Timeline
1950 The Truculent. A terrible accident happened in the estuary on January 12, 1950, when the submarine "Truculent" plunged to the depths after being rammed by the Swedish tanker "Divina." The first alarm was given by a liner forty five minutes after the collision, to the effect that they were pulling men from the water, but most of the seventy nine men on board had gone down with the submarine. It was not even then that the extent of the emergency was realised and although "Greater London" was one of the first rescue boats on the scene most of the officers and ratings had already left the vessel by the Davis escape apparatus, alas only to be swept away by the fast flowing ebb tide. The Greater London continued the search for survivors for nearly twenty four hours without success, sixty men from the "Truculent" had perished. East or West. 23rd February 1950 Southend was split politically, the lines had been drawn and the town would never be the same again. Southend East or Southend West? Well this General Election saw the arrival through the ballott box of Stephen McAdden who loyally served the town until 1979 when he died while in office. In Southend West Henry 'Chips' Channon was returned. General Election, Southend West, Henry Channon Con 34,100, E. C. Hutchinson Lab 15,354, H. MacCullum-Scott Lib 9,907, Majority 18,746. Southend East, Sir Stephen McAdden Con 20,395, R. J. Minney Labour 18,230, J. G. Runciman Liberal 4,616, Majority 2,165. New restaurant for Pier Head. At the Pier Head, a restaurant called the Dolphin is built out of the scrap and timber left by the Navy. This joined the other main buildings such as the Sun Deck Theatre, the Solarium Café, as well as amusements and a Hall of Mirrors. The old Crowstone moved. To mark the end of the River Thames and the start of the Thames Estuary is a Crowstone, which is located just off the Chalkwell Beach. The original had been placed in this location in 1837. Naturally over time the stone had eroded and needed replacing so in 1950, the original was moved to Priory Park, replaced with a new stone. Eastwood Park opens. Adjacent to Rayleigh Road and Brooklands Avenue, a new park opens to provide the expanding population in this area with a green lung. The park covers 16 acres and offers the local community a range of sporting activities as well as ornamental shrub borders. General Election Year. The Kursaal due to its forward thinking of placing a teleprinter in the Arcade were able to receive the General Election results live. Thousands of Londoners were fascinated. The BBC also took an interest with Richard Dimbleby, Brian Johnston and Barry Edgar commentators at the first ever live broadcast from Southend. 2 ½ Million people are using the Pier. Carnival Court. 1950s Carnival Court was represented by Queen Jean Briscoe, who worked in the admin department of a well known local works, her deputy Queen Barbara Murray (19) was already well known to Southend's carnival fans having reigned as Queen the year before. Beryl Joad, Joyce Kimpton, Mildred Moyser and Hazel Cox assisted as Maids of Honour. George Warwick Deeping dies. Deeping was a prolific novelist and short story writer. His most famous novel is Sorrell and Son (1925). Born in Southend (1877) in Prospect House Pier Hill. He is honoured and remembered with a grand memorial in St John The Baptist churchyard. The underpass joining Victoria Circus with Southchurch Road is named in his honour 'The Deeping'. 1951 June. Visit of Swedish Naval Training Squadron. Ekco becomes largest employer. The Ekco factory by now was employing 5,000 people in the town. Situated off Priory Crescent this impressive factory became essential during the war years. The Kursaal has a flyer. Since 1926 the carnival has delighted millions of people through the years as it sparkled along the Southend seafront. Keen to start every carnival procession with an iconic float the Kursaal Flyer was built in 1951, based on an American steam train. It quickly became a much loved symbol of the carnival and today is still fondly remembered. Southend Population Reaches 151,000. Air crash. Monday September 10th 1951: RAF Gloster Meteor F8 VZ519 of 84 Sqn, flown by Pilot Officer Lionel Millikin broke up in mid air over Westcliff, the fuselage crashing onto Hainault Avenue; 88 Beedell Avenue was destroyed, wreckage was strewn across Ramaz Drive & Brightwell Avenue as well, the Pilot was attempting to get to Southend Airport when the aircraft broke up. His body was found 20 minutes after the crash still strapped in his seat. An engine was recovered near Southend Pier. Those killed on the ground were: Mr S. Smith & Mrs A. M. Gilbert with Mrs F. Sydenham passing away later in Southend General Hospital. The accident also injured Mr H. Duck. The aircraft had previously been grounded for repairs to stress damage it had incurred. First youth Mayor. Southend has always considered the opinions of the community as important. To demonstrate this the Local Council in 1951 instigated the very first Youth Mayor, Evelyn Cline. 