Timeline
1940 An 'Eastend' writer born. 18th January saw the arrival into this world of a future prolific TV screen writer Tony Holland. Starting as an actor in shows such as Dr who in the 60's, he will be most noted for his script writing particularly his contribution to the BBC TV soap Eastenders, and his knowledge and influence probably brought the programme to Southend many times for filming. Tony who passed away in 2007, will also be remembered for his work in other TV shows such as Z-Cars and hospital drama Angels. May. The Home Guard was formed from the old Local Defence Volunteers, and when the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Col. Sir Francis H. Whitmore, took the salute at the Home Guard stand-down parade in October 1944, there were 4,000 members in the Southend battalion. James Bond link to Southend. In Andrew Lycett's excellent biography "Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond," he explains that in April 1940 there was a report that Germany was going to attack Southend on Whit Sunday. Fleming and his brother Peter Fleming suggested to their respective chiefs that if such an attack took place it would be exploited by Hitler's propaganda machine. "In order to be sure that a different point of view appeared on the BBC, they suggested that they should be present on the Essex coast to act as official observers...At dusk they joined a naval observation post on the roof of a large hotel (probably the Palace). But as the night wore on, they received no reports of unusual enemy aircraft movements, they found it increasingly difficult to take the idea of an impending attack seriously. At around one o'clock they roused their driver, who was drunk, and asked to be taken back to London." Vessels from Southend sail to Dunkirk. The Pleasure steamer Medway Queen rescues 7,000 men at Dunkirk beaches. Leigh heroes. Six boats from Leigh took part in the heroic mass evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk on 1st June 1940. Admiral Ramsey, who as Vice-Admiral Dover, was in command of 'Operation Dynamo' had high praise for the Leigh Cockle Bawley boats, "The conduct of the crews of these cockle boats was exemplary. They were all volunteers who were rushed over to Dunkirk in one day. Probably none of them had been under gunfire before and certainly none of them under Naval discipline. These were Thames estuary fishing boats which never left the estuary and only one of their crews had been further afield than Ramsgate. Yet they maintained perfect formation throughout the day and night and all orders were obeyed with great diligence even under shellfire and aircraft attack." This memorial pictured right, in St Clement's Churchyard is for those who did not return. New manager. The Shrimpers although not partaking in league football due to the war still appointed a new manager this year. Harry Warren took the reigns and lasted some 16 years until 1956 where he went on to manage Coventry City. Blocks mounted. To thwart the threat of German invasion a string of 1,804 anti tank blocks were placed along the full length of Southend Seafront. By 1946 most of them had been removed, but 2 remained, 500 yards east of the Kursaal, originally just across from the gasworks. They remain now as a commemoration of World War Two. Right, official plaques have now been mounted on them. 1941 January 1941 RAF Rochford became a forward offensive fighter base. Bombs hit the town. February 1941. Southend Central Rail Station bombed. Also the London Pub in High Street, takes a direct hit from a German bomb; to be rebuilt later as the Tavern in the Town. Women to the rescue. As the war trundled on so the impact on the Police Reserve Force was being felt some 75 police officers went into action. Leaving the streets of Southend under policed. The Women’s Auxiliary Force was formed, demanding extra accommodation at the Alexandra Street Police Station and further expansion into buildings next to it. Westcliff bombed. A New Year it might have been, but the same old war trundled on, and the residents of the Borough continued to suffer from bombings, this time Westcliff became the target and in particular Crosby Road. The image right, shows the devastation caused; No. 6 was hit by four bombs and was demolished while properties around particularly No.'s 8 and 10 also took damage. The site today of No. 6 is the Crowstone Preparatory School. Churchill visits. With the war raging the Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid a visit to Shoeburyness to inspect the troops based at the garrison and no doubt to see the latest advances at the ranges towards defeating the Nazi threat. Bombings. November 1941. Houses damaged in bombing raid in Coleman's Avenue and Cumberland Avenue. Panto time. It is quite amazing with all the stories of war dotted around this page that normality still range out with the annual seasonal treat the pantomime. Sure many of the town's kids had been evacuated but the Regal Theatre carried on with the old theatrical adage, 'the show must go on'. The panto on stage would be 'The Babes in the Woods'. The chorus works, troupe dances and fairy ballet were all arranged and set by Miss Eva McEwan, and the 'Babes' were taken by Rita Collins and Pat Gibbs, two local twelve year olds, who were the youngest principals playing in pantomime at the time. The panto run was so well attended it was extended for a further week in January. 