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

2010 - 2014
2010 January. College re-branded. From 1st January 2010 the South East Essex College will be renamed 'South Essex College'. The college has grown in the town significantly since the days it occupied dominant premises on Victoria Circus, then as the Municipal College. Before taking over premises in Carnarvon Road, as the College of Technology in the 60s. It was there it became known as South East Essex College, and so it took this title to its current premises in Elmer Square. The new title was needed following the absorption into the fold of Thurrock College. School expansion starts. Chase High School in Prittlewell Chase is gaining ground by starting its new build development. The work costing in the region of £10m will provide a spanking new sixth form including a fully operational hair and beauty salon. The work starting January 2010 is expected to be ready to receive its first pupils in early 2011. Snow-Ville. Early January saw Southend caught up in some of the worst snowy weather seen across the country since 1987. A two week cold snap saw disruption created across the town through the heavy snowfall. Many schools closed and the council's gritting stocks were stretched to keep up with demand. City-Beach starts. A ground breaking ceremony took place to formally start the works that will transform Marine Parade, under the project title of City-Beach. The idea is to make the seafront a day through to evening event area, with improved lighting, better access to the beach and new toilet facilities. Airport gets the thumbs up. Southend Airport took another step forward towards its runway extension and subsequent development with a confident vote from Southend's Council on 20th January 2010. A further agreement from John Denham Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was received on 19th March, which gives a definite go ahead to the expansion. Chapels to live again. A forgotten cemetery in North Road Westcliff received a much needed boost on 20th January when it was confirmed that £1million from the Community Assets Fund, run by BIG Lottery, will be pumped into the site and will completely renovate the historic site including the chapels (built in 1897), that sit in the centre. When complete later this year it will become a Social Enterprise centre run by SAVS. View the front page for updates on progress through the films provided by Blade Education. Channel 4 in town. Four residents of the town will star in an episode of Come Dine With Me. Filming started in the borough on Monday 25th January and would last for a week. Many of the town's famous areas will no doubt feature as the cameras trail the cooks as they prepare for their meals. The Southend episode aired on a Friday evening in September and included among the diners Tracy Jones, former Southend Radio presenter. Opinions varied but some considered it to be albeit a little controversial but probably one of the more entertaining versions made. February. Camp Cuckoo moves in. Just as Southend Council started to move its plans forward for a Better Southend, so a familiar sight appeared on the edge of the roundabout junction of Cuckoo Corner in Prittlewell. Protestors formed Camp Cuckoo to voice their objection to the removal of trees as part of the project to improve this particular junction. The council acted swiftly gaining court action to move them on. At 8am on 21st March the contractors moved in and by noon the trees had been removed, the site now ready for a complete remodelling. The Deeping closes. As the Victoria Circus development steps up apace, so one of the casualties of this multi million pound project, The Deeping would close for good. In transforming the busy traffic interchange with new junctions and even a new green space, visitors arriving into the town via the A127 and through the Southend Victoria Station rail network will get a better welcome to the town. The Deeping however, named after one of the town's more famous inhabitants, author Warwick Deeping was constructed along with the Hammerson Development, as part of the last Victoria Circus remodelling in the late 60s early 70s. March Palace Hotel opens. After years of refurbishment on 1st March the doors were thrown open to show a fabulous makeover of the newly named Park Inn Palace Hotel on Pier Hill. This long awaited addition to the seafront welcomes visitors from afar who may not have realised before that Southend does have at last a quality hotel offering; enabling the day visitor to stretch out and savour there visit, with town centre convenience and fantastic sea views over the pier. This landmark building first opened its doors in 1904 as the Hotel Metropole. Its colourful history has seen it change use during the war years as a military hospital which prompted Queen Mary to visit it; as well as providing a bed for the many celebrities that frequented the town's theatres including of course in 1952 Messer's Laurel and Hardy. Welcome back the Palace you have been sorely