Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life




January: Clifftown Theatre Programme of Events:
The Clifftown Theatre is located in the converted church in Nelson Mews.


Thursday 1st January: Congratulations Sir: Southend West MP Sir David Amess is Knighted in the Queens New Years honours list for political service.


Friday 2 January 2015: Emergency Landing: Southend Airport was put on full alert as a twin engine ATR 72 turboprop airliner with 28 people on board reported it had an engine fire.  The aircraft had taken off from Jersey and had been heading to London City Airport but diverted into Southend. 

The aircraft landed safely on one engine and it was later discovered that the fire warning had come from a faulty indicator.


Friday 2 January 2015: Goodbye Churchills, Hello Mangetout:  After 20 years of entertaining the night club Churchills closed its doors for the last time.
The hugely popular restaurant Mangetout buy up the building with the view of expanding the restaurant to more than double its size and include barbecue restaurant and cocktail bar featuring live.


Thursday 8th January: A Glowing Report: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Penny Mordaunt MP, visited Southend Airport and said that it was a leading example of success and that is unrecognisable from the local airfield it was just seven years ago and is clearly having a major impact on the town, creating hundreds of new jobs and acting as a magnet for further investment.


Monday 12th January: Plugged In!: Southend Council announce plans to fit solar panels to housing stock properties to help reduce the cost of energy bills to residents any access power would be fed back into the National Grid making a small income for the Council.


Friday 23rd January – Sunday 1st February:  It’s  a scream on Sea: The White Bus Theatre Company bring back the popular Horror on Sea event.


Tuesday 27 January: Esplanade plans announced: Plans to redevelop the Esplanade pub site with new restruant and flats are announced, proposals include solar panels, rainwater recycling, ground water heating and cooling.  The current building suffers from a crack running the entire length of the building at ground level.


ABOVE: The proposed building bringing new life to the seafront. With thanks to Redab Properties


 Wednesday 28 January: RNLI Busy busy busy: The Southend RNLI are named as the 3rd busiest station in the UK and the busiest in Essex.


Thursday 29 January Up up and away: Southend Airport flys 1 million passengers in a year.  The airport had 1,090,626 passengers pass through, beating 2013’s figure of 970,167

Thursday 29 January: Business Park takes a step forward: Centrel Government shows faith in the proposed airport business parks with a grant of £3.2million, the business parks are predicted to create 7,000 jobs. 

Friday 30th January: Snowy Southend: Southend receives its first snow of the year with a light dusting falling in the early hours of the morning, it mostly melts by midday.


Tuesday 3rd February: Love is in the air: Online retailer Postcode Anywhere announces the loved up people of Southend bought presents online in the run-up to Valentine’s Day last year than any other place in the UK


Wednesday 11th February: Hospital Bomb Scare: A hand grenade is found on the second floor of Southend Hospital tower block, it is removed by bomb disposal.


Thursday 12th February: Museum Bomb Scare: Bomb disposal unit is called into check a hand grenade  

Wednesday 18th February: Purple Flag: Southend retains its purple flag for a safe night life scene.


Friday 20th February: Happy Birthday: The Tesco superstore on Prince Avenue celebrates its 20th anniversary.


Monday 23rd February: New Hotel: The Premier Inn hotel opens on the old gasworks site.




Monday 9 March: Leigh-on-Sea 4th best place to live:  The Times "Bricks & Mortar" publication names Leigh as the forth best place to live in the UK out of the top 30.  Only beaten by  Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, Bakewell in Derbyshire and top town Bath in Somerset.

Reasons for the high position are the cockle sheds in Old Leigh, its proximity to London, the high performing grammar schools in nearby Westcliff, and the annual Leigh Art Trail as some of the reasons behind its success.

Wednesday 11 March:  Westcliff Hotel Sold: The 100+ year old Westcliff Hotel is sold to the Indian-based MGM Muthu Hotels


Sunday 15th March: Classic Car Breakfast: The first Classic car breakfast of 2015 takes place at City Beach.

