1910 Disastrous industrial fire. In mid February a fire in St Ann's Road would cause great destruction. William Sharpe's builder's merchants filled with wood, paint and other materials that would feed a fire nicely, erupted, taking with it a large warehouse and shop. Surrounding the site are tightly- knit terraced housing which created great concern for the residents who tried to barricade their properties from the raging fires and evacuated inhabitants and removed anything of value. Crowds started to build which caused problems for the fire service to access the fire. The large building destroyed ran between Maldon Road and St Ann's Road. Sacred Heart opens. A new catholic church on Southchurch Road formerly opened this year, a large and distinguished assembly of catholic clergy were in attendance led by His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster. Father Norgate would conduct the mission at the church. Leigh Regatta is born. Emulating successful regattas in Southend and using the event as away to boost business through tourism Leigh Regatta was born. Full of water based events such as sailing, rowing, sculling and swimming races, not forgetting the legendary greasy pole and fireworks in the evening. The Regatta was abandoned due to the start of the Second World War, but was relaunched in the 70's, and enjoyed still today. Violent storms hit the area in 1910, and particularly affected the junction at the Cricketer's pub in Westcliff, a prime flooding point at any time, even still today. Empire opens in Leigh. The Empire Palace opened on 3rd December 1910, with a very keen audience waiting to watch the first show 'The Heads of the World'. The building was located behind the Grand Hotel. The site including Overtons next door was demolished in January 2009. R. A. Jones gift. In March 1910, the new tramways ticket office in Victoria Circus became the recipient of a gift from R. A. Jones in the shape of a clock placed in the central turret on behalf of the Corporation. Job Centre arrives. The very first Employment Exchanges came into existence in the UK in 1910. Southend's need to solve unemployment was demonstrated when it received one of the first Employment Exchanges in the February of the same year, initially they would assist with the filling of vacancies for building and engineering trades, but as the war advanced in 1914 they became essential towards recruiting for the armed forces. Anyone for bowls. The Borough was becoming popular for the sport of bowls and this was underlined with the forming of the Southend Bowls Club in Victoria Avenue in 1910. To Thorpe Bay by train. The summer of 1910 saw the opening of another rail station 2 miles east of Southend Central. On 1st July, Thorpe Bay saw passengers arriving and departing on the LTS line. the station for a matter of days took the title of Southchurch Station, but was re-branded courtesy of Colonel Burges's Thorpe Hall Estate. The area around at this time was still quite rural and begged for advanced development, time would not disappoint. The Roots of flight. July 1910 proved to be an exciting time for the town as some 2,000 people gathered at Roots Hall, not to watch football as the stadium did not exist then, but at this time the fields that covered this area became the perfect site for what was thought to be the first powered flight in the town. George Barnes the pilot covered some 50 yards leaving the ground high enough to clear a fence. Little did he know that this first flight in front of large crowds would not be the last with the air show being a future mass attraction. More church building. 1910 was a good year for church building the foundations for Crowstone Congregational Church were laid. On 24th September solemn Masonic rites marked the stone-laying of St Saviour's, Westcliff. St Bernard's Girls Catholic School opened. Located in Milton Road, St Bernard's Girls Catholic School in 1910 opened it's doors. St Bernard's became established and opened with a compliment of 120 day girls and five lay teachers on 29th September 1910. At the time there probably seemed to be lots of room to expand for the future, in reality today, with the spread of the this south Westcliff area, they have reached a point where the only way to grow would be upwards or maybe downwards. The school is noted for one of it's former girls, Dame Helen Mirren who lived in Westcliff and still returns on occasion for prize giving ceremonies. St Erkenwalds's Church second phase constructed. A famous church built on the junction of York Road and Southchurch Avenue. A 'Marmite' style of architecture very bold design, that was loved or hated. It fell foul to a huge fire in the latter part of it's life when in a sate of dereliction; so its final demise was not difficult to predict in 1995. Southend's first female Councillor. The times were a changing when Westborough Ward elected the Borough's first female Councillor. Miss Bannester was the Principal of Alexandra College. Panto time. This year's festive theatrical treat would lie in the hands of Aladdin at the town's key venue the Empire Theatre. The production was of exceptional merit and drew large audiences. Messrs. Glenville and Osmond's Company was one of the best that ever visited Southend, and the piece was mounted and dressed with exceptional brilliancy. The cast was a strong one, including Miss Hettie Zillwood as "Aladdin," Mr Tom E Sinclair as "Abanazar," and Mr Clarence Turner as "The Widow Twankey."