missed. Google view. Southend-on-Sea made its appearance on the controversial Street View this month. This web based viewer which can take the user to the pavements of the town has courted concerns around privacy. Some of Southend's quirkier images include someone being pulled over by the police on Eastern Esplanade. Prittlewell fire. A large fire raged during the night of Monday 15th March; roads around Tickfield Avenue were closed off as a factory unit behind the old Army recruitment office on East Road was virtually destroyed. During the fire train drivers on using the Southend Victoria line were warned to take care as they manoeuvred through plumes of smoke. Ron Martin. The Palace Hotel hosted a fans Q&A with Ron Martin, Chairman of Southend United on 22nd March. He was responding to nearly 12 months of stark criticism over the running of the club's financial affairs. Ron delivered on all the questions and received applause at the end of the session. He revealed, he is more than just a businessman but a passionate fan, and will be looking to extend Steve Tilson's contract; why he let Paul Brush Assistant Manger go (due to his negative views and being to much of a prop to Steve Tilson), Ron also gave some insight to the struggles of contracting players and the issues the club has had to deal with some key players that the fans were not aware of. He assured the audience the outstanding tax bill would be covered by mid-April as required. The new stadium will start on site in the summer. There was no guarantee that the financial roller coaster would ease up any time soon, but he would do his utmost to ensure the club was in existence for as long as he could. April. Southend Film Festival. 30th April - 5th May. For the second year Southend played host to another glitzy film gala to launch the Film Festival. Fathers of Girls was the main offering with cast and crew in attendance including blockbusting actor Ray Winstone. The Odeon Cinema in Victoria Plaza provide Screen 5 for over 200 people representing the great and good of the town as well the film's cast and production crew and also regular film-goers who were in for a treat. The Park in Palace played host to the after film party. The Film Festival also celebrates Southend's heritage with two contributions both at the Palace Theatre firstly Oil City Confidential celebrating the era around 1992 on Friday 30th April. In attendance will be members of the cast. On Sunday 2nd May, 8.15pm; an archive based film will be shown looking at Southend's magnificent cinemas of old; Lets All Go To The Pictures...In Southend. Special guest Ron Stewart, known as Uncle Ron the legendary cinema manager of the Classic in Westcliff, known to thousands of young people who went to the pictures on a Saturday morning. York Road Market is no more. A regular shopping experience since 1918 met its end this month. The site just over the road from the Travel Centre had asked its resident traders to leave in 2009. The semi-permanent array of units had over time become unsafe for the public, and expensive to maintain. Since leaving a number of the traders have moved on to bigger and better things. In its place the site is being planned as a market area still with a designed open area; which should bring some new vibrancy to this side of town and to the shops lining south side of York Road that faced the market. May Big Brother. The very last Big Brother series started to air this month on Channel 4. With a contestant from Southend; Mario (Mugan) who entered the house dressed as a 'Mole', and became a firm favourite and stayed until the final but was finished third overall. Later in the year the former South Essex College lecturer could not resist inviting some of his house-mates to sample Southend including the rides at Adventure Island. Shoebury gets new Youth Centre. The new landmark building will include an informal contemporary restaurant with a professional kitchen, a garden and terrace area, a dance studio, gymnasium, large multi function sports hall with a climbing wall plus modern changing and shower facilities. Additionally, there will be an IT suite, a soundproofed music area offering rehearsal and recording facilities, a games room, a bike and motor vehicle workshop, a youth volunteering centre and office accommodation. New Mayor. Thursday 13th May, saw the annual Mayor Making ceremony. Donning the robes for an important year would be Cllr Ann Holland, taking over from Brian Smith who retired from the council. The new Mayor would be supported by in a deputised role by Cllr Norman and his wife. Unusually a new practise has been adopted this year, on attending functions the Mayor will be inviting members of Southend's fire service to escort her, nine members of the fire service have signed up to be placed on a rota that will see them at the top table of the town's most prestigious of events, allowing them too to spread the message of the good the fire service does for the town. I am sure many of Southend's historical figures such as Alec White and Harry