About Clebin

It was 1898 when popular witticist Roger Dodger-Daltrey (left) first came up with the idea of using archive photographs to illustrate a made-up story. It was unfortunate for Dodger-Daltrey that there was little archive photography available at the close of the 19th century, and more unfortunate still that he was killed by a giant doll (below right) before he could see his life's ambition realised.

Due to his untimely demise, his most ambitious project was lost for some three decades, until wealthy aristocrat Sir Christopher Owen came into possession of his estate in 1934. This work, The Made-Up History of Jimmy Clebin, was recorded as series of notes in HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, across twenty-four notebooks. The Made-Up History was a fantastical tale of a lost explorer, washed up on the mysterious island of Jimmy Clebin.

On its first full release in 1941, the book was described as Gulliver's Travels without the satire, and was later adapted for cinema audiences by Bob Hoskins. By then, of course, Jimmy Clebin was already firmly entrenched in the public psyche, thanks to Sir Christopher Owen's idiosyncratic interpretation of the legend.

Owen was an entrepreneur who had made his fortune through the invention of a steam-powered steam-iron which never cooled down, and in Dodger-Daltrey's scribblings he saw a new money-spinner. Within a decade of him first setting eyes on the notebooks, a recreation of the dreamy island paradise had been constructed on Stormy Down, a hill just outside Porthcawl in South Wales. It was named simply 'Clebin'.

When completed in 1943, it was billed as South Wales' answer to Portmeirion and became a popular tourist resort. However, the wealthy residents of Clebin had greater plans for the town and campaigned fiercely for independence from Wales. One local lady, Judy Bryant chained herself to Porthcawl pier and drowned when the tide came in. Another, Margo Gaffney, stapled herself to a chicken, and was killed crossing the road.

This is Clebin's official web-site.