Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

2010 - The town welcomes home the Royal Anglian Regiment

JANUARY  College Rebranded - From 1st January 2010 the South East Essex College will be renamed 'South Essex College'.  The college has grown in the town significantly since the days it occupied dominant premises on Victoria Circus, then as the Municipal College.  Before taking over premises in Caernarvon Road, as the College of Technology in the 60's.  It was there it became known as South East Essex College, and so it took this title to its current premises in Elmer Square.  The new title was needed following the absorption into the fold of Thurrock College.

Shape of things to come – how the new sixth form building will lookSchool Expansion Starts - Chase High School in Prittlewell Chase is gaining ground by starting its new build development.  The work costing in the region of £10m will provide a spanking new sixth form including a fully operational hair and beauty salon.  The work starting January 2010 is expected to be ready to receive its first pupils in early 2011.

Snow-Ville - Early January saw Southend caught up in some of the worst snowy weather seen across the country since 1987.  A two week cold snap saw disruption created across the town through the heavy snowfall.  Many schools closed and the council's gritting stocks were stretched to keep up with demand.

City-Beach Starts - A ground breaking ceremony took place to formally start the works that will transform Marine Parade, under the project title of City-Beach.  The idea is to make the seafront a day through to evening event area, with improved lighting, better access to the beach and new toilet facilities.

Airport Gets the Thumbs Up - Southend Airport took another step forward towards its runway extension and subsequent development with a confident vote from Southend's Council on 20th January 2010.  A further agreement from John Denham Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was received on 19th March, which gives a definite go ahead to the expansion.

Chapels to Live Again - A forgotten cemetery in North Road Westcliff received a much needed boost on 20th January when it was confirmed that £1million from the Community Assets Fund, run by BIG Lottery, will be pumped into the site and will completely renovate the historic site including the chapels (built in 1897), that sit in the centre.  When complete later this year it will become a Social Enterprise centre run by SAVS.  View the front page for updates on progress through the films provided by Blade Education.

Channel 4 In Town - Four residents of the town will star in an episode of Come Dine With Me.  Filming started in the borough on Monday 25th January and would last for a week.  Many of the town's famous areas will no doubt feature as the cameras trail the cooks as they prepare for their meals. The Southend episode aired on a Friday evening in September and included among the diners Tracy Jones, former Southend Radio presenter.  Opinions varied but some considered it to be albeit a little contraversial but probably one of the more entertaining versions made.

FEBRUARY - Camp Cuckoo Moves in - Just as Southend Council started to move its plans forward for a Better Southend, so a familiar sight appeared on the edge of the roundabout junction of Cuckoo Corner in Prittlewell.  Protestors formed Camp Cuckoo to voice their objection to the removal of trees as part of the project to improve this particular junction.  The council acted swiftly gaining court action to move them on.  At 8am on 21st March the contractors moved in and by noon the trees had been removed, the site now ready for a complete remodelling. 

The Deeping Closes - As the Victoria Circus development steps up apace, so one of the casualties of this multi million pound project, The Deeping would close for good. In transforming the busy traffic interchange with new junctions and even a new green space, visitors arriving into the town via the A127 and through the Southend Victoria Station rail network will get a better welcome to the town.  The Deeping however, named after one of the town's more famous inhabitants, author Warwick Deeping was constructed along with the Hammerson Development, as part of the last Victoria Circus remodelling in the late 60's early 70's.  




MARCH Palace Hotel Opens - After years of refurbishment on 1st March the doors were thrown open to show a fabulous makeover of the newly named Park Inn Palace Hotel on Pier Hill.  This long awaited addition to the seafront welcomes visitors from afar who may not have realised before that Southend does have at last a quality hotel offering; enabling the day visitor to stretch out and savour there visit, with town centre convenience and fantastic sea views over the pier.  This landmark building first opened its doors in 1904 as the Hotel Metropole.  Its colourful history has seen it change use during the war years as a military hospital which prompted Queen Mary to visit it; as well as providing a bed for the many celebrities that frequented the town's theatres including of course in 1952 Messer's Laurel and Hardy. Welcome back the Palace you have been sorely missed.

