Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life



York Road Market Built - With the war at an end a number of troops returning to the town were jobless and unable to support there families.  The town's council put steps in place to build a market just off the High Street to enable the veteran's to not only find work but also for their families to buy cheap food and products, York Road Market was born.  Today the market has closed due to the site being unsafe to work in and its future is unknown.

End of the War - The cessation of hostilities of the First World War was hailed through a siren from the top of the Gasworks in Eastern Esplanade in November 1918.  The Mayor of the town, Joseph Francis, who remained Mayor for the duration of the war was the person to be granted Freedom of the Borough for his services to Southend.

Garrison Grows - Shoebury Garrison was growing rapidly in strength and by 1918 the complement of troops included 17 officers 341 men and 80 civilian staff.




Blockships Assemble - In April 1918 an impressive sight assembled in the Estuary just off the Nore as block ships gathered in readiness. They went out to block the Bruges Canal at Zeebrugge, this mouth being the main exit point to the North Sea for German submarines.

War Hits the Ranges - Although the Garrison escaped unscathed from the attacks during the Great War the worst event occurred in 1918 when a fire was left uncontrolled on the New Ranges.  Flames spread to the ammunition dumps nearby and for the next 24 hours a cacophony of explosions could seen and heard.  The whole of the area was evacuated, and the Kursaal was called upon as an evacuation centre.  The cost 1 man died along with a few horses and £3 million worth of equipment.

General Election 

14th December 1918 

Southend                                          Majority 8,150

  • Hon RECL Guinness Co C 12,392
  • J Francis Ind C 4,242 
  • C Hubbard Liberal 2,965


Southend's Newest MP- Rupert Guinness Lord Elvedon, became Southend's newest MP after the war.  starting a family legacy that would last until 1997.  Successive MP's in the same or similar seat were related to the Guinness clan in some way.  Further this election year would see suffrage taking its course and women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote.  It wasn't until 1924 that women gained equal age voting at 18.




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