1970 The old Rinkeries Skating Rink/Strand cinema/Essoldo cinema/Keddies Supa-Save Supermarket building, Warrior Square is demolished. Westcliff pool welcomes dolphins. The Westcliff Pool for many years had been the place to go to for a swim on Western Esplanade, midnight splash parties being a particular activity. The late 60s however, and the tourist pound going overseas meant Southend's best known treasures had to diversify or die. The Westcliff Pool was no different and during 1970 it be came a Dolphinarium. It did not last, and the pool became built over to be what is now the casino. A swimmer is born. Mark Foster, born on 12th May 1970 in Southend became a successful British swimmer, further recognised with Mark having the honour of carrying the flag and leading out 'Team GB' at the Opening Ceremony of the Chinese Olympics in 2008. Shoeburyness High School opens. Fire hits seafront. Huge gales set off problems along Marine Parade on the seafront, 9th September 1970 creating a large fire which destroyed a few buildings and damaging others including the Criterion and the Ivy House pubs. Keymed arrives. Keymed, one of Southend's more successful businesses is formed. To be mentioned as one of the top fifty companies in the country. KeyMed has made an important mark on Southend not least due to its continual support in road safety measures across the Borough. Southend Stadium makes TV history. The long gone stadium off Sutton Road made a name for itself in the sport of Greyhound racing in 1970. Due to the foresight of installing a brilliant lighting system, the races were able to run at night. The BBC picked up on this and broadcast the first ever colour transmission from Southend. The race was a heat of the BBC TV Trophy won by Hi Diddle who went on to win the final a week later at White City Manchester. 1971 Government announce Maplin Sands would become the site for London’s third airport. Sci-Fi writer born. Jonathan Clements born in Leigh-on-Sea on 9th July 1971 and brought up in Prittlewell, is a writer of sci-fi and much more besides. In 2005 he scribed a Dr Who story that brought him back to his roots, in South Essex. Army farewell. July 1971 saw 36 Regiment leave Shoeburyness for the last time, the Regiment was the very last Gunner Unit at Horseshoe Barracks. An MP is born. James Dudderidge, born on 26th August 1971, and married Kathryn (Katy) Thompson in May 2004 in St Albans. They lived in Southend-on-Sea; with their sons Tom and Henry. He is a keen supporter of Southend United, and was elected to the seat of Rochford and Southend East in 2005, after Sir Teddy Taylor stepped down. Beverley's final flight. One of Southend Aircraft Museum's latest acquisitions flew into the airport on 8th October 1971. This Blackburn Beverley, a magnificent aircraft, would become the jewel in the crown for the collection, but the final flight for this old bird was a sight not to be missed. When the museum finally packed up, the Beverley was dismantled for scrap. New hotel. The northern edges of Southend saw the opening of a new hotel, the Essex County Hotel in Aviation Way threw open its doors. Modelled on a motel with external chalets as rooms, but inside the main building high calibre functions suites and restaurants. Civic Fountain erected. Some people could say Southend is lacking public art, but in 1971 finally completed in 1972, an unusual fountain was erected within the Civic area of Victoria Avenue. Designed by sculptor William Mitchell and executed in black concrete and glass fibre to the cost around £8,500 the piece depicts the borough's coat of arms. At the time much debate was had about misuse of public funds but today it stands proud if nothing else symbolising the end of this massive new Civic build. Southend Hospital expands. Tower block opened by HRH Princess Anne. Children’s Centre opened. Municipal College meets its end. Some loved this old building that had sat in it's central Victoria Circus position since 1902. With the advances and demands of education in the town, new larger buildings were needed, the schools were moving to the outskirts. The bulldozer went in and took away this magnificent establishment in 1971. In it's place today is the Odeon cinema. Decimalisation. Carnival this year took advantage of the change in UK coinage to prompt revellers to throw there old coins into the carnival buckets. Panto time. 1972 season at the Palace Theatre would see the return of Mother Goose, with Leigh singer Suzanne Heath. Meanwhile, over at the Cliffs Pavilion panto time was taken over by Cinderella. 1972 New Museum. The Historic Aircraft Museum in Aviation Way first came to the public attention with a grand opening on 26th May 1972 by Air Marshall Sir Harry Burton, KCB, CBE, DSO, RAF an important man in military circles as the Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Air Support Command, RAF. The opening was a tribute to the few local enthusiasts who volunteered their time and a company pulled together by like minded business men. The museum for one reason or another collapsed, in May 1983 the collection was either auctioned off or destroyed. School fire. During Guy Fawkes weekend St Christopher's (Special) School was almost completely destroyed by fire. The Ritz gets a full house. 