1942 Warship week. HMS Ashanti was assigned to Southend for the week in February to try and raise a required £500,000. Everything was needed by the people of the town to reach the target which would include the savings lying idle in accounts. The need was urgent by the government and up and down the country other towns were doing the same to help. End of an era. 8th April 1942; the last tram ran in Southend. This convenient form of transport that could take people across the borough was retired. Due mainly to the war raging, a smaller populace due to evacuation and Southend Corporation lending out to other towns it's rolling stock. The tram's routes were numbered, and this Spring day would make it their last. Car 61 operated a token farewell run from Porters, the Civic House, to the depot, driven by the Transport Committee Chairman, Cllr. Selby. The Palace gifted. This year the Palace Theatre was gifted to Southend Council. The theatre closed its doors not long after the war started; the proprietress was a Mrs Gertrude Mouillot. Railings needed. Around the town, efforts were being made to supplement the countries war need for metal, to be converted into munitions. Railings from prominent properties around town including churches and council buildings were removed, and the redundant tram tracks were pulled up providing a huge amount of steel. Evacuation programme impacts. Southend due to its geographical positioning made it one of the most vulnerable towns in England for either bomb attack or invasion. The town underwent a mass commandeering by the town, and in turn those most vulnerable were evacuated. On Sunday 2nd June 1942 the town's children were evacuated starting at 7am with Westcliff High School for Boys and Thorpe and finishing with Hamstel at 12.35pm. The evacuation could not have gone better and enabled the town to close all its schools. The children went to the Midlands areas and in some places Southendian children were to swamp the local children's populace; so much so one Headmaster stated: "If you here a child talking in strange accent don't kick him out of town he is probably one of ours!" Southend Celebrates 50 years as a County Borough. There were doubts, if nothing else the cost of celebrating 50 years as a County Borough, could be seen as wrong with the 'war effort' in demand. But, a full 9 day programme was put together from 8th-16th August still saw an event suitable and cost effective. The programme would see the military in full force in attendance along with many of other contributions all based around the Cliff Bandstand. A Jubilee Bowls tournament was held at the Priory Park Club, along with a Kids Concert Party, and a Cricket match at Chalkwell Park between a London Counties XI v Major Hon. CJ Lyttleton's XI. The festivities wound up on 16th with a Drumhead Service, again in Chalkwell Park. A Spitfire of our own. The long standing Mayor. Ald. Miles, had always promised to lead the town towards raising enough money to help purchase a Spitfire to assist with the war effort. In September 1942 the Mayor wrote a letter to the Minister of Aircraft Col. J. J. Llewellin, explaining that although the town was much depleted due to evacuations his promise of funding was true and duly provided a cheque for £5,000. This would ensure Southend-on-Sea would indeed be engraved onto the fuselage of the newest Spitfire off the production line. Victoria cross. A Leigh man, Lt Peter Watkinson-Roberts RN, was awarded the Victoria Cross, for crawling twenty feet through the gun-casing of the submarine Thrasher, which lay close to hostile coast, her presence known to the enemy, when at any moment it might crash dive and plunge him to death. Westcliff School bombed. St Bernard's School in Milton Road took the brunt of this August raid. German bombs are indiscriminate, and although invariably London would be the target for the Luftwaffe, Southend took more than its fair share of beatings as the 'Kraut' bombers off loaded their deadly cargo on the way back to the Fatherland. Famous jewellers hit by bomb. Southend High Street suffered this year with one of it's most famous retailers, R. A. Jones & Sons Ltd taking