Garon, who played an important part in the development of the town's fire service, would be nodding in approval at such a move. Muddy Trudge. Thorpe Bay Esplanade on Saturday 22nd May, was awash with people as the second Mulberry Mud Run was run in blazing sunshine, on what was considered to be the first hot day of the year. Amazingly the race was held up due to mother nature maintaining the tide in rather than expected to be right out by the Mulberry Harbour, a historic monument in its own right representing, and reminding all that can see it from sure of the Second World War. When the race did start the many runners needed to trudge through the expected mud as well as becoming knee deep in water by the time they had reached the Mulberry. On return the Essex Fire Brigade assisted those covered in mud with a welcome shower. A great event that is getting bigger and bigger. Cliff Lift returns. The funicular railway on Western Esplanade, started to come back to life with the return of the carriage to the rail after a period of refurbishment on 23rd March. The railway will soon reach its 100th birthday and should be back into full operation during the summer. Built as Reno's Electric Stairway 1901 immediately west of the Alexandra Yacht Club, patrons could travel on it then for the price of 1d. It was replaced in 1911 by the current Cliff Lift structure. Reopened on 25th May 2010. Royal Anglians on parade. Thursday 17th June saw thousands of people flock to Southend High Street to see the Royal Anglians exercise their freedom of the Borough. Winter Wonderland. Southend became the wonder of the natural world when a mass of caterpillars spun a velvet web over trees, benches and gravestones of Sutton Road Cemetery. Leaving the place in mid summer looking like a frost covered area. This unique incident was captured on TV and national press. July. New Manager for Southend United. Steve Tilson was put on 'gardening leave' at the beginning of July. To be replaced by Paul Sturrock as team manager on Monday 5th July. A complete shake up of the management team would see instant changes to the way the football side of the club was run. A reintroduction of the reserve squad, along with cancellation of the Ipswich friendly due on Friday 9th July. As the latest tax bill is paid a transfer embargo is likely to be lifted to help the team rebuild the much depleted squad. Transfer embargo lifted. Southend United in 2010 has put the fans through all kinds of emotions. Finally during the first week of August the courts agreed Southend had paid its dues to HMRC, and on Friday 6th August the long term transfer embargo placed by the Football League was finally lifted. Paul Sturrock entered the first game of the season at home to Stockport the next day with a squad, with no less than nine debutes. The final score 1-1. World Record. Southend on Sunday 8th August entered the Guinness Book of Records by having the most people ride a roller coaster NAKED. The event happened at Adventure Island with 102 participants baring all from all parts of the country. The story was picked up internationally by many press outlets including many of the national news broadcasters. September. Beached oil. The end of the month saw volunteers dressed in protective gear clearing oil spillage from Southend beaches, due to a ship in the estuary dispensing it illegally. The clean-up operation went smoothly but did attract regional TV news. October. University Square opens. Some love it, some hate it, but it certainly can't be ignored, the latest architectural innovation to grace Southend town centre will come alive during the end of September as students for the new academic year start to take over their new rooms. The building will be formally opened on 15th October 2010. The site will be called University Square. As interesting as the design is no one can deny the practical benefits of placing student accommodation within a stones throw of everything a young undergraduate might need. The other facility that will be welcomed is the public car park underneath, when opened will signal the end of the Farringdon Car Park, which will be making way for the Elmer Square project an amazing academic building mix between the University, South Essex College and a new state of the art library to replace the Central Library in Victoria Avenue. New Future for Education. Southchurch Boulevard had a colourful addition open this month in the shape of Future's College. A collaborative exercise putting what was Thorpe Bay High School and Prospects College in to one, under one brand. The new model will deliver a range of normal school based academic, including sixth form, activities while applying vocational training with building skills such as carpentry, bricklaying and plumbing. This new development has had a domino effect through building acquisition in the town, as the former Prospects site on Fairfax Drive as been vacated, and will in time be part of the Sainsbury's development that will take over Root's Hall football ground when the club moves to the