Google View - Southend-on-Sea made its appearance on the controversial Street View this month. This web based viewer which can take the user to the pavements of the town has courted concerns around privacy.  Some of Southend's quirkier images include someone being pulled over by the police on Eastern Esplanade.

Prittlewell Fire - A large fire raged during the night of Monday 15th March; roads around Tickfield Avenue were closed off as a factory unit behind the old Army recruitment office on East Road was virtually destroyed.  During the fire train drivers on using the Southend Victoria line were warned to take care as they manoeuvred through plumes of smoke.

Ron Martin - The Palace Hotel hosted a fans Q&A with Ron Martin, Chairman of Southend United on 22nd March.  He was responding to nearly 12 months of stark criticism over the running of the club's financial affairs.  Ron delivered on all the questions and received applause at the end of the session.  He revealed, he is more than just a businessman but a passionate fan, and will be looking to extend Steve Tilson's contract; why he let Paul Brush Assistant Manger go (due to his negative views and being to much of a prop to Steve Tilson), Ron also gave some insight to the struggles of contracting players and the issues the club has had to deal with some key players that the fans were not aware of.  He assured the audience the outstanding tax bill would be covered by mid-April as required.  The new stadium will start on site in the summer.  There was no guarantee that the financial roller coaster would ease up any time soon, but he would do his utmost to ensure the club was in existence for as long as he could.

APRIL Southend Film Festival - 30th April-5th May - For the second year Southend played host to another glitzy film gala to launch the Film Festival. Fathers of Girls was the main offering with cast and crew in attendance including blockbusting actor Ray Winstone.  The Odeon Cinema in Victoria Plaza provide Screen 5 for over 200 people representing the great and good of the town as well the film's cast and proudction crew and also regular filmgoers who were in for a treat.  The Park in Palace played host to the after film party.  The Film Festival also celebrates Southend's heritage with two contributions both at the Palace Theatre firstly Oil City Confidential celebrating the era around 1992 on Friday 30th April.  In attendance will be members of the cast.  On Sunday 2nd May, 8.15pm; an archive based film will be shown looking at Southend's magnificent cinemas of old; Lets All Go To The Pictures...In Southend.  Special guest Ron Stewart, known as Uncle Ron the legendary cinema manager of the Classic in Westcliff, known to thousands of young people who went to the pictures on a Saturday morning.

York Road Market Is No More - A regular shopping experience since 1918 met its end this month.  The site just over the road from the Travel Centre had asked its resident traders to leave in 2009.  The semi-permanent array of units had over time become unsafe for the public, and expensive to maintain.  Since leaving a number of the traders have moved on to bigger and better things.  In its place the site is being planned as a market area still with a designed open area; which should bring some new vibrance to this side of town and to the shops lining south side of York Road that faced the market.





May Big Brother - The very last Big Brother series started to air this month on Channel 4.  With a contestant from Southend;  Mario (Mugan) who entered the house dressed as a 'Mole', and became a firm favourite and stayed until the final but was finished third overall.  Later in the year the former South Essex College lecturer could not resist inviting some of his housemates to sample Southend including the rides at Adventure Island.

General Election 2010 - 6th May 2010

Southend West                            Majority 7,270

  • David Amess Con 20,086
  • Peter Welch Lib 12,816
  • Thomas Flynn Lab 5,850
  • Garry Cockrill UKIP 1,714
  • Tony Gladwin BNP 1,333
  • Barry Bolton 644
  • Dr Vel Ind 617
  • Terry Phillips Eng Dem 546

Southend East                            Majority 11.050

  • James Dudderidge Con 19,509
  • Kevin Bonavia Lab 8,459
  • Graham Longley Lib 8,084
  • James Moyies UKIP 2,405
  • Geoff Strobridge BNP 1,856
  • Andrew Vaughan Green 707
  • Anthony Chytry Ind 611








Shoebury Gets New Youth Centre - The new landmark building will include an informal contemporary restaurant with a professional kitchen, a garden and terrace area, a dance studio, gymnasium, large multi function sports hall with a climbing wall plus modern changing and shower facilities. Additionally, there will be an IT suite, a soundproofed music area offering rehearsal and recording facilities, a games room, a bike and motor vehicle workshop, a youth volunteering centre and office accommodation.