a full on hit from a German bomb. The jewellers although still standing was decimated right the way through. The famous clock was destroyed during the attack. Neighbouring properties also took the brunt of the bomb. Troops stationed in the town assisted with the clean up operation. Robert A. Jones a great benefactor of the town died in 1925, but his business continued through his son Cecil. War room. With advice from the War Office a new War Room was constructed to contain and control events at the rear of Alexandra Police Station, this contained wireless radios and transmitting equipment, a telephone switchboard and a separate control room. Panto time. With the war raging, and the kids evacuated, although some returning, not even Hitler could stop Southend's panto. The Regal in Tylers Avenue once again took the lead and this year's festive treat would be Red Riding Hood. The adverts at the time proclaimed a huge cast of some 50 artistes on stage, including Jack Welsh as Dame Horner, Patsy Gibbs, Jack Hillier, Olive Sloane and Johnny Martin. 1943 The clock returns. It was a complete shock last October, when a German plane attacked the High Street in broad daylight demolishing R. A. Jones' Jewellers, and along with it the much appreciated clock that was suspended from the building side. This January however, the same business submitted an application to the council to return a new clock temporarily to the new lodgings not far from originally bombed shop. Cartoonist dies. Fred Whisstock who at his height was a well accomplished artist who was popularly known for his newspaper cartoons appearing in some 30 different publications under the name of ‘Quip’. Born in the East End Fred moved to Southend and made it his home, he also became well known as a comedian on the local circuit. But Fred will be most remembered for his art. Lightship stood down. The Nore Lightship was retired in 1943, having sat out in the middle of the Estuary since 1743 marking the seaward limit of the Port of London's authority as well as warning passing traffic of the Nore Sands and thereby no doubt saving thousands of lives. The ship was replaced by the Nore fort. Southend troops morale raised. In May this year the BBC came to town to capture comments recorded for the benefit of Southend's troops serving across the globe. The special programme not only allowed relatives to get some messages to their sons in uniform, but also to provide an update on how their town was fairing during the war. Some amazing memories which must have brought a lump to the throat of those away, including a roving microphone recorded the peeling of St Mary's church bells, Mr H. Finney the raucous newspaper vendor on the High Street added a few familiar shouts. A carnival song was sung by Herbert Sharpe, and the organ from the Astoria was put through its paces by Guy Hindell. Lifeboat rescue. An interesting Lifeboat event occurred this war year; a fire float in stress while out on training. It drew attention from the incumbent lifeboat crew, who went into action and rescued off the fire float a number of very seasick firemen. Leaving the stricken vessel, that was heading straight for the pier, (whose use during the war was one to be protected as a priority), so with the aid of the "H. F. Bailey" lifeboat, they steered the float away to safety. United boss dies. Bob Jack became player-manager of Southend United in 1906. In his first two seasons they won the Southern League Division Two title and gained election to the Southern League First Division in 1908. Dad's Army on parade. Certainly not Dad's army in the comedic sense but a very efficient demonstration of the local Home Guard took place on Western Esplanade in May. The 16th Essex Battalion Home Guard and "A" Company of the 13th (GPO) Essex Battalion, Home Guard all turned out on parade along the seafront. To be inspected by senior officers and to later march past taking the salute Lieut. General GWR Templar DSO OBE. The Home Guard band provided the musical support. A crowd had gathered for the spectacle and were delighted to see a full demonstration of live firing demonstrating to the public the real effectiveness of the Home Guard. Shooting out to sea from the Shorefield Lawns at dummy targets, were a whole range of weapons including EY Rifles, Vickers Machine Guns, spigot mortars and anti-tank fire. All this could be followed through to the target being hit with the dramatic impact created by the sea they were floating on, the crowd were mightily impressed with the accuracy achieved and gave the troops and encore as a sign of appreciation. Coulson Kernahan a prolific author, and resident of Preston Road, Westcliff-on-Sea died this year. The billiard wizard is dead. John Baker Clarke passed away this year aged 80. A famous billiard