new stadium. Lights, Camera, Action. The movie industry took up residence in the town this month. The film stage was no more glamorous than the old gasworks site off Eastern Esplanade. This area including the old block building, in a state of semi demolition, made for a perfect scene of Baghdad in the new up coming movie 'Screwed' starring James D'Arcy. Props, including a replica tank and extras poured onto the site to make it seem like an old market town resplendent in fake palm trees. The film will follow the story of a young guy (D'Arcy) who leaves the military to become a prison warder, who then gets immersed in the seedy side of underground prison life. Warrior Square closed. The town centre swimming pool closed on 31st October. Making way for the new swimming centre due to open on 15th November. Kane Stars. Southend comedian Russell Kane has had some year, not only winning the best stand up act at the Edinburgh Festival in August, but also getting a key column in The Sun's new Saturday magazine. On TV he starred in a stand up special filmed at the Palace Theatre and shown to much acclaim on cable channel Dave. His busy schedule also included another stint as a presenter on top ITV reality show 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' set in the Australian jungle. Cycleways. 2010 will be remembered in Southend for its push towards making the town much more cycle friendly. This November saw the official opening of the cycle paths lining the Prittle Brook from Priory Park heading west. New Seafront structures. As part of the City Beach scheme which in October was in full swing. The first of 6 pylon styled structures emerged, these new light columns will dominate Marine Parade and provide a unique modern feel to the area. Visitors to the final fireworks display on the seafront on 6th Nov, marvelled at there height, and although not yet plugged in still thought they brought a different feel to the seafront. That Festive feeling. To kick the Christmas shopping period off a full day of celebration was held in the High Street, on 13th November. Real reindeer, a flying Peter Pan along with the traditional light switch on, were on the menu. Joining the Mayor at the switch on were Josh Dubovie Eurovision Singer, Mario Mugan Big Brother contestant as well as Peter Pan. The day was rounded off with a spectacular evening display of fireworks. November New Swimming Pool. Southend opened a brand new swimming facility on 15th November. Ipswich-based Charter Architects has designed the 25m pool, four diving boards and an area where divers can train, along with spectator seating. Based within the Southend Leisure & Tennis centre off Eastern Avenue. Mark Foster, local lad and former Olympic Swimmer formerly opened the pool on 30th November, with the Mayor. Good Bye Farringdon. Demolition begins on the Farringdon Multi-storey car park closes. The site being cleared for the proposed Elmer Square Library development. Sarfend Visitors Book. Southend has one more attraction for locals and visitors alike as the Sarfend Visitors Book was officially opened on 18th November by the Mayor Cllr Ann Holland. This unique book will collect comments turning it into a unique piece of interactive history for the town. Originally an idea by Brian Mendes one time resident of Southend, but now living in Kitchener, Canada. Brian made the opening ceremony on the phone. December. Let it Snow, Let it Snow. The end of November to the beginning of December saw the arrival of arctic conditions as up to 20 cm of snow blanketed the area. Schools and businesses closed and the public transport system was thrown into chaos. Local authorities this time however ensured there salt and grit supplies were plentiful to deal with most situations. Panto time. Peter Pan was the festive offering for the Cliffs Pavilion, starting in early December and through to 9th January. Bradley Walsh the star turn. Kara Tointon. Winner of this year's BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Kara and family fly the flag high for the Borough, but this accolade will certainly warm the hearts during a very cold spell locally. 2011 January. New Year's Honours List. Southend Timeline extends congratulations to Ali Hadawi former principal of Southend Adult Community College who has been awarded the CBE in the New Year's honours list for services to Vocational Education in Iraq. 31st January. Aer Arren announced seven days a week service to and from both Galway and Waterford in Ireland twice a day. February. Demolition begins on the old Farringdon car park. 3rd February. Judicial Review in to the extension of the runway at Southend thrown out but an appeal is launched. 17th February. Southend millennium clock was removed from the High Street outside the Victoria Shopping Centre/Plaza, and placed in storage at a cost of £5,000. unfortunately, it was not designed to take account of the elements and rarely worked for any length of time. March. The Seafront parking scheme where you have to drive past and then reverse in to your spot is scrapped after protests from drivers. The parking scheme was Department of Transport approved but was unpopular with drivers. It is replaced with a drive in reverse out scheme again approved by the Department of Transport. 