1914 The Mission church of Little St. Francis, in Stornoway Road, was opened. April. Woolworths opened at 29 High Street. 28th July. World War I starts. Southend Corporation’s new loading pier is completed opposite the gasworks, cost £10,878. Sickness in Southend. November 1914. Scarlet Fever 22, Diptheria 10, Typhoid Fever 9, Puerperal Fever 2, Erysipelas 1, Opthalmia Neonatonum 1. Royal visit. In June Queen Mary visited the now requisitioned property the Queen Mary's Naval Hospital, something to be repeated a couple of years later. The property in question would be now recognised as the Palace Hotel. A perfect location based above the pier that would transit the injured during war straight to the care of the medical profession. War starts, Pier pressed into action. Southend Pier has a long and largely unrecognised military service in both of the World Wars. During the Great War in November 1914 prisoner of war ships were moored in the estuary, the Royal Edward, the Invernia and the Saxonia. The pier saw the regular arrival of German prisoners to be transported to ships moored off the Pier, including many Barons and other titled Germans. All 3 ships were removed from this service in the Spring of 1915. The Royal Edward and the Invernia were torpedoed during this conflict while the Saxonia had a longer life and finally scrapped. August 1914, after having a refit and modifications for expedition purposes at Millwall Dock, London, the three-masted barquentine called the ‘Endurance’ (formerly ‘Polaris’) owned by the Antarctic Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton dropped anchor just off Southend near the Pier for a short period, she was en route to Plymouth. Endurance sailed from Plymouth on 6th August 1914 and set course for Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the ships captain Frank Worsley’s command. On 26th October 1914 the Endurance with expedition leader Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 28 men, five sled dogs and one cat sailed for the Antarctic on the 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The Endurance would later get stuck in pack ice and would finally sink in November 1915. The crew survived but Shackleton decided that Mrs Chippy the ship’s cat and the five sled dogs would not survive and were shot dead. Southend powered by the Germans. Late in 1914 the British Government commandeered five new diesel-engine driven generating sets installing them to power up Southend. This however, would still leave the town short for it's customer demand. Using ingenuity and subtly altering the use for land, the Town Council purchased six complete diesel engines which would have run German Submarines conveniently surrendered at the time. These were distributed around the town into two sub stations and the main power plant. Southend-on-Sea Constabulary is formed, Separate from the Essex Constabulary. Although this decision was reversed in 1969. The Pest House is demolished. Before the amazing advancements of modern medicine most built up towns had a 'pest' house located away from the main populace. Southend was no exception and had its Pest House around the site of the Albany Laundry not far from the Cavendish Gardens/Kingsway. Although it had not been used for many years as a refuge for those suffering the incurable diseases, it was finally disposed of in 1914. Leigh gets another cinema. Probably the most popular of all the Leigh cinema's was the Coliseum opening in April 1914 in Elm Road. Designed to impress with a barrel ceiling decorated gold and red and seating an audience of 600 in plush seating, this was to increase to 1100. The cinema had a longer life than most in the borough finally succumbing to Bingo in 1965. Troops take over the parks. The war made Southend a natural base for many troops who took up station in the area, this brought about some interesting demands, one of which included the request to use the parks for the purposes of parades and drill, thereby maintaining discipline within the ranks. Colonel Patton-Bethanal Officer Commanding 14th Rifle Brigade was given permission to this very thing in Southchurch Park as long as they did not in the course of their drilling go on to the much hallowed cricket pitch. All Saints Ward. Named after All Saints Church on Sutton Road, was incorporated in 1914, and grew up around Porters Town. It would include the first housing estate in Southend in Ruskin Road, as well as the Victoria Rail Station and the Stadium. Most of the Royal Library on Pier Hill is demolished. Thorpe Hall Boulevard open to trams. Westcliff Police Station expands. As the town expanded so did the need for the support services. Permission was given to purchase land in Claremont Road to expand Westcliff Police Station on the junction with West Road. Telephone use growing. By 1914 the number of telephones across the town had reached a total of 684 lines. With the outbreak of the war and through it the number would slightly increase and decrease. Southend gains status. An important date in Southend's development being bestowed County Borough status on 1st April 1914. Penny Bazaar opens in the High Street the site will later become Marks & Spencers.