29 July 1972, The Ritz Cinema becomes a Top Rank Bingo Hall. It played its last film as a cinema this year, the film 'Doomwatch'. Hamlet Court Junior School flattened. The final years of Hamlet Court County School. In 1972 the Junior School element, which was the section which faced onto the London Road and Hamlet Court Road junction was torn down, and in the July it was sanctioned to become a car park. The infants school to the rear, continued on until 1984, when this went too. Many plans came forward for this site including an Adventure Playground, retirement flats and a YMCA hostel, fortunately for Hamlet Court Road as a shopping centre the car park expanded and houses shot up to the rear of the footprint. The final school building on this site was claimed by the bulldozer in 1990. Fire at the Kursaal. The Kursaal heyday was becoming a distant memory and key incidents during its decline made the decision to sell up a lot easier for the owners, not least when a key fire took hold at the amusement park on 15th August, during the summer holidays. Town's musical prowess featured at the Royal Albert Hall. Nearly 700 performers took over the Royal Albert Hall in May. They rendered a varied programme of choral and instrumental work before an audience of 3000. The chief guest was Sir W. D. Pile, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and Science. Involved were Southend's Youth Orchestra, Southend Boys' Choir and a Junior Youth Orchestra as well as the very popular Summer Music School. New School opens. The eastern area of the town welcomed a new school to take care of the younger students in the community. Bournes Green Infants opened with a flourish in September, joining its older Junior school which opened in 1967. Southchurch Library opens. Southchurch library was not always at Lifstan Way. Southchurch Hall library transferred to new premises in Lifstan Way, opened on the 9th September 1972. Fire at the Alex. November 1972 the Alexandra Yacht Club, perched up on the cliff looking out over Western Esplanade, suffered a dreadful blow when an electrical fault behind the bar caused the most terrible fire. The steward saw smoke coming from the clubhouse and called the fire brigade, as they opened the front door the whole lot went up and it was very lucky that no one was hurt. Many of the club’s treasures miraculously survived. RBS set up operations in Southend. Originally called Access a credit card combining the might of RBS, Nat West, Midland and Lloyds; brought about to challenge Barclaycard. There home of choice was in the old Ekco building on Priory Crescent. Of course now, the call centres in Southend look totally different, with Lloyds accommodated in a modern block in Southchurch Road, RBS are in modern facilities off the A127. The Nat West block on Eastern Esplanade and Priory Crescent building have since been demolished. New jazz band forms. The traditional jazz band, Ponjo's Stompers, was formed in 1972 by bassist, Peter Morris, from the ashes of the defunct Ray Elliott Jazz Band, and quickly gained popularity by combining 'hot' jazz with entertainment. In 1974 the band started weekly Sunday night concerts at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea. These continued for over 10 years, to be followed for a further 5 years of Sunday nights at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea. Many jazz luminaries played with the band: Digby Fairweather, Humphrey Lyttelton, Wild Bill Davison, Mike Cotton, Monty Sunshine, Kenny Davern, Charlie Galbraith, Bob Kerr, Kenny Ball, Hugh Crozier, Martin Litton, Maxine Daniels and Ken Sims, to name but a few. 1973 The Cricketer's haunted. This year saw an interesting episode in the history of the much loved Westcliff pub The Cricketer's. On 2nd January a mentally deranged man set fire to himself in the pub bar, this set off a series of unexplained ghostly happenings in the pub, furniture was found upturned and things found where they shouldn't be. It was thought the trigger event awoke a poltergeist, the pub underwent a redecoration and the spirit disappeared as fast as it arrived and has not been seen or heard of since. Dixons closed. Not to be mistaken for the electrical store, J. L. Dixons was established in 1913, and really made a mark as a full scale department store in 30s. But it all came to and end in 1973, positioned in the spot currently occupied by W. H. Smiths. New Shopping Centre opens. The Hammerson development, the Victoria Shopping Centre completed in March 1973. The first of the book end shopping centres to arrive in the High Street, replacing the Talmage Buildings and the fondly remembered Talza Arcade. Queen's fire. The Cricketer's was not the only Westcliff venue to suffer a significant fire. The Queen's Hotel a proud building at the bottom of Hamlet Court Road caught alight on 1st August. Kursaal Amusement Park closes. Holidaymakers abandoned the