Friday 20th March: Eclipse or not...:  A 85% eclipse of the sun darkens the sky over Southend as the moon passes in-front of the sun, Science fact: the Sun is 400x bigger than the moon but the moon is 400x closer to the Earth than the Sun thus we get eclipses.  Sadly actually seeing it was a little hampered...

Bird totally obscures the eclipse... (C) Southend New


Friday 27th March: New Bank: A new branch of the expanding Metro Bank opens in Southend High Street.


April 2015: Historic Building new lease of life: Approval is give to convert the historic Baryta House office block in to 72 flats.  Baryta House was the worlds first pre-cast multi-storey building, it went up a floor a week!


April 2015: An Indoor Adventure: Adventure Island opens its new £5million indoor amusment park that inckuded, cafe, rides and a Star Wars toy exhibition.

April 2015: Southend gets its first Buddhist temple.

Friday 3rd April: A steam fair sets up in Chalkwell Park, with rides and a side shows, it also sees the return of the Wall of Death to Southend for the first time in decades.

LEFT: Victory Dive Bomber at the steam fair in Chalkwell Park.

 BELOW: The Wall of Death returns to Southend


Sunday 5 April: The Southend Shakedown bike rally returns to Southend tens of thousands of bikes bring a hive of activity to Southend seafront.

Sunday 19th April: Classic Car Breakfast.





Thursday 8th May 2015: Re-elected: Southend MP's Sir Davis Amess & James Duddridge, whilst local elections sees the town fall in to no over all control, the ruling "rainbow" colition (Indipents Group, Labour, Libral Democrats) for a unity with ex-UKIP members.

Saturday 10th May: 100th anniversary of Zeppling Raid on Southend.

Thursday 14th May: Last 315: The last Class 315 to operate services into Southend Victoria pulls in for the last time.

Thursday 14th May: New Mayor: Southends new Mayor announced as Andrew Moring.

Monday 18th May: After sitting empty for 20 years plans are announced to convert the delapidated ex-Prudential nine storey office block in to 72 flats, previous plans had been for a 119-bed

Thursday 14th - Sunday 17th May: The tall ship Mercedes visits Southend Pier.

Saturday 16th May: Ice scream: Star of reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex Joey Essex opens a new Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour, on Marine Parade.

Sunday 17th May: Classic Car Breakfast

Tuesday 19th May: Busy bust airport: After closing for emergency works flights heading for London City Airport have to divert into Southend Airport, forteen flights divert into Southend including:

7.15 - BA Cityflyer from Rotterdam
7.20 - BA Cityflyer from Amsterdam
7.20 - Cityjet from Antwerp
7.25 - Cityjet from Rotterdam
7.30 - Luxair from Luxembourg
7.45 - Flybe from Belfast City
7.45 - Flybe from Edinburgh
8.15 - Cityflyer from Anwerp
8.20 - BA Cityflyer from Madrid
8.20 - BA Cityflyer from Zurich
9.10 - Flybe from Exeter
9.25 - Flybe from Edinburgh
9.05 - Flybe from Aberdeen
10.45 - BA Cityflyer from Biland

Firday 22nd May: Did the earth move for you dear:  British Geological Survey record a 4.2 magnitude at 5:52am, the epicentre 1.4 miles off Ramsgate.

Saturday 23rd May: Blue Victory: Southend United head off to Wembley to face Wycombe Wanderers, in the League 2 Play off final, it ends 0 - 0 at full time so go's to extra time when Wycombe score... With 20 seconds lef tit looks to be all over for Southend when Joe Pigott fires home an injury time equaliser, the final whistle blows and its a penalty shooty out, Southend go on to win 7 - 6 after two Wycombe Wanderers penaltys are saved by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley

Bank Holiday Monday 25th May Victory Parade: Southend United parade the trophy round town, leaving Roots Hall, heading up Victoria Avenue and along London Road to Chalkwell Avenue before turning on to the seafront and heading along to the Kursaal.