1913 The Shoebury Palace opens. Shoebury would get its very own cinema on 10th May 1913 in Ness Road and prove very popular to the troops based at the garrison. Unusual for the time the cinema was built with a balcony, it received some modernisation during the 40s. The cinema in comparison to others across the Borough had a short life closing on 5th March 1955, forced to close due to the sharp decline in audiences due to the pressure of alternative forms of entertainment including TV although in its infancy still had an impact. The building is one of the key buildings in Shoebury that is appreciated by the elder generations that still remember it for its original purpose. The site due for development received listed status protecting the façade in April 2009. Old PO gone. The Old Post Office in Southchurch is demolished to make way for the boulevard. This building sat close to where the White Horse/Old Walnut Tree pub is now. The girls move out. Southend High School for Girls moves to new premises in Boston Avenue, from the large joint school in Victoria Circus. The new school was erected at a cost of over £20,000, including the site. Opened with a compliment of 300 pupils under the Headship of Miss N. E. Lewis MA. To be succeeded in 1918 by Miss F. A. Swann BA. Dixons arrives in Vic Circus. One of the most famous stores to grace Southend's High Street: Dixons opens for the first time. Surviving in the spot until 1973. The store started off small but as land and opportunity arrived so it expanded to be a substantial department store. The site today is occupied by W. H. Smiths. Kursaal gets Kinema. Since 1904 the Kursaal had been showing films, in 1913 a purpose built cinema auditorium was opened in the October. The cinema closed during the war bit reopened not long after. St Augustine's is formed. A sign of the extending population and general urban spread was seen with the addition to the collection of Borough churches with the formation of St Augustine's in Thorpe Bay in 1913. The permanent would be completed in 1935. Ravens in Westcliff. One of Southend's longest trading retailers expanded into the then much respected Hamlet Court Road, the business was owned and managed by Percy Raven. At the time blossoming as a centre for the discerning shopper. Ravens survives strong and proud in the town centre today. Southend's new tram boulevard. A tramway extension was opened in August this year between Southchurch Church and Bourne's Green. The route is to eventually link up the Thorpe Bay line, the whole distance was formed into a boulevard planted with trees, and a roadway on either side of the track. At the time it was considered to be a unique design and nothing like it could be seen other than in Berlin. 13th September. West Leigh Schools are opened by the Mayor of Southend, Alderman Francis JP. Leigh joins the gang. Leigh-on-Sea on the 9th November 1913 boosted Southend Borough's population to 82,000 by becoming incorporated. Elements of independence rightly persisted and a Leigh Town Council was formed in 1996. Pier struck by barge. The barge "Basseldon," laden with rubbish for use in connection with the front improvements, parted her cable in the gale of December 4th, and was driven on the piles under the pier breaking four of them, and snapping her mast. The captain and crew were saved by climbing onto the pier. All hail the Mascot. Along the Leigh (London) Road opened a new picture house the Mascot to the public on Tuesday 23rd December. The first film to welcome in the new Westcliff cinema was The Duke's Talisman. The cinema itself was located on the junction with Beedell Avenue, and lasted until the mid 60s when an errant firework started a ferocious fire that tore the building down. Panto time. The Hippodrome in Southchurch Road had really become the home in Southend for the annual festive treat. This year Harry Elliston produced Babes in the Wood. This charming rendition combining a nursery story with the exploits of Robin Hood ensured the seats were full for the period the panto stayed. Comedienne Mabel Osborn took the main lead as Robin Hood, she sang, acted and danced with charming abandon. She was supported by Winnie Darrell a winsome Maid Marion. As with every panto there is a need for a dame and this role was ably filled by Harry Elliston, who managed to maintain the humour throughout the production.
