Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

The Southend Queensway Ring Road

The Plan:

The first plans for a Southend Town Centre By-pass were first debated in 1961 however the talks dragged on and it would not be until 1966 when work would finally begin on the major new roadway skirting the High Street.

The new road was in fact the joining of several roads and making the in to a duel carriageway, starting at London Road it incorporated Dowsett Avenue, up to its junction with Victoria Avenue, it would then carry on past the new Victoria Circus roundabout into Bradley Street and then Prittlewell Street.

It would carry on down Prittlewell Street (renamed Bradley Street) to join up with Porters Grange Avenue where it would run up to the railway bridge that runs over the road, it would then join Bankside then on too Corsham Road and into Darnley Road at the roundabout outside the Seaway car park, it then swings left and finally ends at the roundabout at the junction with Woodgrange Drive and Southchurch Avenue.

Like any public infrastructure work, it had to be advertised with a date set by which time all tenders had to be submitted for consideration, so Friday 28th January 1966 was set as Tender Day and tenders submitted after this date would not be considered for the work.

 

 

 

ABOVE: Map showing the complete proposed Southend Ring Road, only the highlighted section was built. This map is held by the Southend Timeline sadly it is in poor condition with a number of tears as can be seen (C) Southend Timeline

ABOVE: To help understand the layout of the new road the Southend Timelne have produced this map showing the rough route of the section of Queensway that was built.  (C) Southend Timeline

 

Property Acquisition

Because of the size of the project and the fact many private dwellings sat directly in the way of the proposed roadway the council had to rely on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to buy up the houses and shops to enable the road to be constructed, between 1965 & 1966 a number of properties had been bought up by the council  with the CPO's including:

July 1965:

43 Porters Grange Avenue

103 Porters Grange Avenue

 

November 1965:

15 Dowsett Avenue

15a Dowsett Avenue

20 Milton Street

48 Milton Street

38 Porters Grange Avenue

12 Prittlewell Street

34 Sutton Street

 

February 1966:

9 Dowsett Avenue

41 Dowsett Avenue

Essex Garage Essex Street

4 Milton Street

14 Milton Street

22 Milton Street

24 Milton Street

26 Milton Street

28 Milton Street

62 Milton Street

64 Milton Street

68 Milton Street

49 Porters Grange Avenue

52 Prittlewell Street

    

April 1966

23 Dowsett Avenue 

39 Dowsett Avenue 

34 Milton Street

36 Milton Street

52 Prittlewell Street

141 Southchurch Road

143 Southchurch Road

147 Southchurch Road

155 Southchurch Road

165 Southchurch Road

169 Southchurch Road

33 Sutton Street

35 Sutton Street

43 Sutton Street

                

June 1966:

11 Dowestt Avenue

31 Dowsett Avenue

                     

 

 

September 1966:

27 Dowsett Avenue

29 Dowsett Avenue

33 Dowsett Road

June 1971:

321 Southchurch Road

51 & 52 Porters Grange Avenue

104 - 109 Porters Grange Avenue

September 1973

TA Centre Corsham Road demolished

 

October 1973:

62 Darnley Road demolished

64 Darnley Road demolished

 

April 1975:

Porters Grange Avenue service station bought

 

 

Houses bought up by the council were quickly boarded up whilst they awaited demolition, some were already in a state of dilapidation and were quckly demolished.

*NOTE* This section will be updated as and when further details are found.

 

Queensway Construction.

The road was originally laid as a duel two-lane ring road, however it was designed and built to enable widening to be carried out when the demand required to permit an extra lane in each direction, this would be achieved by reducing the width of the extra wide central reservation. The estimated cost of the new road was put at £12million.

 

 RIGHT: The wide central reservation would have permitted an extra lane in both directions. (C) Southend Timeline

The duel carriageway made it harder for people to cross the road so an “overbridge” with shops was proposed for people to cross from a proposed redeveloped Southend Victoria Railway Station leading to the first floor of the new shopping development at Victoria Circus. 

 

 

 LEFT: The "Overbridge" leads into the Victoria Shopping Centre and provides a safe way to cross the duel carriageway of the ring road. (C) Southend Timline

 

 In December 1965 the Ministry of Transport mad a grant of £869,986,0s,0d towards the cost of the northern section and part of the eastern section, the total estimated cost of the northern & eastern sections was put at £2,000670,0s.0d.