1952 1952. Polio epidemic strikes the UK with a local source of infection identified as a seafront paddling pool. The hospitals quickly fill with the Isolation Ward at Westcliff Hospital being the main ward for Children suffering from the disease. Laurel & Hardy in Southend. The Odeon in the High Street became the venue for one the world's most famous comedy duos. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrived in town in August 1952 and their performance is still fondly remembered by a legion of fans. Guinness time. The Festival of Britain designed to lift the gloom post war had a marvellous exhibition from the famous Irish brewing company, The Guinness Clock. This mechanical marvel delighted thousands and in September 1952, two travelling versions toured the country one of which arrived in Southend and stood on the cliff side of Western Esplanade. End of an era. Old Leigh in 1952 lost an iconic building the Constable House, more recently becoming known as Juniper's Cottage due to a much later inhabitant of it. The house was one of the larger properties in Leigh and renowned due to the occupancy of Thomas Constable, who was the uncle of the famous artist John. It is well known John would stay in Leigh while his wife was ill and it was thought a good dose of sea air would do her no harm. The house was built in 1589, but under modern construction standards it was considered unstable and subsequently demolished. Mike's Boatyard took it's place. Roots Hall football ground starts to be built. Not for the first time Southend United were due back to the Roots Hall site. 1952 saw the plans put into action to turn the area into a state-of-the- art football ground which at its time would be one of the most advanced in the Football League. 1953 The trolley bus service ended. Peter John Taylor (born 3 January 1953 in Southend-on-Sea) is a football manager. He has previously managed Southend United, Gillingham, Leicester City, Brighton, Hull City, Crystal Palace and Stevenage Borough, as well as having two spells as head coach of the England under-21 team and also taking charge of the England national football team on a caretaker basis in 2000. The floods. Compared to Canvey Island Southend got off lightly with the infamous floods on 31st January 1953. The Kursaal flooded, along with the Thorpedene area, Southchurch Park and the Gasworks. Several people lost their lives at the squatter camp at Wakering Common. The areas that did flood are still of concern today. Prospect Place along the seafront is demolished after irreparable damage caused by flooding. March. Opening of the new Crematorium at Sutton Road. English Draughts Championship tournament held at Municipal College in Victoria Circus, 26-30 May, 1953. Southend's own Queen Elizabeth. Southend Carnival gained its very own Queen Elizabeth this year; she was crowned at the Odeon in Southend High Street by two movie stars Britain's very own Bill Owen and the ever youthful Muriel Pavlow. The Queen, Elizabeth Climpson was from Thorpe Bay. The 21st King's cup race. Keeping the world from forgetting air racing completely was the British National Air Races, at Southend-on-Sea, 20th June 1953. Three qualifying races, each for three laps around the 10-mile course, led to the King’s Cup Race. The 12 finalists flew six laps, with Pat Fillingham winning in a deHavilland Chipmunk at 142 mph. W.P. Bowles was second in a Miles Messenger at 133 mph, and D. R. Robertson was third at 115 mph in a deHavilland Moth Minor. HMS Vanguard visits. To celebrate the coronation in 1953 HMS Vanguard visited Southend and was moored just off the pier. The warship was commissioned in 1946 and decommissioned in 1960, and although she had an uneventful service, she was used to convey the royal family to South Africa in her first year. Key 53 moments. Opening of the Crowstone House Old Persons' Home by the Minister for Health. New Pier arch. To celebrate the coronation in 1953, Southend built a new arch on entry to pier. This remained in place until the recent work on Pier Hill took place which dragged this area into the modern era with a new viewing tower and Pier Entrance construction. Along with the raising of the Pier bridge itself which claimed a number of tourist double deckers in its time. It's Guinness time again. The ever popular Guinness Clock returned to Western Esplanade to be part of the Autumn illuminations. The clock on its travels would cause some interest as it was transported on a low loader, an unusual sight to view as it passed by, but much in need of protection from low bridges. Through Southend a meticulous route needed to be planned to ensure it could reach its destination in one piece. The Beecroft opens. Walter Beecroft needed a new home for an ever expanding collection of prolific art depicting the local area and beyond. This building on Station Road, opened on 9th October 1953, courtesy of the then Mayor, Mr Alderman E. N. Selby. This fine collection of art included a rare Constable, and the gallery now provides a home for touring exhibitions and also hosts a recognised costume collection often referred to by TV producers wanting an authentic look for their dramas. The Beecroft was always a temporary solution, and today looks forward to transferring the collection one day, to a purpose built museum. 