27th March. The first commercial international passenger flights return to Southend Airport for the first time in a decade. The flights operated by Aer Arann flew in from Galway & Waterford in Ireland, with return flights operating after from Southend. April. My Town Cabs set up by Philip Miller. York Road Market returns. Southend's York Road market is set to return on Saturday (23rd April). The market will be open from 9:00am until 4:00pm, it will then open the following Saturday (30th April) and after that will open every Friday & Saturday, on the days the market is not open the land will be used as car parking. May. Election time! The Conservatives held on to power at the Civic Centre, they lost two seats to the Independent Group but gained two from the Liberal Democrats. Conservative: 28 Lib Dem: 10 Independent: 9 Labour: 4. Southend votes NO to AV. The people of Southend voted overwhelming against voting reform rejecting scrapping the century’s old First Past the Post for the Alternate Vote. “At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead” Yes: 13,488 (28.19%) No: 34,365 (71.81%) Total: 48,107 Rejected: 254 Turnout: 38.13% 9th May. Fire devastates the historic 120+ year old stoned columned Jefferies Solicitors building. Hamlet Court Road remains closed for over 12 hours, as crews tackle the blaze and damping down the smoking building. Appliance’s on scene include: 2 x Southend, 1 x Southend ALP, 1 x Leigh, 2 x Shoeburyness, 1 x Hawkwell, 1 x Rochford, 2x Canvey, 1 x Corringham, 1 x Wickford, 1 x Rayleigh Weir, 1 x 2 x Basildon, 1 x Billericay. 28th May. Saw the re-opening of the Warrior Square Gardens after the £1.8million restoration. 1st June. Victoria Gateway shared space bus way opens. 16th June. Easyjet & Stobarts announce that they have signed a 10 year deal for the airline to operate 70 flights a week from Southend to various European destinations, services are due to start in April 2012. 29th June. Adventure Island set a new world record for the largest portion of chips weighing in at a whopping 988 pounds, the task took just four hours and 20 minutes to peel, cut and, deep fry the potatoes, serving them up in a specially built chip box. The previous record of 812 pounds set in 2004 was truly battered...Afterwards a lot of the huge pile of chips were sold for a £1 a portion to raise money for Bosom Pals, the breast cancer charity based at Southend Hospital, any leftovers were sent to a pig farm. 1st July. The Royal Fish and Chip bar on the junction of Alexandra Street and the High Street catches fire, the fire results in a large part of the High Street being closed forcing shops to bring the shutters down. 6th July. CCTV cars hit the streets, the Toyota IQ’s are fitted with cameras that capture illegal parkers throughout the borough. 14th July. Fire breaks out in a row of derelict shops in Canewdon Road, Westcliff, (just off Hamlet Court Road. 18th July. Southend Airport rail station opens, after decades of waiting the new £12million railway station at Southend Airport is finally opened, the first train calling at the station at 4.05am. 22nd July. Shoebury East beach café & restaurant given planning approval. 25th July. New pizza restaurant given planning permission at Adventure Island. 26th July. £200,000 track revamped running track opened at the Garon Park Athletics Park, also upgraded are the Pole vaulting facility’s so that they can cope with changing wind conditions. 29th July. Work starts on new hotel at the airport. 2nd August. Rank announce plans to open a 24 hour £24million casino. 16th August. The Government pass plans to divert Eastwoodbury Lane clearing the final hurdle to the 300m runway extension. 31st August. The class 7 loco "Britannia" visits Southend. 6th September. A maintenance barge moored alongside the pier, installing a new fire main is forced under the pier by strong winds and heavy rolling seas. Piles are damaged as is a section of the deck. The pier is closed indefinitely. 24th September. Southend Pier partly re-opens, only the railway is opened to the public as further extensive repair works are needed on the walkway. 24th September. First busking on the pier event. 27th September. Southend Cricket Festival is scrapped. Essex County Cricket Club announce that they will not hold the 105 year old after it was decided more cricket should be held at Chelmsford. The Garons venue had the largest spectator numbers and was the only profitable festival. 28th September. My Town cabs closes down. 8th October. Lady Dot McAdden, wife of the late Sir Stephen McAdden, MP for Southend East, dies aged 94. Lady McAdden helped to set up the Breast Unit for Screening by Thermography charity appeal in 1974. 13th October. Royal Mail release new first class stamp featuring the Kursaal. 7th November. The Southend tourist information office comes first in the Essex Tourism Awards. 