man, nicknamed 'The Wizard', who, for 30 years could do some amazing tricks which astounded thousands of people. He was born in Lincoln, but made his home in Southend performing at the Queen's Hotel in Hamlet Court Road and at the Kursaal. Southend welcomes baseball. The Stadium on Saturday 23rd October took the town's sports fan's minds off the war with an unusual spectacle in the shape of Baseball. The two teams playing were Kellers Killers and The Gipsies. Umpire by a famous USA player and it was promised after every point the crowd would have the reason it was awarded explained, so they keep up as the game unfolded. There was no recorded result of the game. Princess visits. A sample of the smart efficiency of Britain’s women-at-war was provided by hundreds of ATS girls from Southend and neighbourhood on Saturday 30th October 1943, when HRH the Princess Royal CI, GCVO, CBE, visited the town to inspect women of the service, of which she is Controller- Commandant. In the morning the Royal party visited the Garrison at Shoeburyness and saw the work of ATS girls, inspecting the living quarters, and rest rooms. After taking to a few of the girls Her Royal Highness took lunch in the Officers’ Mess. Next stop was to the Cliffs along from the bandstand where the party watched a physical training display by a squad of girls, led my Corporal Mary McCracken, inspecting as well a motor transport platoon and their equipment, and take the salute at a march past. Later the Princess Royal attended the Women’s Service Club in Wilson Road. Church hit by bomb. Avenue Road Baptist Church in Park Street was hit by a bomb on 10th December 1943. Blowing the roof off and smashing the stained glass window. When the dust cleared those that discovered the bomb damaged church were amazed to find the church organ not only survived but still played. Panto time. The Regal Theatre in Tyler's Avenue stepped up to provide another festive treat; this time the offering was Little Bo- Peep starring Frank Preston as Dark Deeds and Gertrude Brown as Boy Blue. Also in the production Eva Owen, Roy Brown, and Billy Peters as the Dame. Interestingly enough the Regal was at the time the only live theatre in town. 1944 The Astoria, High Street becomes the Odeon. D-Day relic. The Pheonix, mulberry harbour one of 135 units that were built on the banks of the river Thames. This particular unit was one of several that were anchored in the Thames awaiting movement round to Dungeness on the Kent coastline, having broken away from its anchor the Phoenix ran aground & broke into 2 pieces where it has remained. This historic monument to World War 2 is still very visible form the shore line and one of Southend's markers showing the important role the town played during the war. Richard Montgomery August 1944. A liberty ship called the Richard Montgomery loaded with a cocktail tonnage of munitions broke it's back while at anchor in the Estuary just 5 miles from the Southend coast. This wrecks masts stick out of the water today, and due to it's cargo is clearly marked out for passing ships to avoid. The explosives on board are inspected on an annual basis, and naturally over time the load has shifted making it very unstable. A decision will need to be made in the future as to what to do with this site before it does it for them; it is expected if the load did explode it would create flooding issues for the closer coast of Sheerness but also Southend. Another ship attacked. On 20 September 1944 RFA War Nizam, a tanker, was bombed and damaged off Southend in the Thames Estuary. One of the crew was killed. Quads arrive. Southend Hospital notched up its first delivery of quads to the wife of a Westcliff airman, in December. Westcliff cosmetics. Mrs Pearce founded in 1944, Vivette Laboratories Ltd of Westcliff. Shoebury park opens. Once a series of sandpits, this site between Ness Road and Elm Road covering 20 acres, provides a fishing lake, playing fields and ornamental gardens. It was acquired by the Corporation in 1933 and turned into a public access park in 1944, it became a very popular attraction. The fishing lake is one of the flooded sandpits. 1945 9th July 1945 General Election. Southend Majority 5,721, Henry Channon Con 27,605, G. R. Sandison Lab 21,884, H. D. Tanner Lib 8,735. This General Election would see the Southend voters choosing for the last time a single seat. The next election Southend would be split in two Southend East and Southend West. Kids return. The last of the evacuated children returned to Southend on 11th July 1945. Others almost immediately since the major voluntary evacuation in 1942 had returned in dribs and drabs, but this was final retuning party, nearly in time for the end of the war. Dame Helen is born. 26th July 1945 in Chiswick. The first house she remembers living in was in Westcliff-on-Sea, when she was two or three years old, after the birth of her younger brother, who was named Peter Basil after his grandfather and great-great-grandfather. Mirren was the second of three children, born two years after her older sister Katherine ("Kate"). Mirren attended a Catholic girls' school, St Bernard's High School for Girls, in Milton Road. Dame Helen has criticised the town in her autobiography, but does remember her time working in Kursaal Amusement park, and to this day returns to her old school for prize giving. 