Southend Timeline

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The Clocks of Southend.

Today we all have wrist watches of mobiles phones to check if we need to know the time but before the mobile and when watches came on a chain and sat in our jacket pocket (yes a pocket watch!) the best way to find the time quickly was to use a public clock, many shops would have clocks on the outside of the building, most of these were on Jewellery Shops or grand ornate Civic Clocks.

Southend was dotted with such public clocks, some are long gone, some are still there but no longer do they tell the time whilst a few carry on what they have been doing for generations telling the time.

NOTE: Clocks on churches are not included.

All images (C)Southend Timeline

Lost Clocks

In this first section the civic/public clocks that have been lost through time.

 

Floral Clock

Probably one of Southends most famous clocks was removed soon after the cliff slip for safe keeping was the floral clock located alongside the bandstand site on Clifftown Terrace.  However it was not the first time it had been moved it was originally located further along Clifftown Terrace halfway between the bandstand site and the cenotaph.  It had been located there since it was first built between 1919 and 1939, it was relocated in 2006.

The clock face was changed every year including:

1937: George VI coronation.
1992: Southend Borough Centenary
2006: Southend United Centenary
2009: Centenary of the South East Essex Scottish Society.
2010: Centenary of Girl Guiding.

 The original position of the Floral clock (C)Southend Timeline

 

 

1992: Southend Borough Centenary. (C)Southend Timeline

 

 2006: Southend United Centenary. (C)Southend Timeline

 

The site alongside the bandstand after the clock was taken into storage. (C)Southend Timeline

 

The site alongside the bandstand after the clock was taken into storage. (C)Southend Timeline

Millenium Clock

Unveiled on Saturday 7th January 2001 by the then mayor Graham Longley the £50,000 timepiece would rotate on its plinth and on the hours would sound Big Ben style chimes whilst the train and sun would spin.  The Millenium Clock had a flaw it could not be made fully water proof and was prone to breaking down, it was removed in February 2011 and placed into storage.

 

 Pier Hill Clock Tower

Erected as part of the 1896 Pier Hill development the clock was the centre point of the new retail and leisure facility that opened in Summer 1898, the clock tower had a small bandstand located underneath it.  

The Pier Hill Arcade was demolished in 1977 long after the clock tower had been demolished. The building had sat unused for a number of years and a fire caused serious damage to the structure.

 

Passenger Tram Shelter 

During the early days of the tram service in Southend a passenger tram shelter was built by Walter Macfarlane & Co at Victoria Circus it was positioned in the area between the Municipal Technology College and the Dixons Department store site.  The shelter was of cast iron construction with a clock tower on top donated by RA Jones. It was demolished as the tram service was expanded, the erea was given the nickname "Cobweb Corner" as the large number of overhead power cables coming together made for a giant cobweb effect.

 

 

RA Jones Clock (1)

The RA Jones Clock is a bit of a Southend landmark but the current one is not the original.  The original clock was much more box like with a conical top that was finally topped off with a ball.

 

Garons Clock Tower 

The Garons Clock Tower was situated at the top of the High Street it was demolished to make way for the Hammerson Development now known as The Victoria Shopping Centre.

 

Young & Martins:

Were builders merchants based in Southchurch Road, the clock was removed soon after the firm moved in 1975.

 "Old" Pier Head

When the iron pier was first built the original Pier Head included  a small clock tower just visible in this photo, the 1890 structure was demolished several years later.

 

 Pier Pavilion

The grand shore end pavilion had a clock tower located located in the center of its roof, the entire building was demolished after being badly damaged by a fire on 7th October 1959.

 

Keddies Clock:

Not many people remember the fact Keddies had a clock on the front of their store on Southend High Street it went up around  1934 when the store gained its elegant columns and leaded windows reproducing the frontage of that of Selfridges flagship store in London’s Oxford Street. , it was removed when the frontage was modernised with a slatted wooden frontage to match the office block above in 1960.

 

 

Still There but not Working

This section are the clocks that are still in place but no-longer tell the time.

 

RA Jones Clock (2)

The RA Jones clock most people know was the second one that replaced the original.

The replacement clock is much thinner and only has two clock faces the third was replaced by a barometer.

 

 

 
  

 

Still Telling the Time

Here are the clocks that still tell the time in Southend-on-Sea.

Prittlewell Square Gardens

Another RA Jones clock sits at the Cliffton Terrace entrance to Prittlewell Square gardens, the clock is situated on an ornate entrance way.

 

University Campus.

The unusual three face clock is part of the University of Essex Southend Campus.  It is on what is known as the "lego Building" or the Tetris Building" or the "Marmite Building". 

The clock has three faces one for the Hours, one for the Minutes and the last showing the Seconds.

 

Hours-Minutes-Seconds

Santander

What was once the Abbey National or more commonly know as "The Abbey" is now part of the huge Santander group.

The building that originally occupied the site was demolished in the early 1990's and replaced with a new bank, what a lot of people failed to notice was the addition of a clock.

 

Civic Centre

The TRUE Civic Clock is located on the Civic Centre in Victoria Avenue. 

The Civic Clock was unveiled on Tuesday 24th March 1979, it had been long called for by the retiring Town Clerk Mr Archie Glenn, who had been kept in the dark about it's ordering and installation, on the day he retired it struck out.

 

Cliffs Pavilion: 

The Cliffs Pavilion opened on 4th July 1964, at a grand cost of £400,000.  Originally it did not feature the clock on its tower.

 Southend Bowling Club:

Founded in 1909 the club originally plaid at a site on Victoria Avenue, when the land was bought by the Council to widen the road, the club moved to it's current Tonbridge Road home in 1968.

 

 

 

London Road Retail Park:

The London Road Retail park was built on the site of the old Southend Corporation Transport depot, over the years the transport depot was home to trams, trolleybuses and normal buses, the service was privatised, before the bus dept relocated to Short Street.  The old London Road site was demolished to create a new two unit retail building, the retail park includes an earlier Texas/Homabase DIY store.  On the end of the new building that faces London Road is a public clock.

 

Unit 1 (previously built)
Texas
Sainsbury's Homebase
Homebase


Unit 2 (replaced bus depot)
Currys/PC World


Unit 3 (replaced bus depot) (Clock on this wall)
Topps Tiles
Right Price Tiles
Pets Smart
Pets At Home

 

Adventure Island

Located on the roof of Adventure island's Pavilion Fish & Chip Emporium, the clock is a four faced clock tower on top of the red and white roof.

The Pavillion is the current World Record holder for the largest portion of chips ever served, with a portion weighing in at a whopping 448kg it took four hours to peel, chop and cook the chips!