My Home Town - Southend-on-sea.

Southend's Heritage
Southend-on-Sea has a fascinating history going back at least as far as Saxon times and the town has a valuable heritage of interesting old buildings, monuments and historic areas. You may have to look around for them but they are there - from early medieval churches to old farm buildings, timbered cottages to manor houses, Georgian houses to Victorian estates.
The most important buildings are listed by the Government as buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Other important buildings are included in the Council's own Local List of historic buildings, and where whole areas have special historic or architectural interest they are designated as Conservation Areas.
Below ground there is also hidden evidence of our history. The most important archaeological areas are protected by the government as Scheduled Ancient Monuments, but there are also many other areas with archaeological interest.

Southend History

Southend-on-Sea takes its name from it's location at the "South End" of Prittlewell in the 18th Century. Prittlewell was the original local settlement, featuring the Domesday Book.

The town's popularity grew in the 19th Century as a popular seaside location for tourists and those looking to get away from London for the day.

In the 21st Century, Southend-on-Sea is a major town in the UK, with a population of over 160,000.

If you're looking for more on the history of Southend, i'd recommend the book A History of Southend, by local historian Ian Yearsley.


Southend Today

Southend is most famous for its pleasure pier and beach, and the town has a range of attractions on offer, including the annual illuminations, Carnival (August), Southend Air Show (May), boat trips, Adventure Island, the Golden Mile of arcades and the Kursaal bowling alley.

The town also has a strong lineup of shops on the High Street, plus an assortment of restaurants, bars, cafes and night clubs.

Southend-on-Sea is a unitary authority area, town, and seaside resort in Essex, England. The district has Borough status, and comprises the towns of Chalkwell, Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, North Shoebury, Prittlewell, Shoeburyness, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay, and Westcliff-on-Sea. The district is situated within the Thames Gateway on the north side of the Thames estuary 40 mi (64 km) east of central London. It is bordered to the north by Rochford and to the west by Castle Point. It is home to the longest leisure pier in the world, The Southend Pier. London Southend Airport is located north of the town centre, and is one of London's 6 major airports. 
Originally the "south end" of the village of Prittlewell, Southend became a seaside resort during the Georgian era, attracting many tourists in the summer months to its seven miles of beaches and bathing in the sea. Good rail connections and proximity to London mean that much of the economy has been based on tourism, and that Southend has been a dormitory town for city workers ever since. Southend Pier is the world's longest pleasure pier at 1.34 miles long. It has suffered fires and ship collisions, most recently in October 2005,but the basic pier structure has been repaired each time. There has been significant loss of pier-head facilities since the major fire in 1976.

Southend, like many other British sea-side resorts, went into decline as a holiday destination from the 1960s, since flights and hence holidays abroad became more affordable. Since then, much of the town centre has been developed for commerce and retail, and during the 1960s many original structures were lost to redevelopment. However, about 6.4 million tourists still visit Southend per year, generating estimated revenues of £200 million a year. H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC), (formerly H.M. Customs and Excise), are major employers in the town, and the central offices for the collection of VAT are located on Victoria Avenue. The University of Essex, Southend Campus has been developed in order to locally provide further education facilities and to assist in boosting the economy. Southend also has over 80 parks and green spaces and 14 conservation areas.

There are nine railway stations on two lines within the borough which connect it to London.

Local government district

Southend-on-Sea was formed as a municipal borough in 1892 with the functions of local government shared with Essex County Council. In 1913 the borough was enlarged by the former area of Leigh on Sea Urban District. In 1914 the enlarged Southend gained the status of county borough, exempt from county council control and a single-tier of local government. The county borough was enlarged in 1933 by the former area of Shoeburyness Urban District and part of Rochford Rural District.

In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Southend became a district of Essex with borough status, however in 1998 it again became the single tier of local government when it became a unitary authority. 

The Latin motto, 'Per Mare Per Ecclesiam', emblazened on the municipal coat of arms, translates as 'By [the] Sea, By [the] Church', reflecting Southend's position between the church at Prittlewell and the sea as in the Thames estuary. The town is twinned with the resort of Sopot in Poland, and has been developing three-way associations with Lake Worth, Florida. Sopot has the longest wooden pier in Europe, Southend the longest iron pleasure pier in the world. 