The planning application was submitted by City of London Real Property Company & British Railway Board, this gained planning approval on 3rd March 1966, however whilst the walkway and shopping centre were constructed the redevelopment of the station never took place and it remains as it was built to this day.

In April 1966 a number of trees that had suffered from root damage during the construction of the ring road were removed, it was stipulated that they had to be replaced on a 1 for 1 basis with the replacement trees being located within the ring road scheme area.

In October 1973 the Government released 75% of the funding needed to buy up buildings and land in advance of the construction of the eastern section of the road that was to run south of Bankside, the southern section spur to Woodgrange Drive/Southchurch Avenue.

The development of what would become Queensway was holding up the pedestrianizeation of the High Street, because of traffic reasons the section between Victoria Hotel and Warrior Square South had to wait until the first section of the Ring Road had been completed and opened.

The roads incorporated in the scheme all kept their own identities until Queen Elizabeth's 1977 Silver Jubilee when the entire length of the road was re-named Queensway, this also saw the opening of the £1million underpass section at the Southchurch Road/Sutton Road junction.

 

 

Dowsett Avenue to Victoria Avenue (London Road to Victoria Avenue )

The Dowsett Avenue section of the Queensway Ring Road started at a newly formed junction at London Road it sweeps in a gentle progressing curve to the Victoria Gateway (Victoria Circus) junction at Victoria Avenue.

Whilst the name Dowsett Avenue was chosen the newly laid ring road was actually on a slightly different alignment to the original Dowsett Avenue, however the historical links to the name Dowsett.

Thomas Dowsett was a local business man who became the first Mayor of Southend in 1892, he was also an estate agent and developer he built many other properties in Southend including the listed Clifton Terrace.

Victoria Gateway was originally know as Victoria Circus, as well as the more recent name change the site of Victoria Circus has also moved.  It was originally located about 420ft further South than its current position. 

The original position put it outside the old Dixons Department Store (now WH Smiths), Talza Arcade (demolished and replaced by the Victoria Shopping Centre) and the Technical Collage (demolished and replaced by the Odeon Multiplex Cinema).

 

RIGHT: The start of Queensway at its junction with London Road (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

The new ring road also saw the bisecting of Boston Avenue, just down from the start of the new road, the two sections could not be more different.

The main remaining section is some 1732ft long it is lined with houses and the St Mary's Prittlewell Church of England Primary (formally Dowsett High School for Girls).

The the cut off piece is not more than 90ft long and doesn't retain the Boston Avenue name, it just an access slip road for a Quick Fit Garage.

 A little know piece of history is that fact that that section of Boston Avenue was originally called Edward Road, this small section ran from London Road to the junction with Dowsett Avenue, as it was such a small stretch the road and as it came directly off Boston Avenue was absorbed into the larger road.

 

 

 

 

 

 LEFT: The remains of Boston Avenue (Edward Road) that are now purely an unnamed access road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

To reduce the risk of flooding on the new ring road the Dowsett Avenue section of the new road saw a £54,000 surface water drainage system installed.

Bradley Street/Prittlewell Street to Southchurch Road/Porters Grange Avenue

After leaving the relocated Victoria Gateway (Victoria Circus) the ring road followed the line of Bradley Street before sweeping gently into what was Prittlewell Street, however the whole section was named Bradley Street.

However the name Prittlewell Street was not entirely lost one small section survives as a residential street to this day.

A public footbridge was also included, this connected a housing estate to Queensway House and on to the Victoria Shopping Centre.

As part of the Better Southend scheme, Victoria Circus was chosen as one of the areas that would benefit from the scheme.

£7.5million was spent completely rebuilding the area, the roundabout was completely removed with a  new traffic light controlled T junction being constructed, a new public square was included outside Southend Victoria Railway Station which included one of the first Shared Spaces in the town, this enables busses to avoid the traffic lights giving them a clear dedicated route.

A bus interchange was included under the "overbridge" giving people waiting cover from the rain. Work started in January 2010 and was officially opened on 1st June 2011. 

           ABOVE: The bus interchange under the "Overbridge"  (C) Southend Timeline

The public square is also home to a public work of art £50,000 bronze sculpture by Belgian artist René Julien, The Return, depicts two lovers reunited after time apart, she is throwing herself into his arms, as they embrace two Dive at their feet also embrace.