10th November. The Mangetout Café Bistro in Chichester Road, Southend, reopens after it was wrecked in an electrical fire in September 2010. 16th November. Southend bus company Arriva buy 12 Optare Versa V1110 single deck buses to use the the No9 route that serves Southend Airport the cost of the new buses was £1.8million. 23rd November. Planning approval is granted for the construction of a new Tesco Extra & Focus Youth Centre on the site of the derelict former B&Q site along side Southend Victoria railway Station. 28th November 2011. Plans submitted to demolish the derelict 14-storey Portcullis House in Victoria Avenue, the building having sat empty since 2008 after being vacated by HM Revenue and Customs who had relocated their staff to the next door Alexander House. 12th December. The Snow Quad Squad Southend Borough Council unveils it's team of three 4X4 quad bike fitted with a snow plough on the front and rock salt hoppers on the back that will be tasked to grit the roads and paths of Southend should snow fall in the winter, the quads will be used in the summer for other purposes. They have enough room in the hoppers to carry 260kg of rock salt enough to cover 15miles of Southend roads. 2012 2012. Rossi Ice Cream celebrates 80 years of trade. 1st January. 5th Annual Southend Heritage Bus Running Day. With no bus services scheduled to serve Southend on New Years Day (apart from the Stansted Express & one other service) Regal Busways, Ensignbus & Stephensons combine to lay on a collection of historic buses to various destination across Southend, the event was in aid of the Essex Air ambulance with the drivers donating their time. 6th January. Council pass £1.5million Belfairs Park Environment Visitors centre, it is proposed to act as a base for walking tours, climbing lessons, craft sessions for visiting schoolchildren and other activities. 6th January. Short street lights. Street lights along the stretch of A127 close to the airport are replaced by shorter lights to meet CAA regulations. 20th January. Six unexploded WW2 shells found on Leigh beach, they are taken a mile off shore and destroyed by the Bomb squad. 20th January. Council vote to spend £2.2million on works to stabilise the cliff slip area. 2nd February. Land sale, The former Ekco & Prittlebrook Industrial Estate is put up for sale by its owner Aviva, the 26 acre site located off Manners Way covers an area of roughly 105,000sqm, and is barely a mile from the airport. 4th - 5th February. Arctic Blast, Southend had it's first snow fall of the year with up to 9inches falling across the borough, temperatures were so low that parts of the Estuary froze over. 9th February. New Library contractor appointed. The company chosen to build Southend new £27million library is announced as Wates Construction of Leatherhead, Surrey, who successfully beat off the other six companies short-listed for the contract. 17th February. Fishing boat collides with Southend Pier, damaging piles, bracing and cross members, the pier is immediately closed. 21st February: Easyjet announce they will be sponsoring the 2012 Southend Airshow. 5th March. Southend Airport terminal opens. The Secretary of State for Transport Secretary Justine Greening along with Stobart Group CEO Andrew Tinkler officially open the new £10million terminal at Southend airport. 7th March. The ground breaking ceremony takes place on the site that will become the new £27million library. Located on the site of the demolished Farringdon Multi-storey car park in Elmer Approach. The Library funded by Southend Council (£12.5million) the University (£10.4million) and the College finding the remaining £4million. The Library due to open in August 2013 was been named the Forum will be built by Wates Construction, who promised to recruit locally and provide apprenticeships for Southend students. 14th March. Southend misses out on becoming a Queen's Diamond Jubilee City with, Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph winning the race. 14th March. Southend Borough Council council of the Year. Southend Borough Council won the Local Government Chronicle Award for the council of the year. 19th March. Southend sorting office closes. The Royal Mail closes down the sorting office in Short Street reducing it to a "Delivery Office" all post for Southend posted in Southend has to be collected and taken to Boreham before being sent back to Southend for delivery. 25th March. New World Record. Southend set a new world record for the most naked people to play a round the crazy golf in one hour, the record was broken at Adventure Island when some 30 brave souls stripped off on a cold Sunday morning, two members of the gathered press even joined in! The event was in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity. 26th March. Bus bonus. Southend Borough Council are awarded £1.6million to help improve bus services across the borough, just 24 out of 50 applications to the Department for Transports Better Bus Area Fund were awarded grants, proposals include a smart ticketing scheme where a credit card style chip card is used instead of tickets. 