Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


Southend Becomes a Unitary -  With a fanfare and a myriad of events Southend gained unitary status on 1st April 1998.  

After years of changing from Borough status, demoted to District and back again, Southend finally came out from the Essex County Council shadows and became responsible for it's own affairs.



The Kursaal Breathes Again - The Newly refurbished Kursaal re-opened on 14th May 1998.  The KursaalA presentation along the seafront with thousands turning out, as well as a reception for celebrities, including Warren Mitchell, Matthew Kelly, The Beverley Sisters and Michaela Strachan as well dignatories and those who remembered the Kursaal fondly took place.  The building today hosts a popular bowling alley, and casino. 



End of an Era in Shoebury - The Horseshoe Barracks finally said farewell to it's military occupants.  With a Sunset ceremony on 4th March 1998, with music performed by the The Garrison by you.Royal Regiment of Artillery and the guns of 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers).  The salute was taken by Field Marshal the Lord Vincent, GBE KCB DSO.

Fire at the Palace - Police and RAF firefighters were called into action in Southend to evacuated about 150 people after a blaze broke out on the fourth floor of a hotel. The fire started in a store room at the Palace Hotel at around 4am on Saturday 29th August 1998. Army Green Goddesses and fire fighters from the RAF responded to the call because members of the Fire Brigades Union in Essex are on strike. Many elderly and infirm were taken to a local shopping centre and then a civic centre where the borough council was providing emergency help and support.

Radio One Roadshow -  Southend gave a huge welcome to Chris Moyles and the Radio One Roadshow on Western Esplanade.  The town being a regular haunt for this energetic and nationally recognised music led show, this year thousands of people came along to be entertained by the country's top pop acts along with of course the usual slapstick, fun and games that accompany such a roadshow.




The ABC closes its doors in January Alexandra Street, But a New Theatre moves in is to bring the London fringe to your doorstep - with the endorsement of former artistic director of the Royal National Theatre, Richard Eyre.

New Empire

The New Empire Theatre on the site of the old ABC cinema in Alexandra Street has two auditoriums to cater for a wider audience.  The Theatre Upstairs is being run by Southend professionals Bradley Snelling and Marc Mollica, under the banner of the Threadbare Theatre Company.  The concept of the venture is to provide a flexible space for contemporary and classic theatre at affordable prices.

The Kursaal at the Palace - 1998 was a special year for the much loved Kursaal, not only was it being physically reborn, but Palace Theatre Artistic Director Christopher Dunham and playwright Peter Quilter turned their skills towards making this Southend Landmark the centrepiece for a new play called 'By the Dome it is Known'.  The play focused on the people that worked there, with fictional accounts of loves and lives of some of those who played there in the famous ballroom.  As part of the research for this unique play the services of two sons and a granddaughter of the Jolly Boys who performed opposite in the Kursaal on Marine Parade between 1900 and the late 1930's were called upon.  The play followed the Kursaal's long history through two wars and a 1950's knees-up, featuring a cast of over 100 amateurs.

Borough's Oldest School Moves - St Mary's School in East Street, Prittlewell, was originally established in the 15th century by the Jesus Guild, and moved to the East Street site in 1868.  After 130 years, in 1998 it moved to bigger premises by taking over the building in Boston Avenue previously occupied by Prittlewell High School and formerly the original Southend High School for Girls

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Tuesday 28th July A new Boeing: Southend Airport was the first place in the United Kingdom to see the next generation of Boeing's 737 familiy arrive when the Boeing 737-800 G-OKDN landed at Southend on its delivery flight direct from Boeing Field, Seattle, USA.




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