 

LEFT: The Return (C) Southend Timeline

The work was paid for out of a grant from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency as part of a project to revamp Victoria Gateway Square, the statue was chosen as it represents what the location is all about people return home to their loved one at a palace where pedestrians,

 cars, buses and train all converge in one location.

 

RIGHT: A snow covered roundabout during the works to replace it with a T junction, photographed on 10th January 2010. (C) Southend Timeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 LEFT: Another view of the overbridge on a rather cold and snowy day with the original pedestrian footway still separated from the road, the shared space route follows the almost same route as the road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further down Bradley Street a new public footbridge was built over the ring road this eventually connected a housing estate to Queensway House and onto the Victoria Shopping Centre.

 

RIGHT: Footbridge over the Bradley Street section of the ring road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEFT: The last remaining section of Prittlewell Street (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIGHT: Street Sign showing the name of Prittlewell Street lives on (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

Porters Grange Avenue into Bankside

In December 1973 the Department of Environment awarded a grant of £869,223 totalling 75% of the estimated £1,194,964 total cost of the works to restructure the roadway between Southchurch Road roundabout & Bankside taking in Porters Grange Avenue.  The works included widening the road and building the underpass.  Further works on the area saw an injection of funds of £837 for the realignment of Sutton road.

Originally the Bradley Street section of Quennsway ran directly to a roundabout at the junction of Southchurch Road and the Porters Grange Avenue section of Queensway, however a few years after completing the road a new underpass and roundabout were constructed, this would enable easy and quick unimpeded access to traffic travelling along the ring road towards the seafront, by providing an underpass under the roundabout and out on to the next section of the ring road which was named Porters Grange Avenue, whilst traffic wishing to access Southchurch Road or Sutton Road could use the roundabout, a public subway and footbridge were included in the junction to help those on foot. A second pedestrian underpass was included further down this section opposite Grange Gardens and Whitegate Road.

The Mayors Civic House "Porters" is located here it dates back to the 16th century and is grade 1 listed by English Heritage.

RIGHT: The Bradley Street section of Queensway before the under pass was built.

 

       

  

      

          

          

 

                     

 

 

                                 

               

 

LEFT: The entrance to Porters Grange Avenue section is dominated by the bypass roundabout, it includes public subways and footbridge. (C) Southend Timeline

    

 

 

 

 

          ABOVE: The underpass on what was Bradley Street that takes traffic directly under the junction of Southchurch Road/Sutton Road traffic would emerge on to the Porters Grange Avenue section of the road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

The new ring road also cut Milton Street in two, the section South of the ring road (outside the Victoria Shopping Centre running to the bus station) was renamed Chichester Road, the remaining section retained it's name, however it was not connected to the ring road. 

Bankside into Corsham Road

Porters Grange Avenue ended at the railway bridge taking the London Tilbury and Southend Railway over the ring road. The other side of the bridge was known as Bankside, this was by far the shortest section of the ring road for as soon as Bankside started Bankside ended!

However, as the bridge had been built long before the road had been proposed it was only wide enough to handle a single lane in either direction and two footpaths.

The new ring road was twice the size so the bridge needed to be lengthened to twice its size. 

On the 17th September 1970 an agreement was reached with British Rail to transfer the land needed to extend the railway bridge so that the new ring road could pass underneath it.

The work to lengthen the railway bridge started in December 1973 and was forecast to take 18months to complete, during the construction time a one-way system was implemented southbound between Whitegate Road and Portland Avenue, two way traffic was maintained on Porters Grange Avenue, existing parking bays on the road were also closed and removed from the ring road once it was completed.

 

This section of the ring road is the shortest that retained its name.

 

Above: The railway bridge was doubled in length to enable it to accommodate the new road to run below.  (C) Southend Timeline

ABOVE: Standing under the railway bridge where Bankside starts the end can clearly be seen where Quebec Avenue joins the ring road. (C) Southend Timeline

Corsham Road into Darnley Road

Corsham Road ran from Bankside to York Road, but to enable the ring road to be constructed a number of private dwellings had to be demolished, York Road was cut through and is now in two distinct section however both part retain the York Road name.  The evidence of these demolitions can still be seen in the buildings that were left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ABOVE & RIGHT: Two houses that were clear of the new ring roads planned route were luckier than their adjoining properties, the unusual look to the end of the buildings are the fireplaces the chimney stacks also show evidence that there was once more to the building than there is today. (C) Southend Timeline

To reduce the number of possible accidents Portland Road that had always run into Corsham Road but was closed off to all traffic entering or leaving the new ring road, access is now only possible to motor traffic from Baltic Avenue

 

 

 

LEFT: The stopped up Portland Avenue, a turning bay has been included now that the road is not a through road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

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RIGHT: Corsham Road runs up to the traffic lights, these mark the separated junction at York Road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

In September 1973 the Corsham Road TA Centre was demolished to clear the way for the ring road to continue.