1954 The Gaumont burns. The centre of town came to a near standstill when the Gaumont in Southchurch Road, opposite the Talza Arcade went up in flames on 11th February 1954. It took 2 hours to get the fire under control, and as the firemen dampened down the destroyed stage area, so workmen were drafted in to repair all the damage with cleaners mopping up after them so they could open on the Friday with an Alan Ladd flick. The Royal yacht Britannia passes the Pier with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh aboard on their way home from a commonwealth tour. Laker flies to Calais. The Channel Air Bridge was set up in 1954, Freddie Laker's second airline venture, flying cars and their owners in Bristol Freighters from Southend Airport to Calais. Tennis star is born. John Lloyd (born 27 August 1954, in Leigh-on-Sea) is a former professional tennis player and commentator for BBC. During his career, he reached one Grand Slam singles final and won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. He was the first husband of the former top woman player Chris Evert and the younger brother of the former British Davis Cup captain David Lloyd. Demon developer born. 12th October, Cliff Stanford was born training as an accountant and went onto develop Demon Internet one of the original internet service providers for individual subscribers. Cliff went on to develop Redbus Investments. UFO spotted over Southend. 14th October 1954 while flying over the Thames Estuary near Southend-on-Sea, at about 4.15pm, Flight Lieutenant James Saladin ,who was piloting a Gloster Meteor Mark VIII, spotted three objects approaching him. Two of these objects, one gold and one silver, flew to either side of his aircraft, and one directly in his flight path. He submitted a report of the incident to his airbase. 1955 Actor celebrated. A. E. Matthews an actor who is today fondly remembered for being able to smoothly move his leading man character from the silver screen to the English stage. On 1st March 1955, the Palace Theatre in Westcliff celebrated the actor's longevity with the traditional Hollywood style of imprinting a hand and foot print in cement. Shoebury lose cinema. 5th March 1955 became a significant date for Shoebury residents as the Palace Cinema on Ness Road closed for good. A sign of the times with the increase of home entertainment on the rise and so many cinemas competing for an ever decreasing audience. The Palace however did in its heyday provide suitable cinematic facilities not only for the residents but also the troops based at the nearby barracks. The building is still in place but due for redevelopment, although the façade is listed and should be protected. Education-on-Sea. At 4pm On Friday 18th March 1955, the Minister of Education, The Rt. Hon. Sir David McAdam Eccles, P.C., K.C.V.O., M.P., joined local dignitaries at Belfairs High School to open eight schools in the County Borough of Southend-on-Sea. Like Father Like Son. Edward Cecil Jones, MBE, MC, JP gained another accolade on 20th April, when he was made a Freeman of the Borough. His father, Robert A Jones was made a Freeman in 1919. Cecil as he preferred to be known carried on the family line as a Philanthropist. He was submerged within the local community leading many organisations from the South East Essex Branch of the NSPCC, Chairman of the Southend Branch of the Royal British Legion as well as working with the youth of the town, and this is just a flavour of the amount of work he offered to the community. He is still remembered today specifically with the naming of a local school in his honour Cecil Jones College. When he died the Jones family line came to an end, and again he was honoured by being buried by his Father in the grounds of Prittlewell Priory in Priory Park. Constance Leyland takes the role of Mayor in 1955 and in doing so becomes a noteworthy person in Southend's Civic history, as the first woman to do so. Royal Visit to Carnival Gardens. The Duchess of Kent opens the new bungalows, in Leigh-on-Sea, for the elderly on 17th May 1955. Funded through the Southend Carnival Association. New Lifeboat. The Royal visit extended when HRH The Duchess of Kent came to name the new lifeboat. Another generous gift of the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund, "Greater