1840 County Police formed. The Essex County Constabulary formalised the police throughout the county and brought together up till now Southend's meagre contribution to law and order which was in the shape of four constables distributed among the four major populated areas, Prittlewell, Milton, Southchurch and Leigh. 1841 There were 2,339 inhabitants in Southend. St John the Baptist Church is completed in 1841. Today this key Southend church is hidden behind the Palace Hotel, but in 1841 when it was completed it had clear views out across the estuary and was an important landmark for crews sailing up the estuary. The graveyard has some significant inhabitants that would provide an interesting history of Southend in itself with early Mayors of the town, and a couple of prominent writers including Robert Buchanan and a memorial to Warwick Deeping, who was born a stones throw away in Prospect House on the top of Pier Hill. 1842 St John the Baptist Parish Church opened on Pier Hill. The church of St. John the Baptist is a building of stone in mixed styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts and an organ chamber. The nave was built in 1840 and aisles added later, the chancel was erected in 1872-3, the chancel and transepts were enlarged in 1912 and a side chapel added at a cost of £5,000. The reredos of alabaster and sculptured stone was presented by the Rev. Francis and Mrs Dormer Pierce, and the oak screen, carved in mediaeval ecclesiastical style, was erected in memory of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. The register dates from the year 1842. Thomas Dowsett, Southend’s first Mayor is buried in the churchyard. Independence Day. Southend had remained within the jurisdiction of the parish of Prittlewell for around fifty years, but in 1842, on the creation of the separate parish of St. John the Baptist, it attained a measure of independence. 1844 Benjamin Disraeli visits Southend again, and resides at “Porters”, Southchurch Road. William Heygate dies. Southend is well known for the various families that helped build the town from scratch; one of these that had huge influence on Southend was the Heygate family. Sir William Heygate reached heights of notoriety in other fields including becoming an MP as well as the distinguished honour of Lord Mayor of London, on a local front he helped with the 1829 Southend Pier Bill and its promotion and passing. The Heygate family went on into the early 20th Century as landowners including the ownership of Porters, now the Mayoral house. Sir William Heygate is remembered today with his name on one of the latest pier trains. 1845 Exploring the Northwest Passage. In May 1845 many excited locals watched as two ships the Erebus and Terror were boarded by expedition crews who were heading out to discover the Northwest Passage. Leading the expedition was Sir John Franklin who was partly leading a Royal Naval trip although other monies were provided by private sponsorship, including financial help from Sir Bernard Sparrow the Squire of Leigh. Not all went to plan with this expedition as the people who waved them off had expected them back within a couple of months. However, nearly two years later and there was no sign of either ship and rescue expeditions were launched to try and discover them with some high rewards in place. The ships had simply vanished off the face of the earth; many years later stories emerged and finally a narrative from a couple of the ships officers indicated both vessels became trapped in the ice. Some of the crew perished aboard, others decided to abandon the ships and make there way south across the ice on foot. It was here that the story became gruesome as it became very apparent the shipmates resorted to cannibalism. 1846 The pier finally achieved it's maximum length of a mile and a quarter, complete with horse drawn tramway. Literary Society was born at a time when reading was the key form of personal entertainment, it was no surprise that the forming of the Southend Literary Society was much welcomed. The Society had already a valuable library of about 1400 volumes, and occupied a neat building on the cliffs, with semi-circular front and a spacious reading room, well supplied with London and provincial newspapers, popular periodicals, etc. Mr. W. R. Warwick was the honorary secretary. 1847 Edwin Arnold who gained literary notoriety and had previously lived in the Hamlet Court, moved to Southchurch Wick in this year. This large farm house existed halfway between the White Horse Hotel/Pub and Bournes Green just north of Southchurch Boulevard. 1848 Southend Pier Breaks Records. Since 1829 when the first foundations for the original wooden pier were laid it was not surprising mainly to save the blushes of the ladies getting their skirts wet, that it would be extended and extended again so much so by 1848 became the longest pier in Europe at 7,000ft (2,133.6 m). 