1912 April. In the Titanic disaster, Mr. Thomas P. Franklin of Ceylon Road, Westcliff and Mr. Arthur Lawrence of Rochford, a steward, were drowned. May. Official opening of the Leigh Council Offices. August. Graham White and Messrs. Travers and Noel give exhibition flights in new seaplane on Western Esplanade. Southend's new motor fire engine. Southend Town Council purchased a motorised fire engine for the force, ensuring more lives and buildings will be saved from the destruction of fire. The tender would arrive at the end of January and is of the celebrated Merryweather "Hatfield" pattern, as already in use in other major cities around the country. Outside Greater London it will be the first motorised engine in the county. The pump on this engine would be able to deliver 350 gallons a minute. Jewish faith served. Southend's development would always bring with it the need to accommodate its growing diversity too. Therefore in February due to much demand a new Synagogue was opened on Alexandra Road. The Palace Theatre opens. The theatre under the management of the Raymond Animated Picture Company, opened on Monday 21 October 1912 and named as the "Palace of Varieties" on 14th November. The opening ceremony was conducted by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman J. C. Ingram, who said the theatre was another link in the prosperity of the Borough. The very first show was a variety night which included the skills of Mr Arthur Hill who appeared as the human marionette, the audience did enjoy this act, he continued with representations of "Robinson Crusoe," and a sailor, and his jests, songs and dances. Miss Rosie Archer took to the stage with a favoured performance on the piano. Then followed "the Dandy Doctor" a farcical frolic from Mr Tatton Hall and company. The evening's performance went without a hitch, and received thunderous applause throughout, the New Palace Theatre in Westcliff was off to a flying start. The theatre building itself by the standards of the day, it was a modern building, but many people did wonder about this corner of Westcliff how something so architecturally beautiful could emerge from what seemed for an age a pile of bricks and some scaffolding. When complete the theatre was able to boast "no matter from what part of the building, spectators look up to the stage, there is a clear an uninterrupted view." It seated then 1500 compared to 603 today. The theatre is still going very strong today and has formed a healthy alliance with the Cliffs Pavilion to provide the town an all round entertainment experience. New owners at the Kursaal. The Morehouse family took the reigns at the Kursaal in 1912, to be relaunched as 'The Kursaal and Gardens.' Theatre for Leigh. Leigh was becoming a thriving area for cinema's and now a theatre. Henry's Hall opened in 1912 by the Rev R. S. King, Porter's purchased. Eminent Church architect Sir Charles Nicholson purchased Porter's in 1912 then sold it to the Borough Council twenty years later, to become the Civic House and Mayor's Parlour. First Airshow. A strange attraction, sensational for the time, attracted a huge crowd on the seafront in August when a key man responsible for the evolution of flight, Graham White along with Messrs Travers and Noel provided exhibition flights in a seaplane on Western Esplanade and could have planted the very first seed for what we knew as the annual air show. Royal visit. The Victoria Hospital, in Warrior Square, polished the brass ready for a Royal visit on Saturday 30th November. The Princess Louise, accompanied by the Duke of Argyll visited Southend to open an extension to the hospital. The Royal couple have a long and interesting connection with the town, and are not too unfamiliar with their surroundings, indeed the Duke while undergoing musketry training at Shoeburyness military ranges stayed in a small house just off Southend High Street for quite a time. For this visit however, all the Royal regalia was on display to welcome them along with the a whole range of dignitaries. Osborne House in the course of demolition. In May workmen set about this Old Leigh property, formerly the residence of Admiral Salmon, one of the most distinguished of the Leigh navigators. The building was erected in 1600, and contained some handsome oak panelling. General Election. With the resignation of Capt Kirkwood as MP for South East Essex. The new challenger Rupert Guinness took up the mantle on behalf of the Conservative Unionist Party. Up to election time no challenger came forward from the opposing parties, indeed a late Labour ticket was floated causing some excitement by Mr Charles Stock of Pitsea, but to no avail as the papers were submitted too late; therefore Rupert Guinness, centre in the image above, was unopposed and duly elected to stand as M. P. for South East Essex. Arriving at Priory Farm Meadow is.... This really could be classed as Southend’s very first ‘Air Show’. At an age when flying of any kind was in its infancy, and the most reliable form of flight was under a dirigible; to find in our backyard a crazy Frenchman prepared to risk life and limb performing flying exhibitions was simply marvellous. During the August Bank Holiday of 1912 Monsieur M. Salmet stepped into his cockpit of what seemed to be a very fragile aircraft and on the Saturday as well as the Monday delighted and thrilled visitors by the grace and the daring of his flights. The Pilot had earlier on the Saturday flown from Colchester staying below the cloud level at 300 feet to cover the 32 miles across country, in just 27 minutes. Landing at Priory Farm Meadow, this in itself drawing a crowd of curious onlookers, who were more than happy to welcome the very first visitor to arrive by aeroplane; he then treated them in the late afternoon to a thrilling exhibition of flying. On Monday the true exhibition started with thousands of visitors gathering on the seafront. From the air, Mons. Salmet thought the pier was one long line of people. He performed a breath taking routine up and down the front doing a figure of eight and