London II (Civil Service No. 30)" was a 46ft, 9in. Watson cabin lifeboat, built by Groves & Gutteridge at Cowes. She cost £32,163. Southend United move into Roots Hall. The Shrimpers this year returned to their original home at Roots Hall. But during the early 50s they were keen to move from their Grainger Road site. The council now owned Roots Hall, which had become a bit of a rubbish tip, but with the help of the Blue's loyal supporters, Roots Hall was soon to become a superb stadium that shone above many others at that time. Today the team still play there but with planning permission sealed a new stadium complex at Fossetts Farm is on the cards. The New Strand in Warrior Square becomes The Essoldo. New Southend Football Team. This year would see the formation of a new football team in the town. Southend Manor FC was born, courtesy of the hard work and dedication of Gil and Doris Medcalf, who started the club up for teams aged 10-11. Today the club plays in the Essex Senior League and its home ground is in Southchurch Park. Southend Airport pens terminal building. The ongoing rise of Southend Airport as a commercial venture demanded a civil style terminal building; moving the airpoirt away from its not too distant past as a battle station. MP John Profumo did the honours in opening the building. But a mere two years later the facility due to the upturn in air travel had become too small for its original purpose. 1956 FA Cup Match to remember. January 28th will be remembered long and hard by many Shrimper fans. The fourth round of the FA Cup and Manchester City made the journey to Roots Hall, the first 1st Division team to play at the stadium since it opened September before. The game will be remembered not because of the result as Southend did lose 0-1; but the heroic, amazing skills of one particular goalkeeper called Bert Trautmann. Southend battled and struck at the City defence, but every shot was magnificently saved. Manchester City went on to win the FA Cup beating Birmingham City 3-1 at Wembley, no doubt thanks to that incredible goalkeeper. Ekco goes portable. The Ekco factory in Southend produced the very first truly portable televisions, that could run from batteries or the mains. The Ekcovision is today on display at the Science Museum in London. Peter Pan's Playground. The sunken gardens by 1956 had been converted into the Peter Pan's Playground. Southend High School for Girls opens. Sea Rescue Patrol on Patrol. 1956 saw the arrival of a new active division of the Southend Police; the Sea Rescue Patrol was a fully equipped life saving service that would patrol the seafront on land and water looking for day-trippers who may get into trouble. Telephones. The Speaking Clock was introduced to Southend this year as the number of telephones reached 62,553. New Manager at Roots Hall. Long term manager Harry Warren left the Blues this year to take up the reigns at Coventry City. New appointee Eddie Perry would lead the team for four years. The Gaumont goes...Progress particularly in entertainment would see the picking off of most if not all of the classic cinemas in the town. On 20th October 1956 it was the turn of the Gaumont in Southchurch Road. The last film to be shown was Stanley Baker's 'A Hill in Korea' supported by Kenneth More's 'Raising a Riot' Many people today naturally will not give a second glance to the block that takes it's footprint now, right opposite the side entrance to the Victoria Shopping centre, or just down from Barclays Bank, mainly due to its lack of character. The Gaumont, however, was full of style and oozed everything you might expect from a cinema of this era. The Cliffs first slip. The area of the cliffs below the bandstand and the wider area around has been prone to landslips - the earliest happening in 1956 with others following in 1962, 1964 and 1969. None of these being as significant as the slip that finally caused the area to be sealed off in November 2002. The cause is of great debate but it is hoped to be finally sealed up with the building of the New Museum. November. The famous sugar cake (Wedding Cake) bandstand beloved by millions who knew Southend decades ago, ended its place of entertainment. 11th December, First electric train to reach Southend under its own power arrives at Southend Victoria Station. The last steam train departs Victoria. It was a sad day on 30th December 1956 when the last scheduled steam train left Southend Victoria Station. It was certainly the end of an era, particularly for a town dominated by no less than 9 rail stations. The next day New Years Eve the switch was flipped and the line was electrified. 