Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


1867 - Police Force Doubles in Size -  Southend along with the many other parishes of the area was served by a Police Sergeant, in 1867 Southend's manpower was double with the posting of a Constable, at the time the Police Station existed in a house in Hamlet Road.  it wasn't until 5 years later the growing town needed more policing and better accommodation, and two houses in Alexandra Street would provide the need adequately.

1873 - Southend’s first Police station Built in Alexander Street

1883 - New Court House Built - With Southend building as a fashionable place to visit, so with it came crime; to cope with these issues and to maintain order in this respectable town a courthouse was built to the rear of the new Police Station in Alexandra Street.  Unfortjnately the facility was so well used it needed renewing in 1892.

1894 - Prittlewell Murder - Police Sergeant Marden assisted in the investigation into the murder of Florence Dennis, who was found shot in the head in Gainsborough Drive, Prittlewell. The enquiry, which was conducted by Marden and Detective Inspector Baker of the Metropolitan Police, found that Florence Dennis was pregnant, and the mistress of James Canham Read, a cashier in the Royal Albert Docks. After the murder Read went on the run, and wanted posters were circulated with his description. He was eventually arrested at the home of another one of his mistresses, tried at the Essex Assizes and hanged at Chelmsford prison in December 1894.
On Monday, June 24, 1894 Florence went to Prittlewell, and was met by a man.  They walked through some woodland park, at dusk.  When in an isolated spot Read asked Florence if she had mentioned that they were meeting.  Knowing what he wanted to hear she said "No".  When her back was turned he shot her in the head. He hoped to catch a train from Prittlewell back to London, and missed it.  He could not afford to wait for the next train.  To rent a wagon would have been to invite questions that would lead to his identity.  So Read decided to walk the many miles back to Stepney.  It took him all night.  In the course of it, he had to stop several people for directions, and with typical luck he stopped a smart constable among them.  Still he continued walking most of the night, and got back to his home.

Southend Police 1904 

1914 - Southend-on-Sea Constabulary are Formed, Separate from the Essex Constabulary.

1924 - Law Court Opens -  Southend's growing size demanded a more suitable localised legal system; 1924 saw the opening of the new Southend Police Court by Mayor W. Miles. 


1931 - Southend Road Patrol Formed -  Southend Police due to necessity of the expansion of the road network and the increasing number of visitors coming into the town by car, set up on 18th March 1931 a seperate Road Patrol.  The force's fleet was made up then of 4 cars, a single motorbike and 3 motorbike combinations.

1935 - Chief Retires - Chief Constable Kerslake retired from Southend Police in April 1935.  Much to the relief of some of his force as he was well known for his military style of leadership, and did not appreciate fools lightly.  However, he will be remembered and recognised for steering the force through a period of growth, from when he started as Chief Constable 21 years earlier, Southend had a tiny force with minimal equipment, his legacy would be a well disciplined force capable of delivering an excellent policing duty across the whole borough.

1935 - Police Arrive in Shoebury - A new police station in Elm Road, Shoeburyness was completed in March 1935; the Shoebury Division was ready along with a few others established across the borough in the same year.

Inside The Alexandra Street Police Station:


1936 - Ambulance Service Arrives - Southend Police Station adopted the first ambulance to serve the town in 1936.  Basing it within the newly adapted garages at it's main HQ in Alexandra Street.

1939 - Police War Reserve - On 4th September 1939, the first 95 men were sworn into the Police War Reserve.  Utilising the hall to the rear of the Westminster Bank at 13-15 London Road.  Extra duties were required of this force not least keeping an eye on the many empty properties due to evacuation.  But also maintaining a blackout situation, Southend's geographical position made this even more crucial.

1941 - Women to the Rescue - As the wore trundled on so the impact on the Police Reserve Force was being felt some, 75 police officers went into action. Leaving the the streets of Southend under staffed.  The Womens Auxillary Force was formed, demanding extra accommodation at the Alexandra Street Police Station and further expansion into buildings next to it.

1942 - War Room - With advice from the War Office a new War Room was constructed to contain and control events at the rear of Alexandra Police Station, this contained wireless radios and transmitting equipment, a telephone switchboard and a seperate control room.

1956 - Sea Rescue Patrol on Patrol - 1956 saw the arrival of a new actiove division of the Southend Police; the Sea Rescue Patrol was a fully equipped life saving service that would patrol the seafront on land and water looking for daytrippers who may get into trouble.

1961 - Parking Meters Arrive in Town Centre

1962 - Constabulary's New HQ - Southend Police Headquarters opens for business in Victoria Avenue.  Taking over from the original Alexandra Street Police Station which had served the force so well, but had out grown its use.  Sir Charles Cunningham cut the ribbon; the Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Home Office on 19th March 1962.

1967 - The Queen Mother met PC Gandy of the Southend on Sea Borough Constabulary, one of the mounted police officers on duty that day to meet her, for a Royal visit. 

1969 - Southend Constabulary Joins Essex Police on 1st April


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