place that was also discovered by treasure hunters," he said.

His passion for treasure hunting goes back to 1980. Back then, his parents gave him a metal detector for Christmas. Since then he has been searching regularly.

His most important find to date, a chariot wheel axle linch-pin from the Late Iron Age, and can be viewed at the Verulamium Museum near London.

With the coin, John Byford also presented the official export license from the English authorities for the Roman coin. Bad Gandersheim's mayor Franziska Schwarz was visibly happy about the gift. The coin symbolizes a piece of “the European idea”.

The coin was minted in AD 226. It shows Emperor Severus Alexander, during his reign from 222 to 235 when the Battle of the Harzhorn took place. According to the research of the archaeologists, this must have been around the year 230 AD. The forgotten battlefield was rediscovered in 2008 and has since become a magnet for those interested in history.

According to Northeim's district archaeologist Dr. Petra Lönne will have around 4,000 visitors to the battlefield this year. (zhp)

Bei der Übergabe der Münze: Kreisarchäologin Dr. Petra Lönne (von links), Bad Gandersheims Bürgermeisterin Franziska Schwarz, der Stadtrat von Skegness, John Byford, Kalefelds Bürgermeister Jens Meyer und die stellvertretende Landrätin Gudrun Borchers.

When handing over the coin: District archaeologist Dr. Petra Lönne (from left), Bad Gandersheim's Mayor Franziska Schwarz, the city council of Skegness, John Byford, Kalefeld's Mayor Jens Meyer and the deputy district administrator Gudrun Borchers.

© Foto: Niesen

Englischer Stadtrat schenkt dem Harzhorn eine römische Münze

Der englische Künstler und Stadtrat aus der Bad Gandersheimer Partnerstadt Skegness, John Byford, hat am Tag des Offenen Denkmals der Gandersheimer Bürgermeisterin Franziska Schwarz eine römische Münze aus der Zeit der Römerschlacht am Harzhorn überreicht.

Das Besondere daran: Der passionierte Schatzsucher hat die mehr als 1700 Jahre alte Münze selbst auf einem Feld in der Nähe von Skegness gefunden.

„Ich fühle mich auf eine sehr wirkliche Art mit der Vergangenheit verbunden, wenn ich diese Münze in der Hand halte. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn die Besucher des Harzhorns eine Chance bekommen, diese Verbindung zu fühlen, wenn sie dieses wundervolle Stück Geschichte in der Hand halten“, sagte der Künstler bei der Übergabe am Sonntag.

John Byford findet es „absolut faszinierend“, dass eine Münze, die tausende Meilen entfernt in Rom geprägt wurde, durch ganz Europa und über den Ärmelkanal gereist ist, um in einem Feld in der Nähe von Skegness zu enden. „Und jetzt reist sie über den Kanal zurück zu diesem besonderen Ort, der ebenfalls von Schatzsuchern entdeckt wurde“, sagte er.

Seine Leidenschaft für die Schatzsuche geht schon auf das Jahr 1980 zurück. Damals schenkten ihm seine Eltern zu Weihnachten einen Metalldetektor. Seither geht er regelmäßig auf Suche.

Sein bislang bedeutendster Fund, ein Achsnagel eines Wagenrades aus der Spät-Eisenzeit, kann in einem Museum in der Nähe von London betrachtet werden.

Mit der Münze überreichte John Byford auch die offizielle Ausfuhrgenehmigung der englischen Behörden für die römische Münze. Bad Gandersheims Bürgermeisterin Franziska Schwarz freute sich sichtlich über das Geschenk. Die Münze symbolisiere ein Stück „den europäischen Gedanken“.

Die Münze wurde im Jahr 226 nach Christus geprägt. Sie zeigt Kaiser Severus Alexander, in dessen Herrscherzeit von 222 bis 235 die Schlacht am Harzhorn fiel. Nach den Untersuchungen der Archäologen muss dies um das Jahr 230 nach Christus gewesen sein. Das in Vergessenheit geratene Schlachtfeld wurde 2008 wieder entdeckt und hat sich inzwischen zu einem Anziehungspunkt geschichtlich Interessierter entwickelt.

Nach Angaben von Northeims Kreisarchäologin Dr. Petra Lönne werden in diesem Jahr rund 4000 Besucher das Schlachtfeld besuchen. (zhp)

Source. HNA


SO Festival sperm whale photo ban over 'sexual' title

Photographs have been withdrawn from an arts festival after the organisers objected to an image of a sperm whale with a "sexual" title.

The work by photographer John Byford was due to be projected on to buildings in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, as part of the SO Festival.

The organisers said they did not object to all of the images - including one of a man drinking wine in his underpants.

But they said the title of the whale photo was not suitable for families.

Mr Byford said he withdrew all of his photographs from the exhibition after meeting organisers.

Festival director Robin Morley said: "Both myself and East Lindsey District Council did not have an issue with the image of the man in his underpants.

"However, we did have an issue with the image of two very young boys looking into the mouth of a dead sperm whale."

The title of the piece was an innuendo containing the word sperm.

Saucy postcard inspiration...

Mr Morley added: "When we saw the work, we thought the combination of the image and the title could be interpreted in several ways, some of which had very strong sexual connotations which would not be fitting to put in front of a family audience.

"This situation is not about censorship or banning art, it is about displaying artwork that is appropriate to the audience that will see it."

Mr Byford, from Skegness, said he had grown up on the coast and his work was inspired by saucy postcards, once popular with visitors.

Mr Byford said: "I think that's what we are missing in society - we are so wrapped up in cotton wool when I do stuff like this it does provoke a reaction - but usually it's a smile or a laugh."

"That's life and that's what I do - capture life."

He said it was up to people to make their own minds up - it was not for the council and the organisers to ban his images.

"If you have the image on its own it means nothing - if you have the title on its own it means nothing - but the two combined makes a piece of art.

"The two go hand in hand," he added.

He said the whale image was previously seen by about 8,000 people in Skegness without a single complaint.

2nd July 2013. BBC


Resort bans beach photography

A freelance photographer has found himself in hot water – for taking unauthorised photographs on Cleethorpes beach.

John Byford – who sells to newspapers, magazines, agencies and consumer businesses – went to the north-east Lincolnshire resort to take stock pictures of a two-day seafront kite festival.

But he was forbidden from doing so by event organisers in case children were inadvertently included in any of his shots.

Father-of-three, Byford, who is also a town councillor at nearby Skegness, said: “I was

surprised and somewhat upset – I thought the restriction was unduly harsh. “It was a colourful event and I wanted some shots for my stock portfolio.

I wouldn’t have taken pictures of children without the permission of their parents.

“A security guard told me I wouldn’t even be permitted to take pictures from the tideline.

“To treat every photographer as a potential paedophile struck me as a sad reflection on modern society. “At this rate, there will be no photographic record of British beach life in the first half of the 21st century.”

A spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council, which organised the event, commented: “We regret any inconvenience caused to bona fide photographers, but the safety and welfare of visitors has to be our first priority.”

2nd June 2005 by Jim Wright / Press Gazette