Archive for the ‘Essex’ Category

Southend Pier (2)

Posted: August 17, 2017 in Essex, UK
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Some more views of Southend Pier

 

 

 

                                                                            Nautically themed seating on the pier

An interesting way to raise money to maintain your pier

Views of Southend

Posted: August 16, 2017 in Essex, UK
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And I thought I was in Essex!

When I was growing up in the east end of London, our holiday was often a day trip to Southend, so it was interesting to see that it seems to have changed little in the last 50 years and remains the quintessential British seaside resort from the mid-20th century.

Amusements dominate the front

Amusement park on the sea front

Hold onto your hat

The beach shop

Anyone for sand castles?

The Kuursal (built 18940 was the main amusement park in Southend when I was young. It has declined over the years. the amusement park closed in 1973 (now housing) and the main building was shut down in 1986. Following redevelopment, it re-opened as a bowling alley and casino in 1998.

Sweet rock – the traditional gift for those at home

Traditional Bed and Breakfast hotels were in houses on the front like these

 

Southend Pier (1)

Posted: August 10, 2017 in Essex, History, UK
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The first pier at Southend was a wooden construction built in 1830. But by the middle of the century the increased tourist numbers had begun to take their toll and in 1887 it was decided to replace it with an iron pier. Opened in 1889, extended in 1897 with an upper deck was added in 1907, followed by a further extension in 1927. In 1959 a fire destroyed the Pavilion located at the shore end of the pier trapping over 500 people on the seaward side who had to be rescued by boat. In 1976 fire destroyed much of the pierhead and the following year buildings at the shore end of the pier were damaged by another fire. It was a dark time for the pier as in the following year the pier’s electric railway was closed. In 1980 the council announced that the pier was to close but reversed this decision following a local protest. In 1983 a grant was given to the pier as a historic building which allowed repairs be made and these were completed in 1986 and included the provision of a new diesel train service from the shoreside to the pierhead. However within a couple of months, a boat had crashed into the pier severing the new pierhead from the rest, in the process destroying the lifeboat station and it was not until 1989 that the pier fully reopened. Further renovations to the pierhead were carried out in 2000 creating a new sundeck and building a new lifeboat station. The pier’s fiery history has continued. In 2005 a fire destroyed some buildings at the pierhead and a new pavilion and railway station have been constructed since to replace the ones destroyed.

1 1/4 miles from shore to head

Pier-head from the shore

Lifeboat station

The bell at the end of the pier

The bell . Cast in whitechapel in 1929

Street Art on Sea

Posted: August 4, 2017 in Essex, UK
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During our recent visit to Southend, we found an amazing set of Street art pictures

On Wednesday Keith and I went on a boat trip up the River Medway from Rochester and across the Thames to Southend. It was a great opportunity to do some birdwatching from a different perspective as we passed the marshes on the estuary. When we arrived in Southend we took a walk along the foreshore to Southchurch Park and this was probably the most productive part of the day, wildlife-wise.

Highlights were the Ruddy Turnstones on the end of the pier, many in Summer plumage, a group of Meditteranean Gulls on the foreshore and around the Pier and a pair of Little Grebes on the lake in Southchurch park.

 

 

Ruddy Turnstone. Southend Pier

Ruddy Turnstone, Southend Pier

Mediterranean Gull, Southend Pier

Mediterranean Gull, Southend Foreshore

Cormorant, Southend Foreshore

Southchurch Park Southend

Little Grebe, Southchurch Park

Little Grebe, Southchurch Park

We had hoped that we might also find some insect life in the rough meadow areas of Southchurch Park, but the weather conspired against us and all we found were a single Meadow Brown and some ladybirds.

Ladybird, Southchurch Park

 

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

All aboard for Southend

Posted: July 28, 2017 in Essex, Kent, UK
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On Wednesday Keith and I travelled aboard the Jacob Marley from Rochester Pier up the River Medway and across the River Thames to Southend.

Passing under Rochester Bridge

Upnor Castle

Lightships at Hoo (now used as house boats)

Hoo Fort

Kingsnorth Power station. The day after the trip the building on the left was demolished

Garrison Point Sheerness at the point where the Medway joins the Thames. The old fort and the new navigation control tower

Approaching Southend Pier

Jacob Marley moored on Southend Pier

It had been a relatively calm crossing with little traffic in the main sea lane leading from London to the English Channel.

 

Rainham Marshes

After a trip to IKEA at Lakeside, Sue and I dropped into the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes for a coffee and a quick walk around the woodland area of this large marshland reserve.

The woods were full of song, much of it from newly arrived migrants and Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were seen. Sedge and Reed warblers were calling from the nearby reed beds and we came across one very tolerant Reed Bunting which happily posed for pictures. There were also good numbers of butterflies with Orange Tip particularly numerous. A single Swallow was the first sighting of this summer migrant for me this year.

Orange-Tip

Orange-Tip

Reed Bunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later we stopped for lunch at Bough Beech and were rewarded with sightings of Garganey and Little Ringed Plover both recently arrived from their Winter homes, together with my first House Martin of the year.

Bough Beech

Little Ringed Plover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garganey (from archive)

 

 

Grey Heron

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Tilbury Docks

Tilbury Docks

Leaving Gravesend the PS Waverley makes it’s way up river towards London. The first place we pass is Tilbury Docks, on the north bank, now the principal port for London. It was opened in 1886 when there was a need for a deep-water access port nearer to the river mouth than the existing docks in East and South London. During the 20th century it continued to expand. In 1967 a container port was added and in 1978 a new deep-water berth was added. It now covers 850 acres and is an import station for paper and wood, grain, construction and building materials. It addition to standard docking and containers, it also has a facility for handling roll-on, roll-off cargoes for onward shipment by road.

Tilbury Docks

Tilbury Docks

Tilbury also operated as London’s passenger shipping terminal until the 1960s. For many people Tilbury was their point of emigration to Australia under an assisted passage scheme established and operated by the Australian Government. I remember when I was a young boy travelling down to Tilbury to see two of my Aunts and Uncles and their families leaving for Australia. Tilbury was also a port of entry for many immigrants to the UK. The passenger landing stage was reopened as the London Cruise Terminal in 1995.

Tilbury Docks

Tilbury Docks

On the southern bank we pass Swanscombe Marshes, an area now threatened by commercial development which will destroy another stretch of this already fast vanishing natural habitat, as it has in so many places along the estuary.

Swanscombe Marsh

Swanscombe Marsh

As we look up river we can see in the distance the Dartford Bridge which carries part of the London Orbital motorway

Dartford Bridge

Dartford Bridge

On the south bank we pass Greenhithe. Once the site of the Nautical Officer Training College, it is probably best known today as the location of Bluewater, one of the Uk’s largest out of town shopping malls, which has been built within a disused quarry.

Greenhithe

Greenhithe

Passing on we arrive at the Dartford Bridge. The London orbital motorway is used by some organisations as an easily recognised boundary for London, even though some of the Land within it falls outside of the control of the London authorities.

Dartford Bridge

Dartford Bridge

 

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The Colchester Sphinx was discovered in 1821 near the Balkerne Gate, It is a small statue of a mythical creature with a human head between its claws and was carved from British stone. It is still an object of some mystery but is probably from the 2nd century AD and most recent suggestions are that it was a ‘grave guardian’ from a military tomb. It is on display in Colchester Castle Museum.

The Romans in Colchester (3)

Posted: October 10, 2015 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Another thing that stood out for me from our recent visit to Colchester Museum was the examples of locally manufactured goods, particularly Glassware and pottery.

 

 

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Also some examples of fine mosaics found locally

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