The town is known for its seafront. Southend-on-Sea is home to the world's longest pleasure pier, built in 1830 and stretching some 1.33 miles from shore. Since 1986, a diesel-hydraulic railway has run the length of the pier, replacing the electric service which opened in 1890. The pier has been beset by fires; a fire in 1995 destroyed the bowling alley at the start of the pier and another fire in October 2005 damaged the far end of the pier. The pier was also run through by a boat in 1984.

The Kursaal was one of the earliest theme parks, built at the start of the 20th century. It closed in the 1970s and much of the land was developed as housing. The entrance hall, a listed building, is a bowling alley arcade operated by Megabowl and casino. An amusement park, formerly known as Peter Pan's Playground, straddles the pier entrance. Peter Pan's Playground was eventually renamed Adventure Island as its size and popularity grew, and has since grown into a large amusement park with over 50 rides. The seafront also houses the "Sea-Life Adventure" aquarium, owned by the Miller family, who also own Adventure Island.

The cliff gardens, which included Never Never Land and a Victorian bandstand were an attraction until slippage in 2003 made parts of the cliffs unstable, and the bandstand has been removed. The council wants to re-erect the bandstand but a location has to be found.

A modern vertical lift links the base of the High Street with the seafront and the new pier entrance. The older Southend Cliff Railway, a short funicular, is a few hundred metres away.

Art on the Railings is a regular exhibition for local artists who display their work on Pier Hill.

The London to Southend Classic Car run takes place each summer and features classic cars which line the seafront.

The Southend Shakedown, organised by Ace Cafe, is an annual event featuring motorbikes and scooters. There are other scooter runs throughout the year, including the Great London Rideout, which arrives at Southend seafront each year.

As a little postnote, here is a list of famous persons originating from Southend-on-sea. :

Mathew Baynton, musician, writer, actor Horrible Histories (2009 TV Series)
David Bellos, professor/translator[citation needed]
James Bourne, musician, singer Busted
Chris Bourne, musician, bassist [Hollywood Ending (band)|Hollywood Ending]]
Kevin Bowyer, concert organist
Gary Brooker, lead singer of Procol Harum
Dave Brown, comedian and actor, The Mighty Boosh
Dean Chalkley, photographer
Emma Chambers, actress
Jeannie Clark, former professional wrestling manager
Brian Cleeve, author and broadcaster
Jonathan Clements, author
Phil Cornwell, actor and impressionist
Snowboy aka Mark Cotgrove, DJ and Latin percussionist
Tina Cousins, singer
Gemma Craven, actress
Matthew Cutler, ballroom dancer
Danielle Dax, musician, actress and performance artist
Warwick Deeping, author
Sam Duckworth, musician, AKA Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
Warren Ellis, comic book writer
Nathalie Emmanuel, actress, Hollyoaks
Lee Evans, comedian
Mark Foster, swimmer
John Fowles, author
Chris Gentry, guitarist of Menswear, music manager and ex-model
Benjamin Grosvenor, musician
Roy Hay, musician, Culture Club
Joshua Hayward, guitarist for The Horrors
John Heald, cruise director for Carnival Cruise Lines
John Hutton, politician
Daniel Jones, musician, producer and former member of Savage Garden
Phill Jupitus, comedian
Mickey Jupp, musician
Russell Kane, comedian
Dominic Littlewood, TV presenter, most notably To Buy or Not to Buy
John Lloyd, tennis player
Robert Lloyd, opera singer
Ron Martin (businessman), Southend United chairman, 1998–present
Lee Mead, musical theatre actor
Helen Mirren, actress
Tris Vonna Michell, artist
Dicky Moore, singer/songwriter, guitarist in Scritti Politti
Maajid Nawaz, former Islamist activist who now campaigns against extremism
Bob Parr (producer), multi Emmy Award-winning television producer
Annabel Port, broadcaster
Spencer Prior, footballer
Lara Pulver, actress
Rachel Riley, Countdown co-presenter
Joy Sarney, singer
Simon Schama, historian / TV presenter
Jake Shillingford, singer/songwriter, My Life Story
Keith Taylor, politician
Peter Taylor, football manager
Theoretical Girl, singer/songwriter
Kara Tointon, actress, EastEnders
Hannah Tointon, actress
Robin Trower, rock-blues guitarist
Rhys 'Spider' Webb, bassist of The Horrors

And that's my home town- Southend, or as we say it, with our Essex accent "sarf-end"

Mark xxx
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Jan 15, 2013