Darnley Road to Seaway Roundabout

Darnley Road ran from York Road down to the Seaway Roundabout.  

On Tuesday 21st September 1937 a special meeting of the then Southend Town Council agreed to, purchase 4.65 acres of land laying either side of Seaway (a road leading from Darnley Road to Hartington Road) from the trustees of the late Mr Alfred Tolhurst for the sum of £31,000. 

The land was purchased by the Council due to the growing need to create car parking facilities in the vicinity of the seafront and pier.

The land sale was agreed without any restriction placed upon the land, this would enable the Council to construct Southend’s first Municipal car park, giving the town a new stream of revenue income, and taking as many as 500 cars away from the free street parking.

 

RIGHT: Seaway can be seen running through running through the middle of the photo. 

The land had previously been used as a carpark but had never been laid out for such use, it was thought that if the Council did not buy the land than other interested parties would buy land and set up their own carpark thus depriving the Council of the income it could generate.

Traffic would grind to a halt during the summer and illumination seasons, as cars would trawl the streets looking for a parking space, the belief a large car park just off the seafront would help alleviate the pressure of the narrow residential streets close to the seafront.

It was also pointed out that the land could in future be developed to generate new tourist facilities, the land was acquired and a car park was built

The Council bought what land was available however it was not until April 1974 that all the land had been acquired with a section between the Seaway Car Park and 78 Darnley Road being one of the last remaining sections to be acquired.The ring road swings to the left.

 

 

The Seaway Car Park lays just behind the roundabout, it s one of the main car parks for the seafront and is the designated coach park for Southend.

However the car park is currently at the centre of a major planning application

MAJOR plans for the development of a £50m leisure and residential scheme at Seaway car park which will create 450 The proposals, which will transform the land near to the seafront at Lucy Road, include a ten-screen cinema, eleven restaurant units and a 99-apartment residential scheme. A 480-space multi-storey car park is also planned to replace the current 453-space surface parkingAlso included in the plans are the site of the former Rossi Ice Cream Factory and Number 29, Herbert Grove, which were purchased by the Council in 2008 to enable future regeneration, in a deal funded by the Homes and Communities Agency which is fully supportive of the proposed development.

 

 

ABOVE: Darnley Road ran from its junction here with York Road down to the roundabout at Seaway. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

LEFT: The Seaway roundabout links the Ring Road to Chancellor Road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

Seaway Roundabout to Southchurch Avenue/Woodgrange Drive

The final section of the ring road is a section that many people forget is still actually part of the Queensway.

This section leads from the Seaway roundabout to the roundabout at the junction of Southchurch Avenue and Woodgrange Drive, this enable traffic to access the seafront at the Kursaal, head up to Southchurch Road or along Woodgrange Drive to Thorpe Bay and Shoebury.

This short section of Queensway is a single lane in either direction.

 

ABOVE: Queensway Start/End at the junction of Southchurch Avenue A1160 & Woodgrange Drive. (C) Southend Timeline

Southern Section.

A Southern section of the ring road was planned to come off the Seaway roundabout and follow Chancellor Road it would have carried on to Grover Street where a new roundabout junction would have been constructed linking the ring road to the High Street and a mid section of the ring road.

However it was quickly established that having a duel carriageway slicing through the High Street would cause a major problem with shoppers and visitors arriving at the train stations and wanting to get down to the seafront.

A plan to let shoppers continue using the High Street unimpeded by the new road was to construct a tunnel using the Diaphragm method like that used at the Deeping Underpass (Diaphragm tunnelling would see the site dug before piles are driven into the substrata, a base is then laid along with retaining walls before the site is capped and built over)  

It was estimated that the extra cost would be in the range of £220,000.