2nd September. World War II ends. The end of the war allowed Southend to return to its' main function as a seaside resort. The town had abnormally suffered as did most other resorts around the country. The beaches had anti-tank blocks installed, housing and key hotels along with the pier had been requisitioned, and many homeless families from London sought out accommodation, along with returning town folk evacuated across the country. An emergency housing plan was thrown into operation and prefabs were the order of the day. New Town Clerk. Southend appointed a new Town Clerk on 1st October 1945. To see the town through the post-war years Archibald Glen provided the town some sterling service which resulted in 1971 with his achieving the ultimate accolade of the Honorary Freedom of the Town. Songwriter in Westcliff. Geoff Stephens one of the 60s most prolific British songwriters moved with his family to Westcliff where his parents set up a Guest House. Geoff went on to become a teacher before setting his sights on song-writing and providing such memorable songs in his career as 'The Crying Game' and 'There's a Kind of Hush'. Mayor step's down. Alderman William Miles OBE, JP. finally stepped down as Mayor on 9th November 1945. Stepping into the town's history as the longest serving Mayor for over six years, holding the post through the war years; also serving as Chief Magistrate. One of this Mayor's final acts was to formally retire the Mayor's Car a Rolls Royce (H J 1) that had not been in formal use since 1940, due to the war effort it was deemed inappropriate to have such a large vehicle in operation around the town. Stray dogs. Southend Police had a pound close to the Stadium in Sutton Road. In 1945 the police impounded 495 stray dogs. Southend's people. This excellent image right, is from Ian Yearsley's brilliant book Essex Events and clearly shows a VE Day celebration in full swing in Leigh-on-Sea. 1946 Jolly hockey sticks. Chalkwell Park became the focus of a Women's Hockey Festival in April. Jazzman is born. On 25th April 1946 Digby Fairweather, the world renowned Jazz musician was born in Rochford. Digby became a full-time jazzman in 1977 after twelve years as a qualified librarian in Southend-on-Sea. From 1973 he worked his way up as a part- timer through established bands including Hugh Rainey, Eggy Ley, Eric Silk, Keith Nichols, Ron Russell, Lennie Hastings and deputised regularly for Alex Welsh, recording his first album with Welsh's band in 1974. May. Presentation of Freedom of the Borough to Essex Regiment. Essex Regiment Given Freedom of the Town. The Freedom of the Town was extended to The Third East Anglian Regiment 16th/44th Foot. The regiment accepted and on 25th May 1946 they marched through the borough with baynets fixed, drums beating and colours flying. June - October. Visit of British and American Warships. The War is over now the hostilities had ended the town went back to its much preferred purpose as a top quality holiday location, it was not surprising therefore colourful posters started appearing on the railway stations around London attracting a public starved of of a good seaside break. Sickness in Southend. Post war the main issues around health in the town were as follows, these figures represent a report from 29th April: Scarlet Fever 27, Measles 69, Whooping Cough 33, Pneumonia 21, Jaundice 69, Dysentry 4, Erysipelas 4, Diptheria 3, Smallpox 1, Typhoid 1. Telephones increase. Post war telephone usage had never been so good with the number of lines increasing across the town to 28,726. Chalkwell Minstrel Stage returns. In efforts to return Southend back to a major seaside centre and shake off the war effort. The Minstrel Stage on Chalkwell Beach, removed in 1940, was rebuilt in 1946. The stage was a twin to the one on Marine Parade also called the Minstrel Stage, later to be renamed the Open Air Children's Theatre. These stages would provide music and entertainment for hoards of visitors and ensured the seafront offer was spread along the full stretch of the shoreline and not contained in one area. The Southend and District Baptist Union was formed in 1946, its inaugural celebrations being held on 9th October. It was voluntary union with no jurisdiction