dropping the plane to just feet above the water, much to shock of the watching public. He exclaimed after he had never seen so many people before, and when he finally landed was chased across the field by admiring young women wanting his autograph. On returning to the Palace Hotel where he was staying he was warmly congratulated by all on his amazing performance. Clark's College opens. A new educational establishment opened its doors this year. Along the London Road, the Southend and Westcliff branch of Clark's College arrived. The brand founded by Mr George Clark has branches across the country as far north as Leeds, and as a brand in 1912 had reached its thirty-second year. The college had some excellent success and had built its reputation as being a solid educational establishment that moved its students towards work placements. Southend's Seaplanes. seaplanes were brought to the Southend’s coast in 1912. Westborough School opens. Another school through open its doors this year on Saturday 1st June. The school took up a 2 acres of land which cost £1,250. The total cost of the buildings was about £15,000 and was built in three stages to accommodate 450 boys, 450 girls and 300 infants. It was stated at the opening ceremony by the Mayor that the cost per head worked out about £12 10s., and the cost of the oak furniture £850. Early closing adopted. From this year Southend adopted to close early on a Wednesday, an option taken up by Local Authorities and recognised around the country by local businesses. This gave workers within retail businesses to have a suitable amount of time off. Shepherd's Cot on the west corner of London Road (formerly Leigh Road) and Hamlet Court Road is demolished to make way for the modern development we all know today. Panto time. The Hippodrome in Southchurch Road was becoming used to the idea that this theatre was the home for Southend's Pantomime. this year the production starting on Boxing Day would be Dick Whittington. Courtesy of the London production company of Dottridge and Longden. Albert Williams produced an amazing show that once started carried right through the sound of bow bells, the packed audience roared with laughter when ever Idle Jack (Tom Drew) took to the stage. The character of Dick Whittington was naturally played by the leading lady Miss Hetty Zillwood, and her faithful cat by Mr James Rallis, a some what revered animal impersonator, which certainly gave him the tools to perform his part admirably. One of the noted voices who will no doubt feature in bigger and better productions in the future was Miss Minnie Muir who played Alice, Dick's sweetheart. December. HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, opened extensions to Victoria Hospital.
1911 Southend Celebrated the Coronation of George V. The Hebrew Synagogue, in Alexandra Road, was erected, the cost being about £3,500, there are stained glass windows throughout and class rooms on the ground floor. Census year. Southend's popularity as a seaside resort and with transport links improving with the growing of the rail lines meant the town was an ok place to live. The town’s population reached 62,592. A new Picture Theatre. The Kinemacolour Picture House opened in Warrior Square bringing with it a new sensation, something no other picture house in the town could provide which was the first colour animated movies. Garons Imperial Bioscope opened in the High Street. Garon's became synonymous with Southend. A chain of shops, cinemas and banqueting suites would grace the town. In fact you could not go far in the High Street without coming across one of these businesses gracing the sidewalk. One particular shop would display hoards of meat carcasses from its frontage to sell the idea that Garon's were indeed the best purveyor of such products. Possibly if Garon's was around today it would manifest itself more as a Waitrose or Marks & Spencers. In the day of the corner shop it was interesting to see there was always still some kind of monopoly going on, maybe not with the national brands but within the town itself. When the Imperial Bioscope opened the in July 1911 with 500 seats and cafe it would have been a unique entertainment concept. The heyday of the Bioscope was from the late 1890s until World War 1. As a cinema it stayed the pace of time existing in the High Street until 1963. Suffragettes. With a General Election looming at the end of the year, the women’s movement to gain the right to vote mounted and on the streets of Southend women demonstrated. Their wish would not be granted until 1918 and then limited by age, until 1924 when the women's voting rights were brought fully in line with men. Southend Music Festival starts. Southend needed a vehicle to showcase the growing musical talent in the town. Today this festival flourishes and provides a stage for drama and individual instrument competitions. Thorpe Bay Station opens. The London, Tilbury and Southend Rail line kept pushing east, with that came more stations, the latest being Thorpe Bay which made a welcome appearance in this growing parish. It was originally called Southchurch Station for a couple of years before changing to its current title. St Saviour’s was an ecclesiastical parish, formed by an Order in Council, gazetted October 10th, from St. Mary the Virgin, Prittlewell. The church in King’s Road, Westcliff, dedicated in 1911, was an edifice of stone in the Decorated Gothic style, consisting of a part of the nave. The register dates from the year 1907. A Businessman dies. Harry Garon passed away on 31st October 1911 aged 49. His death brought to the town a huge funeral that took over the town, which demonstrated the respect for this businessman by everyone who knew him. Panto time. The Hippodrome took the baton this festive season to host the Christmas treat; this year the subject would be "Aladdin." The title role being played by Miss Ethel Ward (right), while Mr Clifford Morgan will fill the part of "Abanazar." Assisted by a full Star Company and London Chorus, the production put together by Mr. Edward Marris.

