Incorporation Day
Southend-on-Sea
1888. Increase in population starts the movement towards the incorporation of Southend. 9th September 1890. Mr J. R. Hemmann (proprietor of St John’s College), proposed to the local board that they should make arrangements to become incorporated. The first public meeting takes place on 15th September 1890, at the Victoria Coffee Palace and 23 members of the local board and townswomen were appointed. 14th October 1890. The incorporation committee appointed Mr J. H. Burrows chairman of the local board, and Mr William Gregson, secretary. 13th October 1891. The Hon. T. H. Pelham appointed Commissioner by Her Majesty’s Privy Council to hold inquiry into application for a grant of the Charter of Incorporation. December 1891. Lords of the Privy Council asked for a draft scheme of the Charter to be submitted. 17th December 1891. Incorporation Committee get the date for the first council election for 1st November 1892. January – May 1892. The scheme and Charter are considered at various government offices. July 1892. Preparation for the reception of the Charter. 5th August 1892. Queen Victoria approves the draft whilst at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. 11th August 1892. Public meeting to consider the reception of the Charter, it was decided that the day should be a public holiday. 15th August 1892. The Charter was signed and dated. Monday 19th September. The Charter is brought to Southend. Members of the Incorporation Committee Mr J. H. Burrows (chairman), Mr Gregson (secretary), Messers W. Lloyd Wise, T. Dowsett, D. W. Gosset, J. C. Ingram, W. H. Allen, J. R. Brightwell, F. Wood and Mr Andrew Johnstone (Chairman of Essex County Council) who lived in Southend, boarded the 9am express to London to receive the Charter. After receiving the instruction of Incorporation members of the committee and others returned to Southend. Brass Bands, and the Southend Lifeboat which had been specially taken from the water and placed in a wheeled cradle was paraded through the town. The parade made its way down the High Street and then along pier to the pier head. Upon reaching the end of the pier a luncheon was held, during the lunch a ceremony enrolled Thomas Dowsett to the role of the first Mayor of Southend, the charter document was handed over and Southend became the newest town in England. During the parade Southend gained its first true Southender...Mrs Smith of Prittlewell suddenly went into labour and gave birth that same day to a baby boy he was named Sydney. To commemorate the occasion of the charter, 1743 school children registered within the new borough were each presented with medals, a slap up tea party was also arranged, this was held in a large marquee at the site that later became Whitefield Road. A band entertained the children by playing nursery rhymes whilst entertainers from jugglers to clowns preformed their acts. The new Lady Mayoress arrived and played a game of Ring a Ring o’ Roses. Since that day Southend has grown, what was once merely the South end of the parish of Prittlewell Southend has become one of the largest towns in South east Essex, it soon swallowed Prittlewell and Westcliff and in 1897 Southchurch was included in the Borough of Southend, this bought the population up to 23,000 with a rateable value £122,911. Southend grew further when in 1913 Leigh-on-Sea fell under the jurisdiction of the Borough of Southend-on-Sea, this brought the population of Southend up to 82,000 with a rateable value of £562,574. On Wednesday 1st April 1914 Southend attained status of County Borough with many services being taken over by Essex County Council. Over the following decades Southend was subservient to Essex County Council, then with the re-organisation of local councils the long held ambition of regaining unitary authority over all its own services was achieved in 1998. Southend was finally once again in charge of its own destiny answerable to no one but itself.
19th September 1892. The Lord Mayor of London Sir David Treharne Evans with wife Emily, the Sheriffs of the City, the City Sword Bearer and county and local dignitaries walk along the Pier to the Charter Day luncheon
19th September 1892. The Lord Mayor of London Sir David Treharne Evans brings the Charter of Incorporation to Southend. The Charter was read out by Mr William Gregson (Secretary of the Incorporation Committee) to crowds on Pier Hill
Images from the Terry Herbert Collection
Charter Day Commemorative Medal

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