traditional seaside destination for warmer climates abroad; as a consequence the famous Kursaal Amusement Park became a victim. In its heyday it was one of the UK's biggest attractions, alas in the 70s with the decline of visitors the park became tired. One of its last ride operators was a young Helen Mirren who heralds from the town. Although the park closed, the Kursaal buildings remained open, although the offer was limited and somewhat disappointing to the returning day-tripper remembering the site in its glory days. they too eventually closed and the whole site was put on the market. Kursaal Flyers formed. A pop and country music band formed in Southend in 1973, who "bridged the gap between pub rock and power pop." Savage Garden musician born. Daniel Jones (born 22nd July 1973 in Southend) is a musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his part in the hugely popular Australian pop duo Savage Garden, whose international hit singles included the songs "I Want You," "To the Moon and Back," "Truly Madly Deeply." Since Savage Garden, Jones has launched his own production company Meridien Musik and recording studio Level 7 Studios and now works with various new, young Australian artists. Leigh Regatta revived. Old Leigh received a shot in the arm in 1973 when the Regatta was revived. Originally conceived as an event in 1900, but had flagged over the years. Today it is as strong as ever and attracts international attention. New RC Junior School. St Helen's RC Primary School opened replacing the old school in St Helen's Road, Westcliff. Town demoted. Southend had enjoyed county borough status since 1914. It was with some disappointment therefore that it was demoted to a District status on 12th December 1973. 1974 New Library opens. 20th March 1974 saw John Ruggles-Brise the Lord Lieutenant of Essex opening the new Central Library in Victoria Avenue. This excellent modern new facility joined a string of buildings that would transform the area into a gateway for the town. The cost to the public purse was £670,000 for the building and £90,000 in furniture and equipment. Southend status change. Southend lost its County Borough status at the end of 1973. The town demoted to District status on 1st April 1974. Libraries, Education, the Police and some other services were taken over by Essex County Council. Maplins Airport not popular. Southend Council had been considering for a number of years the benefits of developing an airport on Maplin Sands. 1974 saw them decry the enormous environmental issues that could result from such a project. Alan Sorrell dies. Southend lost one of its truly inspiring historical artists in December. Alan Sorrell had his work featured in many guides across the UK as well as postcards. His work is recognised on a national basis and he has featured regularly in the Tate, Royal Academy and Imperial War Museum. Sorrell in his 70s was travelling in a car in Westcliff when it was involved in a road traffic accident. Plane crash. In October a near miss for 100 passengers and crew occurred when a DC6B aircraft crashed on take-off at Southend Airport. The four engined airliner skidded along the runway after the nose-wheel collapsed. The plane was taking day shoppers back to Antwerp when the accident occurred; fire fighters across South Essex converged on the site, just 30 feet from Eastwoodbury Lane, covering the plane in foam to prevent it from exploding. Levi and the Rockatts. Levi Dexter a Southend superstar stretched his legs into the world of fame in America during 1974. Once known in Southend as Little Elvis, and something of a Teddy Boy while living in Shoebury. But more importantly lead singer of the group Levi and the Rockatts. Who toured the States, and appearing on Coast to Coast TV. December. HRH Princess Anne opens Indoor Riding School for Southend Riding Club for the disabled at Belfairs. 1975 New pub for the town. The Guildford on Sutton Road and Guildford Road threw open its doors on 11th February 1975. More importantly for beer lovers this alehouse is a freehold. The new landlord Andrew Barthaud, who has had the workings of a pub running through his veins, as his parents run the the Railway in Prittlewell where he grew up. The corner site was formerly a launderette and three lock up shops. The job of converting these buildings that measured to be almost 100 years old into on modern pub was arduous and took three years to complete. Bakery fire but the bread run continues. Garon's bakery in Sutton Road was struck by fire in February. Starting in a storeroom, the fire soon spread with the fire brigade battling while 30 bakery night-shift workers carried on just yards away. The fire struck in the middle of the bread run if the workers had stopped many businesses across town would have been affected too. On a bread run some 8,000 loaves, 24,000 rolls and 17,000 doughnuts are produced. Although the fire threatened at one time to engulf the whole building the workers stayed by their ovens. Dutch Elm Disease strikes. As with most places in the UK, Dutch Elm disease would change the landscape of the town forever. Some 80 elms were disposed of alone in Southchurch Hall gardens. Across the borough this would reach 2,000. The Queen's Hotel. 