LEFT: Chancellor Road as it is today, leads from the Seaway car park to Church Road and the Royals Shopping Centre. (C) Southend Timeline 

The southern section would have carried on along from the new junction into Royal Mews and Richmond Avenue.

The southern section would have then begun a gentle sweep up crossing the rear yard of the old Alexandra Road Police Station before merging with Alexandra Road at its junction with Capel Terrace and Devereux Road.  Access to the ring road would not have been possible from Capel Terrace or Devereux Road both having been blocked off at one end.

 

The southern section was proposed to carry on following Alexandra Road until it passed the southern end of Cashiobury Terrace, when it would turn up to cross the southern part of Runwell Terrace (both being closed to through traffic) before heading north to cross Cambridge Road.

The ring road would then have been built across Milton Place before joining the western section at Statton Road

 

 

The Tesco Proposal

The B&Q DIY store off Short Street was replaced by a £3million B&Q superstore at Fossetts Farm opening on Friday 27 July 2007. 

The old Short Street building was 30,000square foot, the replacement is 150,000square foot with the gardening section matching the size of the old building!

The old Short Street building sat empty and soon became a target for vandals and the graffiti artists.

Pre-empting the relocation of B&Q it was reported that Tesco had made an offer for the Royal Mail Short Street sorting office.

The report aid that an initial off for £10million had been rejected a second offer included the construction of a replacement sorting office in Priory Crescent, it was said that Royal Mail had no plans to vacate the Short Street site.

In January 2008 news that Tesco wanted to create a department store on the old B&Q site was bounding about the town.  Tesco announced that it had indeed bought the B&Q site and were evaluating it for a “multi-use & retail” development

In March 2008 £150million plans were revealed for a major redevelopment of the B&Q site, these plans were for a multi-storey building covering 83,000sqft, raised on stilts to permit space for 900cars below, a skyway walk would link it directly to the Victoria Shopping Centre, plans also included 272-flat tower block and 20 family houses allocated as affordable housing, the proposals also predicted 600 jobs would be created.

However in June 2009 and with the credit crunch hitting a high Tesco announced it would be submitted revised plans, this included scrapping the proposed flats and the redesigning the store proposals with the recession to blame for the redrawing of the proposals saw the square footage reduced by a quarter and the proposed jobs cut to 450.

The revised plans were formally submitted to the Council in June 2010, the changes retained the bridge linking the new store to the Victoria Shopping Centre and a replacement for the Focus Youth Centre.  The changes to the application included a reduction in the number of parking spaces to 540m with 90 cycle stands, all traffic would use Short Street to access or exit the site.

In November 2011 the big vote took place on the proposals, the development was passed by the Council, a “gating” system was to be included to enable a better flow of traffic in too and out of the car park, electronic signs informing drivers of the state of the car park were also included as a proviso of the approval, a charging system was also part of the approval were people using the car park and not shopping would have to pay a parking fee whilst shoppers would be able to redeem the cost of parking.

A contract drawn up between Tesco and the Council included a financial deal where Tesco would pay £50,000 towards new cycle routes, £120,000 for public art and £42,000 towards an extension of the CCTV network.

Despite the approval no work begun on the site and in December 2012 dark clouds of doubt began gathering over the site, as Tesco was beginning to shy away from the large scale supermarkets.

In June 2013 the news that everyone was half expecting came out that Tesco was scrapping the Short Street scheme, the retailer was carrying out a major strategy review into its core business practices relating to the larger superstores and the smaller local stores.

In August 2013 it was announced that the home and garden retailer The Range were looking at Southend for a new store.

RIGHT: The Rage store early on the morning of 24th December 2015.  

The retailer soon announced that the old B&Q store was in the prime location and soon set about renovating the old store into a modern fresh retail unit.

The new store opened on 29th November 2013.

 

Western Section.

A western section of the ring road was also planned but, the plan was scrapped soon after work had started on the project as falling numbers of people living along the route of the proposed section, one reason for this was the fact that many properties had been demolished to make way for the new road.

However one element of the proposed western section of the proposed road was built and today remains as a single solitary element of the greater plan.

Before the western section was scrapped work had been undertaken to double the width of the Scratton Road Bridge that crosses the railway line to Fenchurch Street so that it could accommodate the new ring road, these alterations remain with the bridge twice the width of all the others in the area, whilst the bridge is wide enough to carry a duel carriageway, it is restricted to a single lane in either direction, the rest of the road is given over to a cycle path.