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

1910 - 1919
St Ann’s Road
St Bernard’s School
Violent Storms 1910
Southend Bowls Club
Coronation Celebrations
Garons Imperial Bioscope
Thorpe Bay Railway Station
Palace Theatre
Westborough Schools
Post Office Southchurch
St Augustine’s Church
Tram Boulevard
Westcliff Police Station
1919 July. Peace celebrations. Visit of HM Grand Fleet. Baum’s Furriers opens in London Road, Westcliff. Star rises in the West. In the age of the silent movie, new cinemas started to spring up around Southend. The Star opened in 1919 in West Street next door to the Blue Boar pub. The building remained in place into the 1990s but survived this long under new usage such as a boxing club. The building today has gone, absorbed into the development that brought the Blue Boar back to life. The Empire closes. On Alexandra Street the Empire Theatre was finally closing its doors under the present title that is, but would soon reopen as the Rivoli Picture House, the owner at the time was the Great Rameses a magician of his time who appeared around the country performing his act, then ploughing his fortune into the Empire Theatre. Belfairs Park. 270 acres of woodland and meadows adjoining the Nature Reserve and an 18 hole golf course, arguable the most beautiful of the borough's parks was purchased at a cost of £20,000 in 1919 by the council. United at the Kursaal. Southend United take up home at the Kursaal after the Great War. There could not be many league clubs with a water chute as a backdrop to their games. Queen Mary's Royal Naval Hospital closes. The Aussie's are in town. Essex County cricket entertained an eleven of the Australian Imperial Force at Southchurch Park in August 1919, the visitors winning by 309 runs. New Politics. Southend gained a new political party this year. The Labour Party established itself within the town, notoriously known for its conservative leanings. By the war there was a membership of around 891.
1918 Southend Corporation takes ownership of The Shrubbery. The Constitutional Club (Southend-on-Sea) Ltd was formed. Garrison grows. Shoebury Garrison was growing rapidly in strength and by 1918 the complement of troops included 17 officers, 341 men and 80 civilian staff. Blockships assemble. In April 1918 an impressive sight assembled in the Estuary just off the Nore as block ships gathered in readiness. They went out to block the Bruges Canal at Zeebrugge, this mouth being the main exit point to the North Sea for German submarines. 11th November. World War I ends. End of the War. The cessation of hostilities of the First World War was hailed through a siren from the top of the gasworks in Eastern Esplanade in November 1918. The Mayor of the town, Joseph Francis, who remained Mayor for the duration of the war was the person to be granted Freedom of the Borough for his services to Southend. War hits the ranges. Although the Garrison escaped unscathed from the attacks during the Great War the worst event occurred in 1918 when a fire was left uncontrolled on the New Ranges. Flames spread to the ammunition dumps nearby and for the next 24 hours a cacophony of explosions could seen and heard. The whole of the area was evacuated, and the Kursaal was called upon as an evacuation centre. The cost 1 man died along with a few horses and £3 million worth of equipment. York Road Market built. With the war at an end a number of troops returning to the town were jobless and unable to support there families. The town's council put steps in place to build a market just off the High Street to enable the veteran's to not only find work but also for their families to buy cheap food and products, York Road Market was born. Southend's newest MP. Rupert Guinness Lord Elvedon, became Southend's newest MP after the war. starting a family legacy that would last until 1997. Successive MP's in the same or similar seat were related to the Guinness clan in some way. Further this election year would see suffrage taking its course and women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote. It wasn't until 1924 that women gained equal age voting at 18.