1975 became a significant year as the Queen's Hotel in Hamlet Court Road started on the road towards final demolition. A good section of the hotel was closed in July 1974 due to new fire safety laws. Planning permission was sought to turn the old building into a thriving 300 bed hotel but the costs of doing this were proving to be exorbitant. The Customs and Excise men were in the hotel during February to claim items that could help settle an outstanding £8,000 VAT bill. Over a thousand items went up for auction. The hotel as huge as it is was left with the cocktail bar as a business. A short ray of hope emerged from Canvey island when successful businessman Jack King had offered to stump up substantial capital to invest in the hotel which would see it totally revamped. However, the Queen's was owned by the brewery Charringtons who staged a legal battle to retain ownership and block the take over. This final intervention saw the last chance of long term survival extinguished for good. Southend's political map changing. Proposals were put forward in 1975 to review and change the wards and representations. Out would go the likes of St Clements, Pier, Temple Sutton, Southbourne and All Saints; in would come Belfairs, Milton, St Lukes, Chalkwell, Westborough, Leigh, Shoebury, Southchurch, Victoria and Thorpe. Also the number of councillors per new ward would be the same with a representation of 3 in each. Old Southend firm on the move. A firmly established business in Southchurch Road would up-sticks and move location, a significant for the town as Young and Marten builder's merchants had occupied the corner premises near to Porters for many years, and its sign-age had become part of the Southend skyline. This whole section of Southchurch Road, would be going through a physical revamp with subways being built as well as new office blocks. Panto time. The festive theatrical fair for this year would see The Palace Theatre putting on 'Babes in the Woods'; while at the Cliff's Pavilion the star studded production would see TV's Junior Showtime's Bobby Bennett taking the lead role in Aladdin. 1976 January storms. At Southend airport, a light aircraft was lifted from the tarmac and thrown onto an adjacent railway line, where it burst into flames and blocked the railway services into London. Cup fever. Southend United's season became a bit better in January when they beat Brighton 2-0 to take them into the 4th round of the FA Cup. Next came 3rd Division rivals Cardiff who were brushed away 2-0, at last into the fifth round against some significant opposition in the shape of Derby County, drawn away at the Baseball Ground. This game would prove to be a game too far, as the Shrimpers lost 1-0. A shame as the next round would have drawn them against the mighty Manchester United, who went onto the final to play eventual 1-0 winners Southampton. Whisky Mac wins. The top TV talent show on Saturday night was New Faces hosted by Derek Hobson, which produced stars such as Marti Caine and Lenny Henry. The show was keenly watched for some of the 'Mr Nasty' comments that would be aimed at the contestants. On 20th March, Southend provided a group called Whisky Mac who became a resounding success on the show and winning outright. Regiment receives Royal Visit. Prince Philip flew his Queen's Flight red helicopter to Horseshoe Barracks in March to do a home visit of his regiment the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Edinbrugh's Royal Regiment. Regiment beats the retreat. Horseshoe Barracks in Shoeburyness became a true military spectacle as the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Edinbrugh's Royal Regiment in June, beat the retreat. The musical parade was significant as some 600 troops were deployed to Warminster much to the angst of the local community that depended on the regular income. The unit would finally leave in September with no replacement likely. Fire engulfs Southend Pier. Fire has destroyed the famous pier head at the end of the world's longest pier, in Southend on the UK's south-east coast. A hundred people used boats and the train which runs the length of the mile-and-a-quarter (2,145m) structure to escape. Strong south- westerly winds fanned the flames, watched by thousands of holiday-makers on beaches on both sides of the Thames estuary this evening. 