1849 20 November. R. A. Jones was born, a key man in Southend's development that would reverberate right the way through to today and into the future. Robert Arthur Jones became a Jeweller and more significantly a key person in the running of the town by being a significant benefactor by providing the town green space that could have been easily developed as other parks in the town. When the man died in 1925 unprecedented scenes of mourning were seen in the streets of Southend as huge crowds gathered to watch the funeral procession make its way through the High Street to his final resting place in the grounds of Priory Park. 1850 New water. The town had become famous for its natural waters and drinking fountains were established to capture the pure waters running under the streets. So it was not too surprising to see mineral water production companies setting up. The first of its kind was in 1850 was called Harringtons Mineral Water Company Limited. Originating in Rochford, it established itself in premises in Clarence Street and in 1897 moved to London Road, coincidentally at a time when another drinks firm set-up called Ledicotts Ltd, noted for its innovative grape-fruit squash. Peculiar People, this religion was founded in Rochford in 1838, the first chapel was opened in North Road, Prittlewell. The famous ship that took Charles Darwin on his voyages of discovery lived on after the scientist had finished his trips. Much speculation is a bound as to what happened to the famous Beagle, but it is known it did take up employment as a coastguard watch vessel for the Southend District, which covered the shoreline from Leigh to the River Crouch. There are several small tributaries that ran to the Thames Estuary from the Rivers Crouch and Roach, and the Beagle for its size did cause problems for other river users, so in 1850 the vessel was landed to the side of the river Crouch where it served for another 20 years as a watch vessel. 1851 Southend this year achieved a population of 2,462. 1852 Garrison builds up. The Officers’ Mess and Servant’s Quarters, Mess Road, were built around a former coastguard station, part of which is still visible. The Mess was extended and altered several times over the next 50 years. 1853 Billet club formed. Old Leigh's fishing fleet gained the Billet Club this year. Helping the fishermen who operated within a mile of the Crooked Billet Pub. In times when a fisherman through illness could not earn his keep, he could rely on the Billet Club to help him out. The rules of membership were strict although for some unknown reason the local policeman was also allowed to join which caused the club some serious financial problems as he did go long term sick and subsequently drained the financial resources. 1854 The Gas Company was born, It was on the 27th January that a dozen or so men met in the Hope Tavern, now called the Hope Hotel on Marine Parade Southend. They decided to hold a meeting to discuss the prospects of forming a company that would bring gas lighting to the town. Southend had a population at this time of around 8,000, and visitors were making it a favourite destination especially with a railway expected soon, these holidaymakers would hope to enjoy the same brilliant gas-lit streets and houses they enjoyed in London. 1855 Southend did not get a supply of gas until 1855, the Southend Gas Light & Coke Company having been formed in the previous year. At first, apart from the railway station, only old Southend received a supply. Messrs. Peto, Betts & Co. tried to merge the gas company with their firm, threatening in 1861 to build their own gas works to supply New Southend. Finally they gave in, laying the company's mains and taking its supply in New Southend at an agreed price. The train is coming. Leigh was reached in 1855 making the trip to Southend a little easier, and less dependent on other forms of transport. In 1856, the route to Southend by train was accomplished. 1856 National School, Southchurch erected by subscription. 1856 - 1861. Nelson Street (the former High Street to the one we know now) and this area Clifftown, was built. One hour from London. Possibly the most significant development arrived in 1856 that would make Southend the Londoner's playground. A full train route was now open and running between London and Southend. 1857 Street lighting. Walking around Southend after dark caused many problems. The high number of pubs fuelled the problems of people falling into ditches on the way home. Also crime was an issue and Southchurch area in particular was an issue for young ladies walking through without being attacked. The Local Board sanctioned the erection of 20 gas lamps although mainly in the Old Southend area. In 1897 these were replaced by electric equivalents. 1858 Trotters Theatre demolished. Southend's very first theatre met the demolisher’s in 1858. The theatre began life 54 years earlier built by a man called Trotter. The venue became quite a pull and would entertain most of the higher class visitors and indeed pulled in some of London's best actors and actresses. It is known Lady Hamilton, loved the place and frequented it regularly. However, in 1812 it was purchased and finally in this year it was demolished to make way for a row of cottages. These cottages later met a similar fate and were knocked down, replaced by the gasworks and later the white brick styled office block, which in turn is now demolition. Obviously, what goes around comes around. 1859 3rd October. The first stone of New Town Southend, is laid, Messers. Lucas Brothers presented a silver trowel to the Lord of the Manor, Mr. D. R. Scratton to commemorate the occasion. Messrs Peto, Brassey and Betts leased the land from Squire Scratton and together with Charles and Thomas Lucas the builders, built 124 town houses designed by Banks and Berry, Architects of Westminster.

Southend Timeline Southend-on-Sea © 2009 - 2022 All Rights Reserved

1840 - 1859
St John the Baptist Parish Church
Pier Train Named Sir William Heygate
Famous Ship Beagle
The Old Garrison
Website Info:
Southend-on-Sea’s No 1 History Website! Documenting The Town & The Townspeople
Now Incorporating The Sea Of Change Website
Chalkwell ▪ Eastwood ▪ Leigh-on-Sea ▪ Prittlewell ▪ Shoeburyness ▪ Southchurch ▪ Thorpe Bay ▪ Westcliff-on-Sea