over individual constituent churches. In 1982 its catchment area was widened and with a new constitution it was reformed as the South-East Essex Baptist Fellowship with its first open meeting under this title held on 29 Oct. Newish buses for the town. A fleet of four buses were acquired from North Leeds to build up the current fleet at a cost of £350 each; this step was proposed to cope with the influx of trippers wanting to get life back to normal after the war. Going to the races. Post war greyhound racing was on the up and the stadium was providing regular fixtures; the Tote this year brought in a staggering £1,200,000. Panto time. The Palace Theatre this year hosted the town's main pantomime, Cinderella, for a period of three weeks, commencing 23rd December. 1947 Films International. The Civic News Theatre in the complex of the Talmage buildings began a rare treat for international film lovers care of the Southend Film Society the very best of British, Russian and French films were shown in March 1947. First industrial exhibition. Southend's Chamber of Trade needing to raise aspirations post war held the first Industrial `Southend and District Can Make it' exhibition, held at the Municipal College in the town from 12th to 19th April. Then 25 manufacturing businesses took part. June - September. Visit of British and American Warships. Southend Aerodrome reopens. Post wartime requisition, RAF Rochford was returned back into civilian hands in August. 1947 also saw something Southend would become much famous for in later years as in it's new hands the aerodrome hosted an international Air Rally. New Yacht Club formed. The Thames Estuary Yacht Club came to life in 1947, although not so new as it came about through an amalgamation of Nore and Westcliff Yacht Clubs. The Nore Club suffered a direct hit by a bomb during the war. While the Westcliff's HQ ship, Middlesex II, was laid up on Leigh Marshes. The works needed to return this back to use was beyond the club. Industrial 'Progress'. In the post war climate Southend Council was keen to improve economic development in Southend. 1947 saw Progress Road being built off the A127, close to the town's border; and the seeds were planted for the borough's first industrial estate. Which in it's time has hosted some of the town's most important employers including PMS, MK Electric and JEGS. This site is still considered to be very important in the town's future business plans. Wakering wants to join. Great Wakering applied to become part of the Borough of Southend-on-Sea in 1947, but nothing came of it. Old Leigh under threat. The authority at this time wanting to improve access to Southend was keen to flatten Old Leigh to allow a new Western Approach road to be built. Fortunately, enough public opposition stopped this plan moving forward and retaining Old Leigh and its charm to be enjoyed for the future. October. Official opening of the Municipal Hospital Extensions at Rochford by HRH The Duchess of Kent. Lapwater Hall demolished. November 1947 the demolisher’s took away a fine building that stood on the London Road, between Hadleigh Road and Burnham Road. Originally called Leigh Park House, a house dating back as far as 1750 when then it had almost fallen to a ruin, but was saved when sold to a Master Builder called Gilbert Craddock, who later turned out to be a renowned Highwayman Cutter Lynch. Art Gallery. After the setting up of the Art Gallery Sub-Committee of the Public Libraries & Museum Committee in 1928, it finally came to pass this year that Mr Walter G. Beecroft, solicitor of Leigh, offered to endow a building in Chalkwell Park as an Art Gallery and Cultural Centre. This was accepted by the Council, and it was intended to establish "The Beecroft Art Gallery" in Chalkwell Hall. This later was to be homed in a building on Station Road. 1948 National School, Southchurch closes, failed to meet requirement of modern education. New Yacht club. On May 17th 1948, Thorpe Bay Yacht Club was founded by a group of enthusiastic youngsters led by Kit Hobday. They met at his parents house “St. Helens” to form the first yacht club east of Southend pier. There were at the time only four other sailing clubs in the Borough, all west of the pier in rather restricted situations. The NHS Comes to Southend. In July 1948 local hospitals were being handed over to the Ministry of Health as part of the newly-formed NHS. This included: Rochford General Hospital later renamed Southend Municipal Hospital; Victoria Hospital and Balmoral Sanatorium, both in Westcliff and Shoebury Hospital, as well as Southend-on-Sea General Hospital which had been a thriving voluntary hospital since it opened in 1932. Panto time. The Palace Theatre this year hosted Aladdin. 