1976 was not a good year for the pier, no sooner than it started to recover from the first fire a second started at the shore end, engulfing the bowling alley, as shown in the image above. A repeat fire in 1995 at the shore-end would see the bowling alley finally destroyed completely. Pier Hill on fire. The buildings propping up pier hill were struck by fire, the units some derelict and others used as storage had been a concern of the council for a while who had warned about the risk of fire, not least if the fire became too intense this could cause serious infrastructure damage that could put pier hill itself at risk. These Victorian buildings which sit just west of the pier entrance, as historic as they were this fire would lead to there eventual demolition. The Millers take over Peter Pan's Playground. Below the pier entrance has existed gardens, boating lakes and amusements for some 50 years. In 1975 the operators went into liquidation due to the all-round slump in trade in British seaside towns. The council had received and rejecting planning permission to turn the area into an outdoor market, just as well as David Miller stepped and at huge risk purchased the funfair and reopened it in 1976. The new team in charge would truly be a family affair with wife June, son's Philip and Paul as well as daughter-in-law Margaret all needing to put in 7 day weeks to make sure the new venture could succeed. Ring Road idea never to be mentioned again. The council finally this year decided to close the book on Southend's very own Ring Road. Originally conceived in the 60s to help with the central traffic problems. The eastern stretch being built would continue, but the southern and western sections were proving too difficult and costly to achieve, so for the last time the council asked for the Ring Road to be never mentioned again. Southend music festival. The growing national trend to use football stadia for music festivals spread to Southend on May 31st, when Roots Hall took on the Southend Music Festival, hosted by respected Radio 1 DJ John Peel, the menu for the day would include such acts as Budgie, Fairport Convention, Alvin Lee and the American David Bromberg Band, as well as the farewell performance of Southend's own Mickey Jupp Band. some 3,000 music fans enjoyed the event. Hole in the ground. The work continued in 1976 as the Queensway underpass was built. Curiously becoming known as the 'Hole in the Ground' as the community kept close scrutiny as it seemed to be getting deeper and wider. 1977 Pier modernises. The Pier Hill buildings completed in 1898, were finally demolished after a period of neglect. These entrance buildings graced the front part of the pier and were beyond a state of repair. The pier takes on once again a change for the modern times. Southend Hospital Radio (formerly Thameside Radio). The radio station was launched at 11am on Saturday 5th February 1977, after the then Mayor, Councillor Neville Moss, made fundraising for a radio service at the hospital, the mayoral appeal during his term of office in 1976. Royal visit to Hospital. On 26th June 1977 HRH Princess Margaret visited Southend General Hospital. The Kursaal starts to change. The make-up of this once famous amusement park would change forever. In 1977 planning permission was granted over the larger part of the Kursaal gardens for private housing. Panto time. This year's pantos in the town was split between Cinderella at the Cliffs Pavilion starring TV/radio legend Tony Brandon, at the Palace Theatre a seasonal offering of Aladdin. Underpass opens. A new dual carriageway, the Queensway underpass opened partially for the first time in December, costing over £1m this expensive hole in the road was designed to relieve traffic pressures in the town and provide a faster access to the seafront. It would be much later into 1978 before the full benefit was gained with all lanes open once the new Queensway Health Centre had been occupied. 1978 Severe storms hit town. Not since 1953 had storms hit the town as severely as they did this January. Gales at 70 mph, smashed into Southend and caused many thousands of pounds worth of damage. Old Leigh was hit hard with the Peter Boat being damaged with stock being washed out to sea, and by 3am the High Street was only traversable by rowing boat. The then Westcliff leisure Centre was flooded and the boating pool beside the pier doubled its depth to 10 feet. New Health complex opens. It took awhile to get there but on 20th February 1978, the Essex Street Social Services Centre was formally opened, and to be named Queensway House. Replacing outdated accommodation including the Victoria Hospital in Warrior Square and a family planning centre in Baxter Avenue. The new centre would blend into the town centre bulging with large office complexes in this area just across the road from the Victoria Shopping Centre. the building project should have opened 3 years earlier but became victim of the labour disputes of the time, with a string of strikes on site that continually held the build up. Roots Hall celebrates. Fans stepped to the touchline’s of the football field as Southend led 3-1 against Rochdale in the old Division 4 on Friday 21st April. With minutes to go until the final whistle the fans were ready to celebrate Southend's success at gaining automatic promotion to Division 3, finishing second behind Watford. After two seasons in the basement division manager Dave Smith had brought some small credibility to the Shrimpers and the fans celebrated long and hard, making this season one of the most successful in Blues history. St Erkenwalds loses its flock. The large church on the junction of York Road and Southchurch