Posts Tagged ‘Southend’

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

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

Sir William Heygate heading along the Pier towards Pier-head station

The original wooden pier in Southend was built in 1830 and by 1851 it had acquired a horse-drawn tramway taking people from the promenade to the pierhead. The current pier was built in 1897 and was designed with a two track electric railway to replace the horse-drawn trams on the 1 1/4 mile journey. The original rolling stock was replaced in 1949 with stock similar to that running on the London Underground.

Southend Pier Train in October 1975 (By Dave Carson [CC BY 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)

By 1978 however, the electric railway had become too expensive to run due to its high maintenance cost and it was closed down. The Railway was reopened in 1986 using two diesel trains purposely built for the railway.

Sir William Heygate arriving into Pier-head station

Sir William Heygate in Pier-head station

Shore Station. The second engine Sir John Betjamen can be seen at the end of the unoccupied platform

Sir William Heygate in shore station

Sir William Heygate heading along the Pier towards Pier-head station


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.