Wednesday 3rd June: Airport Emergency:  A ATR72 operated by Blue Islands from Jersey to London City Airport was forced to divert in to Southend after a warning indication.


Friday 5th June: More Flooding: A short heavy cloud burst saw over 5mm of rain fall n to Southend in less the 15minutes, the cliffs at Western Esplanade that were undergoing stabilisation sees mud washed across the road


Friday 5th June: Ghost Trees: The annual outbreak of the Ermine caterpillar spinning their webs if silvery cloaks turns trees and benches into an eerie looking spectacle.


Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th June: First Maritime Festival: After funding was secured from the Coastal Communities Fund the festival features live music rowing, sand castle-making and sculptures, history talks, bouncy castles, food stalls and boat trip from the end of the pier.


Sunday 14th June: Magna Carta: The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta takes place at Priory park, the Magna Carta was the founding basis of law, rights and representation in Britain today.


Sunday 21st June: Classic Cars on Sea


Monday 22nd June: The raising of the flag for the Armed Forces weekend.

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June: Armed Forces weekend.


Wednesday 24th June: Streetlights Light Up: Southend Council agree a funding package of £8.2million loan from the Green Investment Bank that will see the roll out of LED street lighting gather pace with a target of replacing all 17,000 by the end of 2018.


Sunday 28th June: Vulcans (almost) Last Farewell: As part of the last year of flying the only Avro Vulcan flying XH558 was under taking a nationwide tour of all the surviving V Force aircraft, Southend Airport ha sit’s very own Vulcan XL426 maintained in live condition by the Vulcan Restoration Trust.

(C) Nicholas Skinner CEO Southend Timeline.




Monday 1st July: Lanzarote here we come: Southend Airport based Easyjet announces it is to launch a service to  Lanzarote


Thursday 2nd July: TAXI!  The London and Southend Taxi Drivers’ Fund bring 300 children to Southend an the annual trip to the seaside, they have lunch at the Cliffs Pavilion and fun and thrills at Adventure Island.


Saturday 4th July: Oyster Creek Kitchen Opens: After a £500,000 restoration an old dilapidated sun shelter on the Leas at Westcliff that had been under used for many years and were slowly crumbling were carefully restored to save the building for the future and generate employment for the town.



Sunday 7th July: Sun, Sea & Rubbish: After one of the hottest days of the year ten tons of rubbish are collected from the seafront.


Tuesday 7th July: Plans are revealed to replace the derelict Carby & Heath Houses with a modern development of 280 flats with a rooftop garden, concierge service, and gym, by September 2017.


Thursday 16th July: Adventure Island Award: Traveller's Choice Awards puts Southend’s Adventure Island as the UK’s third best amusement parks and one of the best in Europe and the 11th in Europe


Monday 20th July: Flooding Returns: Heavy rain co-insides with a high tide and a pump failure to cause flooding in Victoria Road, Shaftesbury Avenue and Retort.


Monday 20th July: Another Boat Hits the Pier!  A small catamaran with two people on-board struck the pier and needed to be pulled clear by the RNLI with their Atlantic 75 lifeboat.


Monday 15th July: Historic Restoration: Formally the “Shrubbery Café” No: 15 Royal Terrace had sat decaying for a number of years however ambitious plans for it’s restoration into seven flats is announced. 


Wednesday 22nd July: Old New Friend: The new Courtway house emerges from behind the scaffolding after it was completely rebuilt after a devastating fire that gutted the whole building, to aid with its rebuild mouldings were taken of the stonework before the wrecked building was demolished. 


Saturday 25th July: Boom Boat: A fishing boat struck the old Cold War defence boom at Shoeburry becoming stuck fast, it was floated clear on the following high tide.