2nd April. After decades in decline and the doldrums scheduled passenger flights finally take off again as Easyjet begin operating out of Southend. 6th April. Southend Pier fully reopens after the accident of 17th February 2012. 11th 15th April. British Juggling Convention comes to Southend to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The event scheduled to be held at the Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, Garon Park. 25th April. Purple flags flying high. Southend becomes the first town in Essex to be granted a purple flag. The Purple Flag is only awarded to towns offering the best, and safest, places to enjoy a night-out in the UK. Other places flying the flags include Oxford, Manchester and Bristol. 29th April. 251 back on the road. Sixteen vintage buses took a nostalgic journey from Southend to London to help raise cash for hi- tech mobile breast screening equipment at Southend Hospital. A convoy of sixteen classic buses,ranging between 20 and 73 years old arrived at the Seaway Car Park just off the seafront for a nostalgic run to Wood Green following the route of the old 251 bus service. The charity run was in aid of Bosom Pals appeal to rise funds for a new for hi-tech mobile breast screening Unit for Southend. May 2012. New era for the Victoria. DTZ Investment Management take over the running of the Victoria Shopping Centre located at the top of the High Street, they are best known for being the company running the Westfield Stratford, and Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent. 3rd May. 4th Southend Film Festival. 17th May. New landmark building lands. The new £3million Southend Pier Head Cultural Centre is placed on the Pier Head, the 200tone structure began construction at Tilbury docks 17 miles upriver in February. Once the structure was completed it was lifted on to a barge and floated down river. The 3767sqft steel framed building was lifted into place by a 400tonne marine crane, the sea conditions had to meet strict conditions on height of the tide, the sea swell and wind speed and direction. All shipping using the estuary were put under strict operating restrictions limiting the speed they were permitted to pass to cut on the wakes they create. The building was lowered at 2mm a minute before it was finally locked in place. 26th & 27th May. Southend Airshow reaches 27 years old. June. Feelgoods Restaurant opens at Adventure Island Theme Park, the new eatery costs £2million and creates 50 new jobs. Every 20 minutes visitors are treated to live performances from the singing staff. Songs include anything from the soft melodies of Eva Cassidy, to soulful hits by Beyonce. 4th June. High Street cycling crack down. A large scale crack down on cyclists riding through the High Street is launched anyone over the age of 16 stopped is to be fined. Police will stop the bike riders and take their name and address, this is then passed on to the Council who then sent out a fine. 11th June. Small Ships Race. The 2012 Small Ships race starts from Southend Pier, the London to Portland race is for Sail Training Ships crewed by 12 to 25 year olds, many of whom have never sailed before. Two classes of ships take part the first batch head off at 5.40pm with the second batch at 5.50pm, in total the 15 ships take part. 16th June. Prittlewell Priory re-opens. After two years and £2million the 900year old Priory in the heart of Priory park is re-opened to the public. The opening by comedian Phill Jupitus, also features the public sponsored paving stones and new visitor centre. 16th June. Steam back in time. The Class 8 Pacific Loco Duke of Gloucester (71000) visits Southend. 6th July. Olympic Torch to pass through Southend. 18th July. Cliffs Museum approved. Southend Borough Council approve plans to build a £35- £40million museum into the area of the Cliff Slip. 23rd July. Pier Cultural Centre opens. The new £3million centre, which is made of 200 tonnes of steel, wood and glass, was built in Tilbury Docks before being transported down the Thames on a barge. 3rd August. Team GB divers stay in Southend. The Team GB Olympic diving team make the new Southend Diving Centre their home in the lead up to the 2012 London Games. 6th August. Adventure Island excellence. The world renowned travel website Trip Advisor awards Adventure Island a certificate of excellence reviews from people who visited the park and rated its restaurants and attractions gave it an average of 4.5 out of 5. 8th August. Fishing Boat Court Verdict. Fisherman John William Smith who's boat collided with Pier is found guilty of failing to keep a proper look out. The fisherman crashed his boat into Southend Pier on February 17th 2012, and was ordered to pay almost £13,000 in costs and fines. 3rd September. The last parts of the Bandstand are removed from the Cliffs in preparation for the stabilisation and restoration to begin, the domed roof and shelters are placed into storage. 