1957 Dairy farm. On 1st June 1957 Southend Town Centre hosted a Dairy Farm set up just off the High Street and organised by the National Milk Publicity Council. Designed to encourage the use of more British dairy products in everyday diets. Opening of Schools. Education in Southend became wider and more modernised than ever before with the opening of Southend High School for Girls and St Christopher's School on Friday 14th June. The formalities presided over by Sir Edward Boyle Bt., MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Ministry of Education. Opening of Pantile House home for elder people Bandstand toppled. The Wedding Cake Bandstand that had sat on the cliffs since 1907 was demolished this year. It was felt the style of entertainment this mode of stand provided was not akin to today's entertainment offer. In its place was built a Band Stage a more conventional podium for entertainments and of course the much enjoyed Miss Lovely Competition. In later years, this decision was reversed and the traditional bandstand returned until the cliff slip of 2003, where upon it was moved to Priory Park. Top town. Long before 'Britain's Got Talent', the BBC ran during the 50s a TV show called 'Top Town'. Southend was very much involved and during the early part of 1957, the council advertised for acts in the town to come forward for auditions; these could tumbling acts, dance duo's and acrobats those thought good enough would go forward for the main TV show in the September. College extension built. A new building appeared in London Road in 1957; a £175,000 contemporary building providing a four storey block with workshops to the rear. The need for more educative services was to accommodate the extending offer from the Municipal College in Victoria Circus and would allow a department of engineering as well a a lecture theatre and technical laboratories. Southend United beat Liverpool 2-1 in a 3rd Round FA Cup tie, but lose to Birmingham City in the next round. Celebrity Carnival attendance. Southend Carnival was and is always respected across the country as one of the most enjoyed and well attended events. It is of no surprise therefore that through the years it managed to acquire celebrity patronage. In August 1957 Miss Patti Lewis did the honours at the balloon release, her credits include TV appearances on '6.5 Special', 'The Jack Jackson Show', and 'A Show Called Fred'. County Championship. Essex v Nottinghamshire, Southchurch Park, Southend-on-Sea 14,15, 16 August 1957 (3-day match) Pier Pavilion up for discussion. The pier, home to a large pavilion near the shore end was becoming the hot topic of discussion in 1957. The buildings were in a bad state of repair and now was the opportunity for the Council to consider a modern approach for a new generation of day trippers. The first consideration was to turn the area into an Ice Rink which was gathering much favour among the public, and formed many an agenda item at council meetings during the year. As we know the outcome was to be a bowling alley. Channon's Knighthood. The New Year's Honours list delivered a knighthood for Henry 'Chips' Channon, in recognition for his 21 years service as an MP for Southend West. At the time Sir Henry considered the award more applicable to Southend. His political career has seen him in high position assisting Rab C. Butler then Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Civic site being planned. This year the council spent many hours discussing the way forward for the development of the Civic site in Victoria Avenue. To include a new Town Hall, Municipal College, Police Station and Courts. One decision was made and that was to start on the college area first at a cost of £145,000. December. Opening of Pantile House Old Persons’ Home by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, R. H. M. Thompson. 1958 Royal visit. Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, flew to Southend on 9th July 1958, to visit the Lifstan Club for boys, attached to Southchurch parish church. The boys had built their headquarters in the Rectory Meadow - the building is still being used by the Scouts and the boys' club have bigger headquarters in Lifstan Way. The Gaumont goes. The Gaumont Cinema a 5,000 seater is sold to the town and almost immediately demolished and the site redeveloped. This stunning cinema could have been the answer to the town's under representation towards conferencing, which other seaside towns were now leaning towards. With the Cliffs Pavilion now becoming the preferred option for this kind of facility it was no surprise to see the town send in the bulldozers. Stadium fire. The Southend Stadium in Sutton Road suffered a bad fire this year in the grandstand. The stadium supported the town with annual festivals and firework displays and also maintained a full greyhound programme. Opening of the Municipal College extension. Post 16 education was becoming a major need in the town which led to the opening of the extension by Sir Hugh Beaver KBE, in Victoria Avenue. Town show. 1958 saw the arrival in the town of a new concept of event. The Southend Show would be staged every year in Priory Park and would extol the town's virtues and would build a programme of Military Bands and horses, whippets and fireworks for the benefit mainly of the residents as the event would stretch into the evenings over a weekend at the end of the summer season. 