Sunday 26th July: ABC FIRE: The old ABC/New Empire Theatre is devastated by a fire started deliberately…

ABOVE: Fire Fighters take a break after tackling the blaze at the old ABC (C) Southend Timeline




August: 71 years asleep:  71 years previously that the Liberty Ship the SS Richard Montgonery sank in the Thames Estuary, she still has a load of munitions on board.


Saturday 1st August: Bus Stops Traffic: A coach breaks down on Western Esplanade causing major traffic disruption.


Wednesday 12th August: Gun Carriage Salvaged: A unique 350 year old gun carriage was brought ashore from the wreck of the London, the 17th century warship sank in 1665 after a gunpowder explosion.  The gun carriage includes much of its equipment including ropes still attached.

It is the only know example from the era known to exist, after being lifted it was taken to York for preservation before it will be returned to Southend for exhibition.


Saturday 15th August: Farewell to the Delta:  The last ever flypast by an Avro Vulcan as XH558 makes her last pass of her sister XL426.



Sunday 16th August: Wheely Good News: One of the wheels that was missing from the recovered gun carriage was lifted from the wreck site, in remarkably good condition, with plans to recover the second, and reunite them with the carriage.


Saturday 22nd August: Southend Carnival


Saturday 25th August: Casino Birthday: The Genting Club celebrates the company’s 50th anniversary.


Sunday 30th August: Thames Barge Match.

 ABOVE: Thames Barges getting ready to sail. (C) Southend Timeline.


Bank-Holiday Monday 31st August: The Round the World Clipper Race sets off from Southend Pier in pouring rain.  The 12 teams will take 11 months to sail 40,000 miles, they are expected to return in July 2016.


ABOVE: Clippers setting sail off Southend Pier (C) Southend Timeline.




Saturday 5th September: Italian festival with food, cars and bikes.

Saturday 5th September Rugby World Cup:  The Webb Ellis Cup, which was famously held aloft by England captain Martin Johnson back in 2003 visited Westcliff Rugby Club.


Sunday 20th September: The 43rd of the Leigh Festival, featuring a host of boats, live music performances, and entertainments,


Tuesday 22nd September: New Cinema Proposal:  National chain Cineworld announces plans to be a tenant of the proposed Fossetts Farm development featuring a new stadium for Southend United, Flats, Retail and restaurants.  


Saturday 26th September: The plus size fashion Yours reopen the Southend store after a refit.


Monday 28th September: Another new cinema planned: Proposals for a possible IMAX cinema are announced for the Seaway development.


Sunday 27th September: Vulcan Restoration Trust hold the final open day of 2015.




Friday 2nd October: ATC Lasham aircraft maintenance based at Southend Airport goes into administration.


Saturday 3rd October: Purple Festival celebrating Southend safe night time economy lights up the seafront with music and fireworks.


Monday 5th October: New Rubbish Collection:  Veolia officially took over from Cory collecting Southend waste, recycling, beach cleaning and graffiti removal.


Tuesday 6th October: TAKE COVER: Two four inch anti-aircraft shells are discovered on Western Esplanade, they are destroyed by a controlled detonation.


Tuesday 6th October: Stars on the Pier: TV Presenter Fearne Cotton visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier.


Thursday 8th October: Dr Who on the Pier: Former Dr Who star David Tennant visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier.


Friday 9th October: Hotels new lease of Life: The historic Royal Hotel at the top of Pier Hill after being closed and locked for over a year is set for a new lease of life as proposals are announced to convert the building in to a upmarket restaurant.


Sunday 11th October: Riding High: Southend’s Adventure Island theme park is named the 4th friendliest theme park in the world beating Disneyland!  


Tuesday 13th October: Comedian Jack Whitehall visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier.


Wednesday 14th October: Goldie Hawn visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier.


Thursday 15th October: Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier.