Avenue, lost its congregation in 1978. Becoming redundant the church building found little use and fell into a state of disrepair. Some years later it suffered a severe fire and was demolished. Battle of the beaches. Skinheads versus Teddy Boys, reminiscent of the 60s when the Mods and the Rockers fought long and hard through the summer on the sands. Margate was the venue in the Easter holidays and a whisper had gone out that Southend would be the location for the August return fixture. Fortunately Essex Police had heard the whisper too and had come prepared as some 200 young people converged on the town dressed in their uniform of choice, skinhead jeans and braces, or more traditionally as a Teddy Boy. The police were stretched to separate the family holidaymakers from the troublemakers. The ensuing trouble was more disruptive to the majority, with ten arrests for various offences. TV crew in town. Southend became the backdrop for a London Weekend TV situation comedy episode from the programme called Maggie and Her. Starring the legendary Irene Handl and Maggie Smith. The programme aired over two series and was based around divorced school teacher (Julia Mckenzie) who was attempting to reignite her love life while the nosey neighbour (Irene Handl) manages to scupper her attempts. Radio 2 comes to Southend. The nation listened to John Dunn broadcasting live for two hours from the foyer of the Cliffs Pavilion. The show relayed through various interviews with key people from town, the history, economic development and an update on the seaside town's amenities. Flood defences completed. The final kilometre long see defence wall between Chalkwell and Westcliff was completed in 1978. Costing over £1m to complete, but leaving a protective barrier that has been where possible fully landscaped. High Street pedestrianisation extends. The main shopping precinct of the town was heading near full pedestrianisation; the next stage would start in 1978 taking the length from Whitegate Road to Clifftown Road finishing the work in time for Christmas Shoppers. Royal Hotel refurbished. Finally one of Southend's oldest buildings became the subject of a major refurbishment. Saving it from the demolition ball. Tunnel discovered. It was reported in the local press during the refurbishment that builders had discovered a hidden passageway that ran under the High Street from the Royal Hotel to the buildings on the east side. The reports indicated they thought it was there to facilitate smuggling. But historians may put their finger on a more interesting use which goes back to Nelson's time when he stayed at the Royal Library opposite the Royal Hotel where is mistress Lady Hamilton stayed. This passageway became a convenient route for this famous Naval Lord to become better acquainted with the Lady, while hidden from inquisitive eyes. Southend Victoria Hospital. Southend lost the first building that formed the very first hospital in the town. Although the very modern Southend General hospital in Prittlewell Chase had been in use for many years this original building in Warrior Square was retained by the NHS as a clinic. Finally running out of lives in 1978 when it was demolished. Making way for car parking around the Warrior Square Swim Centre. End of an era. Nationalising and centralising the issuing of Car Tax to Swansea, meant the end of an era in Southend as the shutters finally came down on the Car Tax office in the Civic Centre. Carnival Queen. The carnival queen for 1978 was Trudy Miller. Palmeira Towers Hotel demolished. A popular building that typified the style of architecture on the Westcliff seafront. The Overcliff Hotel is another of its type long gone. The Palmeira Towers sits on the rise set back and above the Arches cafés. The footprint of the hotel is now replaced by retirement flats called Home Cove. The Dickens arrives. The Middleton Hotel in the High Street gained a new tenant to run the pub opposite the central train station. Originally the Middleton Hotel was a large building providing much needed hotel accommodation, built in the same block as the Odeon cinema. Over time the hotel was broken down into separate units. The frontage onto the High Street in 1978 was then a pizza restaurant. The pub to the rear had been closed for two years, so it was welcomed back with its new name the Dickens. Trains halted. The pier in 1976 suffered two huge fires, but it was not until 1978 the trains taking visitors along the mile and third distance were stopped for safety reasons. Percy Garon dies in 1978. Percy Garon was a member of one of the most famous families in the town's history that dominated the High Street with food emporiums, cafes and cinemas. Today the town still remembers the family referring to the land north of Eastern Avenue as Garon's. Percy Garon however, who died at the age of 87, was decorated for his efforts in World War 1, and awarded the George Medal during World War 2 for fighting fires across Essex. His affiliation with the Lifeboat Service lasted some 40 years and ensured one of the services main boats at this time was