1917 Health scare. Southend had a worrying outbreak of Cerebro-spinal meningitis (spotted fever) in the spring of 1917. With nine cases reported the town was being monitored to prevent a wider outbreak. Empire gets some magic. The Empire Theatre in Alexandra Street gained an unusual financial backer this year in the form of Albert Marchinsky (The Great Rameses). After years of touring the music halls he decided to plough some of his fortune into this theatre. The venture did not last and money poured out as fast as he was putting it in forcing him to go back on tour, to recoup some of his fortune. He later in 1930 returned to the town and underwent an operation at the Victoria Hospital in Warrior Square where he died at the age of 54. Prittlewell Priory sold. Mr R. A. Jones purchased from Capt Scratton, son of the late Mr Edward Scratton, Prittlewell Priory and 22 acres, and that he negotiated a further six acres. On completion he donated the lot to the town as a public park. It was only three years earlier that Mr Jones presented a recreation ground for school children, which cost him £9,000. Mr R. A. Jones at the time said "I think it is a sin for a man to die rich, it is a great privilege to me to be able to do this, for I believe strongly in facilities for recreation. There will now be no need for such an out of the way and costly park as Belfairs. Prittlewell, with its historic and old- world associations, its beautiful trees and lakes, and its nearness to the centre of town, is an ideal place. Part of the building would be suitable for a museum, and there would also be refreshment room accommodation, while the grounds would provide facilities for cricket, football, tennis, hockey and other sports. I propose that the name of the park should be Priory Park." A condition of the purchase by R. A. Jones is that the bridge at the foot of Prittlewell Hill should be widened, as he thought this spot as a 'death-trap'. He also proposed to place massive iron gates at the entrance to the new park. The Royal visit. Southend was not only on the front line as far home land attacks, but also provided a vital service to our forces by providing hospitals. Commandeered hotels the Palace and Overcliff as well as the Glen on Southchurch Avenue provided excellent sizeable accommodation. The most prominent was the Queen Mary Military Hospital (Palace) which on 11th July 1917 would be honoured with a visit from HRH Princess Mary, her visit was entitled to receive gifts, but of course these would be passed on to the troops fighting on the front, or to assist the war effort generally. She came to Southend, via train from Liverpool Street, dressed in pale pink and blue, and toured the town by motor car, which in times of hardness was well turned out and all the roads on the tour decorated to welcome the Princess - Hamlet Court Road looked particularly good - her car also included the Duchess of Portland and the Mayor - a string of cars followed carry a variety of dignitaries. Arriving at the Bandstand the Princess was presented with a bouquet by Winifred Robertson from Chalkwell School. Children representing the other schools were on hand to curtsey. The Royal party then toured the hospital the Princess going up the grand stairway and into the wards where her presence was warmly welcomed by patients and staff. Afterwards a tea party in the grounds followed. Gotha's attack. Southend suffered the worst aerial bomb attack of the war on 12th August 1917. Gotha Bombers created massive damage to Central Southend causing the deaths of thirty two people, many of them children, and 43 were seriously wounded. Milk deliveries. As the war raged and so young men were deployed to battle, daily home routines needed to be taken up by those who remained behind, Howard Dairies based in London Road would distribute its milk with the aid of women and children running carts through the streets and dispensing the milk. Property prices slump. With the war raging on and Southend being in the line of danger from attack by the German Zeppelins and Gothas. It was no surprise to see properties right across Southend and Westcliff were falling. Costing around £750 to build some now were being picked up by speculators for £500, basing there acumen on when peace arrives the property market will be more buoyant and people will want to return to the seaside to live. They didn't have too long to wait.
1916 March. Zepplin L15 crashes into the estuary east of the Pier. King visits New Ranges. On 4th April 1916 George V visited the New Ranges to witness the testing of a variety of equipment. He took lunch at the Officers' Mess and inspected the school of gunnery. Local children lined Motts Meadow just off the High Street to watch the king and his entourage pass by. HMS Marlborough saw action in the most infamous of all sea conflicts during World War One, the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. This grand warship would have a few Southend sailors on board; the original white ensign of HMS Marlborough is today flying inside St John the Baptist Church in Southend. RFC Land. Southend Aerodrome during the First World War played an important part in the defence of the country. On 4th June 1916, the forerunner to the Royal Air Force, the Royal Flying Corps took control of the airfield. The role was instrumental in attacking the many Zeppelins that attempted to drop bombs on the town. Baseball. This US sport captivated the Southend public during 1916 with 4 matches played between Canadian and American teams. All the games were very well attended and drew attention away from the misery of war. The baseball players were invariably drafted in from the military that were supporting Britain in the conflict at the time. Although Canada did have its fair share of success during the four series' of games, the US became outright Southend Baseball Champions for 1916. The Kursaal Zoo opens. Over it's many transformations since it opened in 1901, the Kursaal on 10th June 1916 opened a Zoo with around 100 animals put in cages and dens around the grounds. Panto time. “Little Red Riding Hood,” produced by Mr Bannester Howard, at the Hippodrome started on Boxing Day and was considered to be one of the brightest, most musical and amusing pantomimes put on stage, and the crowded houses were sufficient evidence of the public appreciation. The story of which was rewritten by Mr Fred Bowyer. Miss Molly O’Shane was a captivating Red Riding Hood, and sang some clever songs. Those two clever young performers, Bella and Jules Terry, were delightful as Jack and Jill, the two lovers. In Miss Josey Leyton the producer has found and ideal “Boy Blue and Miss Nora Neville was delightful as Miss Muffet. Messrs Harry Bennet, and George Asquin kept the audience in laughter as the two bad lads of the village, and Mr Arthur Lawrence made and emphatic success as Gobblem the Wolf, while Miss Doroty Fitzjerald was bright and pleasant as Fairy Sunbeam. Mr Bobby Dillon and Mr Charles Ross had plenty of laughter making opportunities as the wicked Squire and Mother Hubbard.
