Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

This article has been developed to celebrate 125years of Southend on Sea through some of the items in the Southend Timelines private collection.


Each of the items seen here have been collected over many years, and have been specially brought out of specialist storage to be photographed before being sent back to the storage facility.


1871: The town of Southend was already expanding even before it gained its Royal Charter.

This trophy was awarded as part of the Southend Regatta on 22nd August 1871.

It was found for sale at an auction house, in London, after speaking to the auctioneer it was successfully acquired by the Southend Timeline.   

1882: Another trophy awarded before to town gained its Royal Charter, this is again from the Southend Regatta, it is dated 14th September 1882.

19th September 1982: A Charter Day Medal, 1743 of these were struck and given to the school children of the new Borough.  

26th & 27th June 1902: A small booklet for the Coronation Celibrations of  Edward VII and his wife Alexandra

1905: Just like any other seaside town, Southend had it's own deckchairs, these could be rented for 2d for three hours, these tickets were issued once you paid the hire charge. 

1919: With the end of the First World War, the town slowly had to get back on it's feet.

Before the rebuild started there was a brief time to celebrate the victory over the Imperial German forces.

This poster is an amazing survivor, it advertises a public meeting to discuss just what form of celebrations the town should put on.   

1930: The official tourist guide for Southend, the town had rebuilt, it was attracting the thousands it had been before the Great War.

Like other seaside towns the Council issued a guide to the town showing off it's attractions and giving the opportunity for the towns hotels to advertise their services.  

1933: Southend Veteran Car Club held a car rally in Southend on 26th August 1933, these flags were issued to participants.

There are still car rallies held in Southend and are still proving very popular.   

1935: One of the most important landmark events in the towns history saw the opening of Southend Airport.

The opening by Sir Philip Sassoon, on 18th September 1935, saw an air display take place, the airport's civilian usage was brief as with the dark clouds of war gathering it was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and all civilian flying was banned.  

After the war the airport reverted back to its civilian usage, and was at one time the 3rd busiest in the UK, however it declined in use and spent several years as a maintenance and learning to fly hub.

 However the Stobart Group bought the lease and spent £120million upgrading it, it now boasts 1million passengers a year. 

1940: With the Second World War underway Southend knew it would be one of the frontline towns, the RAF had set up a fighter station at the airport, the Army were at Shoebury and the Royal Nave had much of the seafront.

Shipping convoys were mustered in the Thames Estuary all three prime targets for the might of the German Luftwaffe.

The Air Raid Wardens' Service was created by the Government after the terror attacks seen during the First World War.

The most visible part of the ARP were the Air Raid Wardens, the majority were volunteers but a few were full time staff.

The ARP would produce publications detailing how to deal with bombs and things to look out for, these were only ever issued to members of the unit so were produced in very limited numbers.

The one seen here is dated 19th August 1940, it is part of a collection that was saved and placed in a ledger, it is one of around 100 in the collection. 

1940: A second item from 1940, is this National Fire Service helmet.

The National Fire Service was set up in August 1941 when the Auxiliary Fire Service was amalgamated with the local authority fire services.  

Each area had a different sector number Southend was Sector 11.  

Whilst there is some corrosion to the helmet no restoration is to take place as the paint and transfers are all original, it would be sad to loose them.  

1948: The Kursaal had always been a huge draw not just for residents of Southend but also for visitors to the town.

During the war years it had been closed to the public, with the water chute pool used as a reservoir, whilst the halls inside had become storage and manufacturing facilities for water proof clothing. 

This ticket gave someone entry to the Kursaal as many times as they wanted on 29th May 1948. 

1950:  One of the biggest developments the town saw the construction of the Queensway ring road, that isn't a ring road, one one side of the ring road was ever built, this map dated 29th April 1950 shows just what was proposed.

More on the history of the Queensway Ring Road can be found here:

1964:  Southend has always has a passion for reading, there have been four main central  libraries in Southend.

The third opened on 20 March 1964, in Victoria Avenue, this booklet is from the opening day.

More on the history of the Central Libraries can be found here:

1969: Southend is lucky to have the sea right on it's doorstep, during the summer the sea would be full of people enjoying splashing about, however in the winter months the sea was far too cold, so a swimming pool was opened on the seafront, however as the pool aged a new indoor one was opened at Warrior Square, it was officially opened on 20th May 1969.

1989:  Southend celebrated the 100th birthday of it's iron pier in 1989, events were held on the pier, one of the memento's given away were these paper flags.   

1995: Southend Pier suffered another devastating fire on 7th June 1995, when the bowling alley was destroyed in an early morning fire. 

As parts of the structure fell into the sea burnt bowling balls and skittles also fell, many of these were collected by people as a memento of the day.

This ball was brought off the internet from a seller in Westcliff. 

2012: Southend celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second by creating Community Champions, people who had dedicated their time and efforts to help others in the town.
The event programme was a reprint of the towns 1953 pamphlet for the Queens Coronation.
These were only given to the champions and invited guests.

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