Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

1909

New Barge Pier Built and Garrison Bandstand Erected.

Chess Champ in Town - The Carlton Hotel in Warrior Square played host to Mr JH Blackbrune the Great Britain Chess Champion who put on an exhibition of his chess skills by playing 20 games simultaneously.

Mr Blackburne can be seen in this image sitting to the right

 

 

 

 

Grand Pier Hotel Opens -  Many hotels are talked about in Southend some having more notoriety than others.  One that does at times get overlooked is the Grand Pier Hotel, a new lease this year started this tourist business on its tracks.  Kind of obscured by the huge Palace Hotel.  The Grand Pier still managed to have some dominance over the seafront hence its name, with a placing atop Pier Hill that stands proud and tall.

Church Bodily Moved - An interesting engineering feat occured in February when a church building was raised and physically moved, pulled by a traction engine from Oakleigh Park Drive to Pall Mall.

New Fire Engine for Leigh

 

 

 

Chalkwell School Opens - 

A significant school opened this year, sitting on the Leigh/London Road Chalkwell School, proudly threw open its doors.  The first headmaster, a former Southend Techincial pupil, was a Mr Burrows (above).  The size of this new education facility is demonstrated by this image of the new first floor hall:

 

 

 

Trades Exhibition - The Kursaal opened its doors to a Trade and Commerce Exhibitrion in March, a fasinating opportunity for local businesses and others from afar to show the public new innovations for the home.  One fine stall was provided by Mr G Jackaman from Park Street who provided a fine display of furniture.  Also the Southend Gas Company took over a number of stalls to promote and sell the latest in heating and cooking for the home as shown in this picture.

The Naval Fleet Afloat - In 1909, a naval pageant was arranged. The Home and Atlantic Fleets took up their station in the Thames, from Westminster to the Nore, from July 17th to July 24th. “in order to give the people of London an opportunity of seeing and visiting that bulwark of their security, of which they hear and read so much, and for the upkeep of which they are required to contribute”. There were 150 ships of war, stretching down a waterway of fifty miles. Towards Westminster were the smaller craft, such as submarines and torpedo boats, and the size of vessels gradually increased as  the river widened eastward into the estuary. Off Southend, for example, were stationed the giant ‘Dreadnought’ and her three companion ships, the ‘Superb’, ‘Bellerophon’ and ‘Temeraire’.

 

 The Hippodrome Theatre Opens - The largest entertainment theatre opened in Southchurch Avenue on 8th November 1909.  With seating for 1,750 and part of the Defrece Theatre circuit.  In 1934 the theatre changed use to a cinema, in 1954 it struck by fire and four years later it was demolished.

Historic Shoebury Cottage Burnt Down - 800 years of history went up in smoke in February when the cottage next door to St Andrew's Church burnt to the ground.  The resident Solicitor Frank Stallibrass managed to get his family out when he was woken by the smoke. Efforts were made to try and save the building, but due to a lack of water is was very much in vein. 

Cinema's Arrive in Southend - Grove Picture Palace, Pier Hill, opened it had a relatively short life closing in 1920 and was probably one of the least alluring of the town's picture houses.  This site was taken over by the Eastern National Bus Station, a site that became Debenhams as part of the Royal's Shopping Centre.  

Pier Pavilion/Children's Cinema, a natural offer for a pleasure pier but this facility along with a number of others were destroyed during the 1976 fire. 

Bandstand Moves - An open glade in the Cliffs off Western Esplanade gained the Bandstand this year, moved from opposite Prittlewell Square, only to return.  Happy Valley is no more but was one of the key enetrtainment venues pre-WWII, it had a concert hall, but when this burnt down the area melted back into the Cliffs.

Southend Marathon - Sport is a key focus within the town and this was demonstrated in April with the running of the Southend Marathon on Easter Monday.  The starting point was outside the Blue Boar, taking the forty or so runners towards Rochford, turning at the Anne Bolyn pub and working their way through the country roads around Sutton making their way back into the town along East Street and so to the finish.  The victorious winner was a Mr WJ Thorogood at a spendid time of  2 hrs 33 mins 46 secs.  The image below shows the runners setting off. Interestingly in the background are the buildings that once made up the south east corner of the Blue Boar junction which are no more and the land now makes up the widening of Victoria Avenue and Chruchill Gardens. 

 

Theatre De Luxe, Victoria Circus - October. Destroyed by fire in 1923.  A popular cinema famous for showing British movies made on a shoestring. The footprint became famously Dixon's Department store later to become WH Smiths, as can be seen in the images below.

 

Victoria Ward - Established in 1909 based around Victoria Avenue and as the years have moved on the town has built up and established this route and ward as one of the most imprtant for the town.  The Civic Centre encompanssing the polic station and courts as well as the many office blocks run down the centre of this ward.  To the west it is mainly housing with key buildings such as the Nelson Pub.  To the east more housing as well as Prittlewell rail station.

Skating Rink Opens - Just behind the High Street, where you will find Maitland House and the Travel Lodge today.  A Skating Rink opened, it lasted for two years then the building became a cinema.

Panto Time - The seasonal pantomime would this year be held at the Empire Theatre in Alexandra Street.  The title a little unconventional "Jack the Giant Killer".

 

 

 

 

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