1949 Ideal Homes in Kursaal. February saw a ten day exhibition at the Kursaal. Called the Ideal Homes and Trade Exhibition, the first day saw it being opened by Mr Fred Yule and Cdr Campbell from BBC fame. Over the 10 days this popular attraction attracted some 81,000 visitors and was deemed a success. A famous face helps pull in the crowds too, Sylvia Peters visited on the 17th February after touring the Ecko Factory to see where some of the countries electronic innovations were being made. One of the newspaper adverts at the time said: “For the housewife there will be gadgets of every description; cooking demonstrations will take place daily and visitors will see how to cook a complete meal in 15 minutes.” No doubt taking on board the limitations of rationing at the time. Famous architect dies. Sir Charles Nicholson, eminent architect responsible for developing some of the key churches in the town dies on 4th March 1949. He also resided in Porters for some time. New trains for the Pier. In 1949 the rolling stock was replaced with four new trains similar in design to the London Underground stock, built by AC Cars, of Thames Ditton, in Surrey. The stock was liveried in green and cream. The trains were inaugurated by the Mayor of London Lord Broadbridge. RAFA take cinema. The Star Cinema in West Street long closed and abandoned took on new residents in 1949, the Royal Air Force. The Ex service side were homeless and through the acquisition of the cinema were able to go in mob handed and clear it out in time for a grand opening of the new RAFA HQ during Battle of Britain week. TV celebrations. BBC TV programme 'Picture Page' put on a special New Year's Eve edition which featured Southend. Freddie Laker blazes a trail. Aviation Traders was established by Freddie Laker at Southend Aerodrome in 1949 and was one of many seeking to develop a successor to the Douglas DC-3 aircraft that had been so prominent during and after the Second World War. The outcome of their work was the ATL-90 Accountant that first flew on 9th July 1957. Factory fire. Prittlewell suffered a night time factory fire on Thursday 6th June when Goodwin’s Shopfitters was completed gutted in Rochford Road. Flu hits town. A Flu epidemic hit Southend in 1949, known as the Two Day Flu; the virus, thought to have originated in France was hitting the residents and many an event or production involving the mass meetings of people were cancelled. New attraction arrives. 1949 saw the arrival of the Golden Hind a replica ship built alongside the pier for the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike. Berlin Airlift. Southend Airport took on and important role in support of the Berlin Airlift. Providing landing space support maintenance and refuelling for the large transport aircraft. Movie star in town. A New Carnival Royalty meets Celebrity, on 22nd August 1949 Margaret Lockwood formally met the new Carnival Queen, Miss Barbara Murray at the Odeon. Steam boats work. It was reported that one and a quarter million people had used the steamboats from the end of the pier, and 5 million had used the pier. Southend renamed Eastport. Director Lewis Gilbert was in town through 1949 filming shots around Westcliff, Leigh and the Kursaal for his new film ‘Once a Sinner’ starring Pat Kirkwood and Jack Watling. Film Synopsis: In the seaside resort of Eastport, engaged bank clerk John Ross (Jack Watling) comes to the aid of barmaid Irene James (Patricia Kirkwood) who is squabbling with another man on the seafront. Ross becomes enraptured by Irene and the pair are quickly married, but unbeknown to John she’s a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who was the mistress of petty-crook Jimmy Smart (Sydney Tafler). Ross is offered a transfer at the bank as they correctly suspect his wife is involved in passing forged bank notes. The counterfeiter, menacing Charlie (Stuart Latham), decides that Jimmy must be silenced and although he is shot and wounded, the injury isn’t fatal. Meanwhile, Ross tracks down his and attempts to make a fresh start in a nearby town. Hospital burns. An unusual sight was seen in 1949 when the Southend Corporation instructed the Fire Brigade to burn down a hospital. Not just any hospital this was the Isolation Hospital on Sutton Road used for Small Pox sufferers right up until 1946. Since better medical management had been adopted the building had been left to decay, so to eradicate any possible infection remaining in the building the site was cleared using fire to destroy it completely. Panto time. Palace Theatre hosts Mother Goose.

Southend Timeline Southend-on-Sea © 2009 - 2021 All Rights Reserved

1940 - 1949
Tavern in the Town
Crosby Road Westcliff-on-Sea
Tony Holland
St Bernard’s School
Bob Jack
Essex Regiment
Thorpe Bay Yacht Club
Sylvia Peters
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