New Mayor - Thursday 13th May, saw the annual Mayor Making ceremony.  Donning the robes for an important year would be Cllr Ann Holland, taking over from Brian Smith who retired from the council.  The new Mayor would be supported by in a deputised role by Cllr Norman and his wife.  Unusually a new practise has been adopted this year, on attending functions the Mayor will be inviting members of Southend's fire service to escort her, nine members of the fire service have signed up to be placed on a rota that will see them at the top table of the town's most prestigious of events, allowing them too to spread the message of the good the fire service does for the town.  I am sure many of Southend's historical figures such as Alec White and Harry Garon, who played an important part in the development of the town's fire service, would be nodding in approval at such a move.

Muddy Trudge - Thorpe Bay Esplanade on Saturday 22nd May, was awash with people as the second Mulberry Mud Run was run in blazing sunshine, on what was considered to be the first hot day of the year.  Amazingly the race was held up due to mother nature maintaining the tide in rather than expected to be right out by the Mulberry Harbour, a historic munument in its own right representing, and reminding all that can see it from sure of the Second World War.  When the race did start the many runners needed to trudge through the expected mud as well as becoming knee deep in water by the time they had reached the Mulberry.  On return the Essex Fire Brigade assisted those covered in mud with a welcome shower.  A great event that is getting bigger and bigger,

Cliff Lift Returns - The funicular railway on Western Esplanade, started to come back to life with the return of the carriage to the rail after a period of refurbishment on 23rd March.  The railway will soon reach its 100th birthday and should be back into full operation during the summer. Built as Reno's Electric Stairway 1901 immediately west of the Alexandra Yacht Club, patrons could travel on it then for the price of 1d.  It was replaced in 1911 by the current Cliff Lift structure.  Reopened on 25th May 2010.

Royal Anglians on Parade - Thursday 17th June saw thousands of people flock to Southend High Street to see the Royal Anglians exercise their freedom of the Borough.  View this page in the Virtual Time Capsule for video and pictures, Click Here

Winter  Wonderland - Southend became the wonder of the natural world when a mass of caterpillars spun a velvet web over trees, benches and gravestones of Sutton Road Cemetery.  Leaving the ;place in mid summer looking like a frost covered area.  This unique incident was captured on TV and national press.

JULY New Manager for Southend United - Steve Tilson was put on 'gardening leave' at the beginning of July.  To be replaced by Paul Sturrock (left) as team manager on Monday 5th July.  A complete shake up of the management team would see instant changes to the way the football side of the club was run.  A reintroduction of the reserve squad, along with cancellation of the Ipswich friendly due on Friday 9th July.  As the latest tax bill is paid a transfer embargo is likely to be lifted to help the team rebuild the much depleted squad. Follow the Shrimpers season here Shrimpers

Transfer Embargo Lifted - Southend United in 2010 has put the fans through all kinds of emotions.  Finally during the first week of August the courts agreed Southend had paid its dues to HMRC, and on Friday 6th August the long term transfer embargo placed by the Football League was finally lifted.  Paul Sturrock entered the first game of the season at home to Stockport the next day with a squad, with no less than nine debutees.  The final score 1-1.

World Record - Southend on Sunday 8th August entered the Guinness Book of Records by having the most people ride a roller coaster NAKED.  The event happened at Adventure Island with 102 participants baring all from all parts of the country. The story was picked up internationally by many press outlets including many of the national news broadcasters.

SEPTEMBER Beached Oil - The end of the month saw volunteers dressed in protective gear clearing oil spillage from Southend beaches, due to a ship in the estuary dispensing it illegally.  The clean-up operation went smoothly but did attract regional TV news.