Sunday 18th October: Car Crash: A car was discovered wedged fast partway down the historic Holland Road steps.


Monday 19th October: New revised plans are submitted for the redevelopment of esplanade pub.


Sunday 25th October:  Nude Rollercoater 2: A second World Record attempt to break their own record fails to get more nude coasters riders than first time round.


Monday 26th September: Plans are announced to create a up-market restaurant in the former Pizza Hut store.


Tuesday 27th October: Take cover AGAIN!:  Second World War shell is discovered on the mud flats, members of the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Team have to wait for the tide to drop before carrying out a controlled detonation.


Tuesday 27th October: New Store: The High Street fashion retailer H&M open their first standalone Home wears and Beauty store. 


Wednesday 28th October: The Beadles Group announce plans to open a Jaguar Land Rover show room in Southend.


Friday 30th October: Southend Retailer Closes Down: The Baby goods company Zebedee in Alexandra road closes it door for the last time after 44 years of trading.


Saturday 31st October: Spooking Shopping: The Royals Shopping Centre has a special adult’s only showing of horror film Halloween.


Saturday 31st October:  Thick fog blankets Southend, eleven flights are cancelled to and from Southend Airport.




Tuesday 3rd November: 7000 Jobs on the way: Plans for a new £150million business park are announced, the Saxon Park development could generate as many as 7000 jobs, the scheme is also proposed to be home of the Anglia Ruskin University Medical Research Centre. 


Friday 6th November: Flying Away: Easyjet launch flights to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands


Sunday 8th November: Remembrance Sunday.


Monday 9th November: More Fun at The Kursaal: Plans are submitted to breath ne wlife into the Kursaaal including

•A quasar laser tag centre in the former McDonald’s unit 

•A Costa Coffee beneath the Kursaal’s iconic dome

•A new bar and seating area in the bowling area

•A huge soft play children’s area

•An adult gaming centre, featuring arcade machines

•A new circular sign above the McDonalds unit, branding the centre ‘Fantasy Land’


Wednesday 11th November: The Southend cenotaph is upgraded by Historic England to grade 2* status after research shows it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the Whitehall Cenotaph as well as 44 other First World War memorials across the country.



Thursday 12th November: Jobs blow: Southend is dealt a hammer blow was the 40 year long association with HMRC is bought to an end with the am=announcement that they are to pull out of the town as HMRC announce they are to leave Southend,



Saturday 14th November: Southend Christmas Lights Switch On and ice rink opens first in six years.



Monday 16th November: More Job Losses:  Insure and Go announce they are pulling out of Southend with 100 jobs lost


Wednesday 18th November:  Southend Pier closed due to strong winds





Wednesday 25th November: The rear wall of the long empty Bell Hotel collapses during renovation to convert it into flats.

Thursday 26th November: The Bell Hotel suffers total collapse the day before a controlled demolition was due to take place.





Saturday 19th December: Steaming Away: The LMS Stanier Class 5 45407 'The Lancashire Fusilier' visited Southend on Sea





Saturday 26th December: Essex Derby round 1: Southend United travel to Essex rivals Colchester United in the first competitive Essex derby for a number of years and come away with bragging rights and all three points after a 2 - 0 win.

Tuesday 29 December: It is announced that the affordable housing in the redevelopment of the long empty and derelict Carby and Heath Houses on Victoria Avenue would have to be dropped to make the redevelopment a viable project.

Tuesday 29 December: Rail operator C2C announces plans to investigate the possibility of operating a shuttle bus service from stations it operates to Southend Airport.

Tuesday 29 December: An application to change the plans for the redevelopment of Chartwell House towering above the Victoria Shopping Centre from 71 flats, to 108 following a redesign of the lay out over the 11 floors of the building.

Tuesday 29th December: Planning approval given to open a Tangs restaurant is promising to offer more than 100 Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai dishes on the upper floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre with an entrance opening out on to the High Street next to the Metro Bank.


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