Labour In Town - On 17th May 1967, The Labour Women's Conference were in town. This major conference was held at the Cliffs Pavilion attended by Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Other noted delegates included James Callaghan and Barbara Castle.
Southend's Harum - Gary Brooker fresh from disbanding The Paramounts who had a moderate success since forming in 1964, set about putting together a whole new musical sound with Procol Harum. Southend based the band went onto record an iconic anthem 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' as their debut single which shot to Number One in the charts. Laying the ground to the groups phenomenal success across the world.
Queen Mum Opens Civic Centre - It took a while to get there, since 1958 when the council agreed to embark on a quest to build a new home for itself; but on 31st October 1967 HRH the Queen Mother did the honours and formally opened the spanking new Civic Centre. During its build Southend was classed as being in the top ten in the country for full employment, due to this workers were hard to come by and bus loads of workers were brought in to complete this and the many other projects shooting up along Victoria Avenue at the same time.
This rare image shows the Queen Mother meeting PC Gandy of the Southend on Sea Borough Constabulary.
Cllr Beryl Scholfield commented later on the day: "The Queen Mother opened the Civic Centre in 1967, when my husband was chairman of the town hall committee, and we had lunch with her at Porters. We were presented to her when she came in. There were no more than about 30 of us there. It was a most exciting day. She was as natural as you see her on the television."
Remember These Roads - Campbell Road, Eastwick Road, Newlands Road. They certainly do not exist on today's map of Southend Borough. These roads formed a network between North Road and Balmoral Road in Westcliff. These entire streets were bulldozed to make way for 3 new tower blocks and Milton Hall School. Most of the houses were purchased where necessary by the Local Authority with the occupiers given alternative accommodation, where necessary Compulsory Purchase Orders were available. Most of the footprint was residential, accept the Telephone Exchange but this remained in place as did St Paul's Church. Although a fruit 'n' veg market that existed between Eastwick Road and Campbell Road succumbed to the development. Today Summercourt Road still runs off London Road, but now comes to a dead end at the school; the rest of the road beyond this point was renamed Salisbury Avenue which then runs down to West Road.
New School Opens - The eastern area of the town welcomed a new school to take care of the younger students in the community. Bournes Green Junior School opened with a flourish in September, Mr DJ Borrie led the way as the first Headmaster for 320 boys and girls aged between 7 and 11 years. The infants opened for the younger cohort in 1972.
A Personal Memory: "In about 1967, I remember walking down Baxter Avenue, just past the wooden huts of the art college, going home towards West Road; when we saw flashing blue lights and the sound of screeching tyres from two Mark 2 Jaguars from the Southend Borough Police. They stopped close to me and my mate, the police got out of their cars and rushed towards us they threw us to the ground and proceeded to search us. All I had on me was the score card from our bowling game from the newly opened Ten Pin Bowling Alley on the pier where we had been. The policeman could not make out what the scorecard was or what it represented and was reading it upside down. Mistaken identity I guess as the police let us go, either that or there was little happening that night, and we looked a right pair of likely suspects." - Cheers Kevin
Rossi's Factory Opens - Southend is famous for its Rossi Ice cream. It was no surprise therefore in 1967 the family opened a factory in Lucy Road conveniently situated just behind the main seafront parade. The ice cream is still made from the same traditional recipe first introduced by Pietro Rossi in 1932.
Bus Strike - Bus strikes in the town were few and far between but one significant period of industrial action occurred in 1967. Lasting 5 weeks and demanding the facilitation of the bus routes through private operators. The all out strike started on Monday 7th November 1967, the crews eventually agreed to return to work and the strike ended on Sunday 17th December 1967. The streets of Southend were awash with independent bus companies from all over Essex trying to cover the routes for 5 weeks
Prisoner in Town - The Kursaal Amusement Park became the backdrop to a popular TV series The Prisoner. Starring Patrick McGoohan, the show featuring the park was called 'The Girl Who Was Death'.
High Street Fire - A significant fire in Southend High Street on 28th November 1967 did severe damage to Smart's Furnishing Store. The store was located at 197, which was up to recently Boots. Here is an image of the Smarts store in 1913.
Power Down - The Eastern Electricity Board ran the London Road Power Station located behind the Southend Transport Depot/Tram Sheds. Now the destination for Homebase. On 15th March 1967, the Mayor visited the site and the workers there to say farewwell as the staion finally closed.