OCTOBER -University Square Opens - Some love it, some hate it, but it certainly can't be ignored, the latest architectural innovation to grace Southend town centre will come alive during the end of September as students for the new academic year start to take over their new rooms.  The building will be formally opened on 15th October 2010.  The site will be called University Square. As interesting as the design is no one can deny the practical benefits of placing student accommodation within a stones throw of everything a young undergraduate might need.  The other facility that will be welcomed is the public car park underneath, when opened will signal the end of the Farringdon Car Park, which will be making way for the Elmer Square project an amazing academic building mix between the University, South Essex College and a new state of the art library to replace the Central Library in Victoria Avenue.  Find out more here: University Square



New Future for Education - Southchurch Boulevard had a colourful addition open this month in the shape of Future's College.  A collaborative exercise putting what was Thorpe Bay High School and Prospects College in to one, under one brand.  The new model will deliver a range of normal school based academic, including sixth form, activities while applying vocational training with building skills such as carpentry, bricklaying and plumbing.  This new development has had a domino effect through building acquisition in the town, as the former Prospects site on Fairfax Drive as been vacated, and will in time be part of the Sainsbury's development that will take over Root's Hall football ground when the club moves to the new stadium.

Lights, Camera, Action - The movie industry took up residence in the town this month.  The film stage was no more glamorous than the old gasworks site off Eastern Esplanade.  This area including the old block building, in a state of semi demolition, made for a perfect scene of Baghdad in the new up coming movie 'Screwed' starring James D'Arcy.  Props, including a replica tank and extras poured onto the site to make it seem like an old market town resplendent in fake palm trees.  The film will follow the story of a young guy (D'Arcy) who leaves the military to become a prison warder, who then gets emmersed in the seedy side of underground prison life.

Warrior Square Closed -  The town centre swimming pool closed on 31st October.  Making way for the new swimming centre due to open on 15th November.

Kane Stars - Southend comedian Russell Kane has had some year, not only winning the best stand up act at the Edinburgh Festival in August, but also getting a key column in The Sun's new Saturday magazine.  On TV He starred in a stand up special filmed at the Palace Theatre and shown to much acclaim on cable channel Dave.  His busy schedule also included another stint as a presenter on top ITV reality show 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' set in the Australian jungle.

Cycleways - 2010 will be remembered in Southend for its push towards making the town much more cycle friendly. This November saw the official opening of the cycle paths lining the Prittle Brook from Priory Park heading west.

New Seafront Sturctures -  As part of the City Beach scheme which in October was in full swing.  The first of 6 pylon styled structures emerged, these new light columns will dominate Marine Parade and provide a unique modern feel to the area.  Visitors to the final fireworks display on the seafront on 6th Nov, marvelled at there height, and although not yet plugged in still thought they brought a different feel to the seafront.

That Festive Feeling - To kick the Christmas shopping period off a full day of celebration was held in the High Street, on 13th November.  Real reindeer, a flying Peter Pan along with the traditional light switch on, were on the menu.  Joining the Mayor at the switch on were Josh Dubovie Eurovision SInger, Mario Mugan Big Brother contestant as well as Peter Pan.  The day was rounded off with a spectacular evening display of fireworks. 










November New Swimming Pool - Southend opened a brand new swimming facility on 15th November.  Ipswich-based Charter Architects has designed the  25m pool, four diving boards and an area where divers can train, along with spectator seating. Based within the Southend Leisure & Tennis centre off Eastern Avenue.  Mark Foster, local lad and former Olympic Swimmer formerly opened the pool on 30th November, with the Mayor.

Good Bye Farringdon:  Demolition begins on the Farringdon Multi-storey car park closes.  The site being cleared for the proposed Elmer Square Library development.

Sarfend Visitors Book - Southend has one more attraction for locals and visitors alike as the Sarfend Visitors Book was officially opened on 18th November by the Mayor Cllr Ann Holland.  This unique book will collect comments turning it into a unique piece of interactive history for the town.  Originally an idea by Brian Mendes one time resident of Southend, but now living in Kitchener, Canada.  Brian made the opening ceremony on the phone.  Read the full story here.

December Let it Snow, Let it Snow - The end of November to the beginning of December saw the arrival of arctic conditions as up to 20 cm of snow blanketed the area.  Schools and businesses closed and the public transport system was thrown into chaos.  Local authorities this time however ensured there salt and grit supplies were plentiful to deal with most situations.

Panto Time - Peter Pan was the festive offering for the Cliffs Pavilion, starting in early December and through to 9th January.  Bradley Walsh the star turn.

Kara Tointon - Winner of this year's BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.  Kara and family fly the flag high for the Borough, but this accolade will certainly warm the hearts during a very cold spell locally.  From Southend Timeline we would most definitely like to sat CONGRATULATIONS KARA.

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