'Chips' dies. Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon MP for Southend East dies in the seat on 7th October 1958 aged 61. A hugely respected MP locally whose profile enabled him to promote the town continuously. His respect was clear when his son Paul Channon was voted in to take over the seat maintaining the family line. Panto season. The Palace Theatre was the venue for the 1958 Pantomime Dick Whittington. This version by John Crocker starred Jerry Jerome as the 'Sarah the Cook'. The support cast included Cynthia Morey as Dick, Diana Chadwick as Alice and Frankie Murray as Idle Jack. Also on stage appeared the Dennis Coleman Singers. In the supporting cast is listed William Treacher, later to become more famous as Arthur in Eastenders. 1959 Top town. Southend became the stars of the small screen courtesy of the BBC. The programme Top Town pitched Southend against Plymouth on 19th February; a variety show that paraded the best of the town's variety acts, broadcast from the Kursaal, which then were judged by Civic heads from across the country, Southend won by 16-9 votes. Southend's acts included the singing old age pensioners, the Nankivells; the cockney barrow girl, Vera Dorian; and fire-eater Douglas Chadwick; the Four 'J's; the Two Merricks; a trampoline act; and roller skating act Les Patineurs. The competition would play through the year. The Plaza Southchurch closes. Corona loses it's fizz. A sad day for Leigh as another Cinema shuts up shop on 4th April 1959. Intense competition and lack of custom resulted in a number of them across the borough closing. The last films to be shown included Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Pier struck by fire. Fire destroying the land-end pavilion. The latest tragedy to strike the world's longest pleasure pier would see some 300 people needing to be rescued from the structure as they were cut off. The fire took hold on the early evening on 7th October, a time still popular for many seaside visitors who would come and marvel at the illuminations. Fortunately the shore- end pavilion was not occupied when it caught alight, those trapped were at the pier head. With the tide in those at the end needed to walk perilously towards the fire for nearly 1 mile before climbing down the side of the iron pier onto waiting boats. The many thousand of visitors along the seafront then were provided added entertainment to the illuminations as fire brigades from across Essex took part it bringing the fire under control. The estimated cost of the fire was £100,000. Civic Centre site takes shape. The grand plans for a new Civic Area were moving apace, the plans were moving from paper to scale models which were put on display for the public to view. Beside a new 14 storey Civic Centre, a new police station and court house were planned, also to the north east area just off Carnarvon Road a new technical college was already well on the way to full completion expected in September. History gone. Daines Farm built around 1400 in Southchurch is demolished. Lighting up roots. Roots Hall started the 1959-60 season with brand new floodlights and an extended main stand. The club benefited from the ground improvements courtesy of the supporters club financing the work. The new floodlights now means Saturday games would kick off at 3.15pm and now the ground can also cope with 7.30pm evening kick-offs. Southend's new MP. Due to the death of the much liked Henry 'Chips' Channon in October 1958, a by-election was held in January 1959 and at the amazing age of just 23 and fresh out of university Southend West adopted the latest in the dynasty that had been holding the seat since 1912. Paul Channon was favoured by the town's electorate, later to become Lord Kelvedon; his grandfather Rupert Guinness held the seat for the first time and family connections would see it kept in the family. The by-election was hounded on the day by thick fog which probably reduced the turn out to just 42.5%. New access to Old Leigh. 1959 saw the building of a new fly over bridge to take vehicles directly into Old Leigh High Street. With the closing of the original Leigh Rail Station and moving it further along westwards meant the level crossing that gave access to Old Leigh would be removed.

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

1950 - 1959
Warwick Deeping
Old Crowstone
Air Crash 10th September
Roots Hall
Peter Taylor
HMS Vanguard
Coronation Arch
Beecroft
John Lloyd
Cliff Stanford
Cement Plaque
Edward Jones
Carnival Gardens Leigh-on-Sea
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