None of the roads leading to the Scratton Road Bridge were widened.

RIGHT: The only section of the Western Section of the ring road to be built was the widening of the Scratton Road Bridge of the C2C (LTS) railway line to London Fenchurch Street. (C) Southend Timeline

The proposed route would have seen the ring road leave the London Road roundabout junction and head in a south down Princes Street but on a slightly different angle, this would have seen the whole scale demolition of western side of Princes Street for its entire length, it would also have seen the demolition of the southern east side of Park Street.

The Ring Road would have continued on to Hamlet Road at its junction with the Scratton Road Bridge.

Residential Development

With a large number of residential properties being demolished to make way for the new ring road a way of replacing them needed to be put in place, thought also had to be given to the expected growth in the population in future years.

A major limiting factor on what could be done to replace the building being demolished whilst not encroaching on the ring road development site was the lack of building space within the town centre area, demolition work saw whole streets lost, with Prittlewell Street loosing three quarters of its length.

The redevelopment proposed to include three 16 storey tower blocks on what was Prittlewell Street with a forth on the other side of the ring road.

The £1,360,000 was scheduled to take 124weeks to build, with John Lang Construction chosen to undertake the work.  There was a total of 176 Bored Pile foundations up to 42.5 foot deep sunk into the ground to support the new buildings.

The four new tower blocks were at the time the tallest buildings in Southend, they were set upon columns lifting them above grounf level so that car parking and garages could be laid out for a total of 436cars.

There were 417flats included in the scheme, made up of, 240 two bedroom flats the rest for elderly made up from 120 single bedroom & 57 bed sitters.  The four blocks were interconnected by walkways at 1st floor level with a footbridge over the new ring road and linking to the High Street, a laundry block was included a was a workshop for DIY fans.  The four tower blocks were named: Quantock, Pennine, Chiltern & Malvern

A small number of two storey town houses were also included on the Southchurch Avenue side of the site.

Queensway House

Queensway House had been built in the early 1970’s and was home to a number of Council and health care facilities.

 

 

 

 ABOVE: Closed and awaiting demolition Queensway House, in 2012. (C) Southend Timeline

LEFT: Opening day programme for the Queensway Day Centre. (C) Southend Timeline

 

The building was constructed of brick and reinforced concrete, it was connected to the Victoria Shopping centre by a footbridge over Chichester Road and a second footbridge crossed over Queensway Ring Road, there was also a multi-storey car park underneath.  As Council services relocated elsewhere the building become less and less used, until it was announced that the last of the service provided out of the building would be moved out in March 2013 and that the building would be demolished in preparation for the redevelopment of the area.  Until funding and a full plan of the regeneration could be drawn up the site would become a single level car park opening to the public for the first time on Friday 12th September 2014.

 

Defending the Queensway

During the Second World War (before the name Queensway was adopted) the roads that were to become the ring road were a twisting and turning maze, however the Dowsett Avenue & Victoria Avenue junction was a vital artery to defend and slow any advance from any possible invasion from German troops.

To slow any advance the junction was covered by two pillboxes one was located on the junction of Victoria Avenue & Dowset Avenue the second was located just inside the grounds of the Municipal Collage, a number of anti tank blocks were also situated around the junction.

Further pillboxes were dotted around the London Road side of the Municipal Collage.

The junction still remains a vital artery but without the risk of invasion its much more open and free flowing without the need for defensive structures. 

Buses on the Queensway

Long before the construction of the Ring Road, buses used London Road running parallel to Dowsett Avenue.

Westcliff Motor Services opened a bus depot at No: 33 London Road in 1922 to house their fleet, with the ever growing operation by 1933 it was decided to expand the depot, No: 35 London Road was owned by Browns Garage so WMS bought the building to enable them to expand their services.

With further growth No’s 17/21 were acquired by WMS and construction started on a new depot linked behind the intermediate buildings opening on 2nd September 1937.

 

RIGHT: Map of the area redeveloped for the bus depot, the yellow box is the site of the original WMS depot, the two redlines designate roughly where the entrance for the later bus depot was to be positioned.