named after him. A true Southend man born in the heart of the town in Tyler's Avenue. The Ritz up for sale. This large art deco style former cinema has been put up for sale by the Rank Organisation. The last time the building, beside the Palace Hotel, rolled a film as a cinema was in 1972, since then Rank has run it as a Bingo Hall, due to the impact of mass television reducing film audiences. But even Bingo can't save it this year as the 'For Sale' sign goes up. Arts Council. Formed in 1978 to speak with one voice for the arts in the Southend district, and now with a membership of 43 societies and 50 individual members. The Arts Council is a voluntary body, funded by its membership and fund raising events. Panto time. This year's festive treat at the Cliff's Pavilion is Jerry Jerome's Babe's in the Wood starring Bill Pertwee from Dad's Army fame and one time resident of Hamlet Court Road. The Palace Theatre, featured Dick Whittington. 1979 A memorable night at Roots. On 10th January 1979 Southend United recorded its highest ever gate of 31,033 for a game against Liverpool for the FA Cup Third Round. The Shrimpers held the Scousers 0-0. The game was hampered by horrendous weather conditions causing the long awaited fixture to be regularly cancelled. The Red Devils brought a full squad to Roots Hall, including Graeme Souness, Phil Neal all under the stewardship of the mighty Bob Paisley. The game went to Anfield for the replay, with Liverpool finally winning 3-0. March. Official opening of the day centre and workshop at Queensway House Health and Social Security Services Complex by His Worshipful the Mayor, Cllr R. B. Marriott. New Airline arrives. Southend Airport saw in the New Year with a new airline moving in, British Island Airways. The firm took over operations from British Air Ferries. Bloody kids. A new film started production in Southend, the working title Red Saturday, changed to Bloody Kids. The film industry under the direction of Stephen Frears descended on the town. The story follows a day in the life of two young kids who run riot in the town pulling pranks that invariably backfire. One of the kids played by newcomer Peter Clarke was plucked from a Southend children's home to play one of the leads. Interestingly a key adult lead was to be played by the much loved Richard Beckinsale who put in 3 days filming, who later passed away of a heart attack at the age of 31. Essex house occupied. One of the tallest office blocks near the centre of town, Essex House finally found an occupier this year, two year's after completion. To the rescue came credit card company Access to take over this huge block that looks down on the junction between Southchurch Road and Southchurch Avenue. Access had already established its headquarters in Priory Crescent. The Famous Potatoes formed. One of Southend's noted local bands. The Famous Potatoes were formed in 1979, at the height of the Punk scene. Well known locally for their 'Soil Music' and rated as one of the best Barn Dance acts in the country. A regular key act at Leigh Folk Festival and across Southend pubs. A year of strikes. 1979 will be remembered by many for the number of strikes endured by all, whether caused through the bin men or any other nationalised industry. Rubbish bags piled up outside the Eastern Avenue rubbish depot as residents become tired of rotting food building up outside their properties. High speed train to Scotland. Southend Central station hosted British Rail's newest high speed train the Inter City125 on Saturday 31st March. Enabling Southenders to spend the day in Edinburgh. The train picked up at stations along the coastal route before heading north providing passengers a 3 hour sight-seeing opportunity before heading south again. The 856 mile return journey would cost this day £12 or £15 first class. Rubble all around. The old tram sheds (some 78 years old) in London Road along with the Eastern Electricity Headquarters were reduced to rubble in 1979, in there place was planned one of the largest Texas DIY stores in the country, planning to be open the following year. McAdden dies. Southend East's MP died while in office in 1979. Stephen McAdden had served the seat since 1950 as a conservative. His death led to the election of Teddy Taylor. The last Carvair. An aircraft that became a symbol for Southend Airport, the Carvair, made a final farewell in 1979 as the last aircraft of its kind left the airport. The Carvair had served its time, for some 22 years, and was originally designed for purpose by the famous airline entrepreneur Freddie Laker. It became famous as a car ferry to Europe, but also more generally as a freight craft. The last plane, called Plain Jane. of its type at the airport was finally sold to the US, Gone due to the expensive running costs of this petrol driven machine.

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

1970 - 1979
Photos show pre and post fire
Mark Foster
Central Library
Southend Airport
John Dunn
St Erkenwalds Church
Victoria Hospital
Queensway Underpass
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