1915 Southend's Arms Crest and Supporters. Formalising Southend's stature George V granted the Arms and Crest along with the Supporters at the beginning of January 1915. The design is by Mr E. A. Ebblewhite. Overcliff Hotel commandeered. It was not hard for the businessmen of the town to recognise this war demanded all to assist. One obvious area would be the use of large hotels as hospitals. The Palace had already been turned successfully into a medical station for the war wounded. The Overcliff situated on the Leas in Westcliff became another target and in January 1915 it too took up a war role as a Red Cross Hospital. It would not take long to turn the once much loved holiday hotel in to the latest hospital of medical standards could afford at the time; with x-ray suites and operating theatres at hand to assist the war wounded. Mr James Tabor headed the committee that controlled the finances of the hospital. The Matron Mrs Earle would extend a welcome to the man visitors from the local community that would come into the hospital to raise the morale of her patients. New splash opens. Western Esplanade saw an exciting development in the shape of a new Swimming Pool opened on 6th May. Built in the style of a Lido this popular attraction provided the solution for trippers when the tide was out to still swim. The pool survived into the late 60s when it was formally closed and for a brief time turned into a Dolphinarium. Peggy Mount is born. Born Margaret Rose Mount, was an English actress of stage and screen. She is perhaps best known for playing a battleaxe characters, though her real personality was said to have been far removed from such roles. Peggy Mount was born in Leigh-on-Sea. Her love of acting had begun with the dramatic society of the Wesleyan Chapel which she attended in Essex. She first worked as a secretary and took lessons from a drama tutor, Phyllis Reader, in her spare time. Westborough bomb. May 1915 an unexploded bomb was discovered in the playground of Westborough School, the year was blighted with bomb drops from Zeppelins. Zeppelins attack Southend. First major Zeppelin air raid of WW1, bombs fell on Southend and Westcliff. It was reported the shock of the events made a horse panic and bolt through the window of Boots the Chemist. On 12th May 1915 in response to the raids two days earlier, there were anti German riots in Southend and five shops in the High Street and Queens Road, alleged to have been German or Austrian owned, were wrecked. Kursaal occupied. With the war raging it was necessary to find emergency accommodation for troops pouring into the area. The Kursaal was a natural choice but only for a short period of time, the Kursaal Gardens reopened on Saturday 23rd May, admission was 1d but free for soldiers and sailors. Mrs Agnes Whitwell. As a result of the bombing above Mrs. Whitwell became a victim of the attack and died at her home in Ashburnham Road. Her funeral drew crowds to watch the funeral procession, and enraged the locals enough to attack the homes and businesses of German or Austrian association. Summer Gymkhana. The summer Bank Holiday would see Chalkwell Park host a horse show and gymkhana. Queen Mary's visit. It had been rumoured for several months that a Royal visit was likely to be made to Queen Mary's Naval Hospital (Palace Hotel). On Wednesday 16th June 1915, Queen Mary visited her hospital. She toured the wards made up mainly of military patients. Although the visit was supposedly secret, word did get out and several thousand residents assembled outside the hospital. When she had completed the tour of the wards she made her way out to the balcony and the waiting crowd outside. The Queen stayed for over 2 hours and was most gratified with everything she had seen, and was most pleased with the views across the estuary.
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