BELOW: The 1922 Westcliff Motor Services bus depot exit on to London Road, is the grand red brick building to the centre of the photo. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

The depot remained with its entrance/exit only opening on to London Road until the construction of the Ring Road, to make space for the ring road and bus depot the 22 houses on the south side of Dowsett Avenue were demolished so that a new entrance could be created with the London Road side becoming the exit, the new layout officially opening in June 1968.

ABOVE: The London Road exit from the 1968 bus depot. (C) Southend Timeline 

 

 ABOVE: The bus depot replaced the housing that lined the original Dowsett Avenue, the new entrance allowed busses to enter the bus station from Queensway and exit on to London Road, a works and maintenance facility was included in the depot. (C) Southend Timeline

The depot remained operating until it was officially closed down on 27th June 1987, with the depot moving to Fairfax Drive and bus stops opening in a layby behind the Odeon Multuplex.

 ABOVE: The scene today, Sainsburys and its car park replaced the bus depot. (C) Southend Timeline

The bus station was demolished and a Sailsburys Superstore built in its place opening in March 1989.

Lost Roads & Shorter Streets

The new ring road originally saw each section keep its original name, however as already mentioned the Queensway name was applied to mark Queen Elizabeth's 1977 Silver Jubilee.

However a number of other roads were also lost these were swallowed up by the construction of the Queensway Housing Estate development that includes the Quantock, Malvern, Pennine and Chilton high-rise blocks. 

The roads that no-longer appear on road maps of Southend include: North Street, Lambert Street, Sutton Street & Station Approach.

Milton Street was cut in two by the new road, the section leading to and from the bus station by the Royals Shopping Centre became Chichester Road, whilst the section on the other side of the new road was blocked off from joining the new ring road, the parallel running Short Street slowly developed into a major new access road for the Royal Mail sorting office that would be developed in future years followed by a small trading estate and the re-located Southend Transport (Arivia Southend) bus depot and East of England Ambulance Station.

Another Road effected was Essex Street, this was sliced in two by the ring road development, the section on the north side of the ring road was covered by the high-rise flats of the Queensway Housing Estate and the ring road. 

 

 LEFT: The last remaining section of the original Essex Street is an exit route from the rest of the realigned Essex Street. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

The section of Essex Street on the South side of the ring road still appears on maps, the road was realigned after the construction of the ring road so that it absorbed an access road behind the shops on Southchurch Road, it also acts as a route to the new Essex Street car park, exiting on to Southchurch Road. 

 

 

 

 

 RIGHT: Essex Street running behind the shops in Southchurch Road. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

Prittlewell Street is now much shorter than it was before the construction of the Ring Road, much of it was absorbed into the new road whilst another section currently sits under garages linked to the flats these are soon to be redeveloped into Council houses.

 

Heritage.

If you know where to look you can still find some signs of the old roads, but they are slowing disappearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 LEFT: A fading road sign showing the "Formally Bradley Street" name, the wooden part dates from 1977. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 RIGHT: At the entrance of Queensway remains a road sign revealing the former name of that section. (C) Southend Timeline (NOTE: This sign was removed in January 2015)

 

 

ABOVE: The construction of the Queensway ring road saw Boston Avenue sliced in two, this photo shows how it looks today with the two red lines depicting the original line of Boston Avenue. (C) Southend Timeline

 

 

Pocket Park

During June 2014 work started on installing new planters at Victoria Gateway. Also work begun on a “Pocket Park” at the junction of Queensway and Boston Avenue.

Works to create the Pocket Park included moving the footpath away from the brick wall and away from the trees, this enables the trees to carry on growing without the roots damaging the footpaths.

To install the new Pocket Park it meant that the last remaining vestiges of the original Dowsett Avenue would be covered thus bringing a small piece of Southend history to en end.

 

 

 

 

 LEFT: The last remaining section of road from the original Dowsett Avenue. (C) Southend Timeline

ABOVE: The new Boston Avenue/Queensway Pocket Park (note the car!) (C) Southend Timeline

Future...

Further plans include the demolition of the 16 storey “ Quantock ” tower block with residents being re-housed in low-rise buildings built elsewhere in the town or in converted office blocks on Victoria Avenue, further ahead plans could include the demolition of Malvern, Pennine and Chilton high-rise blocks, and replacing them with low-rise homes, other plans include the filling in of the underpass however any changes would still be several years away.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE: Quantock High Rise. (C) Southend Timeline