13th September. Hollywood Glamour. Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow visits Southend Pier to film scenes for a new Channel 4 TV show alongside celebrity chef Jamie Oliver & celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty. 19th September. Shells on the beach. Six World War 2 shells were discovered on the foreshore at Westcliff, the Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Unit detonate the shells. 19th September. Bus investment. Southend Borough Council are successful in winning a grant of £2.1million for improvements to the bus network across Southend. proposals include, Southend Travel Centre bus station overhaul including stops moved or altered and an Oyster card-style system. 20th September. A busy year. Southend RNLI are named they busiest coastal lifeboat station in the UK for the 2011 summer season launching a total of 71 times between 1st June and August 31 - an increase of 40 per cent compared to 2011. 22nd & 23rd September. 2nd Southend Pier busking festival. Local and national musicians descended on the town for the second Busking Festival. 5th December. Southend receives it's first snow fall of winter, only a light dusting this time! 6th October. Tornado storms through Southend. The A1 Peppercorn class steam loco "Tornado" visited Southend from a day trip to Canterbury Kent, this was to be her last passenger carrying service in her green livery, she was re-painted blue. 8th December. Tornado's return. The Peppercorn A1 Pacific class Tornado (60163) steam train returns to Southend in her striking new blue colour scheme for a day trip to Oxford. 21st December. Submarine HNLMS Brunvis Walrus class of the Royal Netherlands Navy sailed past the pier. 2013 1st January. Booming shells. A bait digger out on New Years Day uncovered 32 unexploded World War Two shells, they are later detonated by the bomb disposal squad in the Ray Gut just off Southend. 8th January. End of an era. It was the end of an era as the replica pirate ship the Queen Anne's Revenge is demolished, the site was once home to a replica of Sir Frances Drake's Golden Hind, this brought to an end the era of a "tall ship" being based on Southend Seafront. 20th January. Snow on sea. Southend received it's first real snow fall of the winter as up to two inches fall across the town. 23th January. Busy Lifeboat. Southend RNLI lifeboat station was announced as the busiest coastal lifeboat in the United Kingdom. The volunteer crews were called out 137 times rescuing 132 spending some 406 hours at sea. 31st January. 4GEEing ahead. Southend becomes one of just 27 towns and cities to gain the super fast 4G mobile phone. February. The railway bridge was replaced in the High Street, the original bridge constructed in 1883 had become structurally unsafe. February. Wave 2 City Deal for Southend. Southend is made one of 20 places in England to become part of the Government’s City Deal Scheme, which enables local authorities to have more say over planning and financial issues, the scheme could push forward the £300million regeneration scheme for sites across the Borough. 2nd February. Bye Bye Bridge. An end of a 130 year old Southend landmark was watched by hundreds of people as the old railway bridge over Southend High Street was removed and replaced with a new one in under 72 hours! 20th February. THE BLUES ARE GOING TO WEMBLEY! Southend United make it through to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final to play on the hallowed turf of Wembley after drawing with Leyton Orient, Southend go though thanks to a late Ben Reeves 90th minute equaliser, giving Southend a 3-2 aggregate score. 23rd February. Pier Wedding Bells. The first wedding to take place on Southend Pier is held in the new Cultural Centre when Ian & Emma Barnes tie the knot. 11th March. Arctic blast. Southend is hit by a blast of Arctic weather with temperatures falling to -6.8 in a matter of minutes, some 88tons of grit are put down on over 751miles of roads and paths. 16th March. Class 67 Diesel 67006 is drafted in to replace the poorly Tornado steam train for a special service to Bath & Bristol 19th March. A World War Two mine is detonated off Chalkwell at 10:08am the boom reverberates around Southend. 29th March. Pier Head Café re-opens as Ice Cream Parlour. April. Construction on the remedial works on the Cliff Slip nears completion with the planting of grass and wild flowers due to commence. Tuesday 9th April: Saxon King exhibition opens at Central Museum, with the restored glass jars on show. 8th June. The World’s Longest Power Boat Race The Venture Off-Shore Cup starts with a flying start off Southend Pier. POWER... Fugitive, Chinzano, Grey Ghost & Biretta Due fly past Southend Pier. 6th July. Scorching Southend! Southend's hottest day of the year the mercury hit 30C (86F)! 15th July. Southend retains it's Purple Flag award for a safe night life it was first awarded in 2012 by the Association of Town and City Management. 18th July. A Royal Visit: HRH Duke of Kent visits Southend, he preforms the official opening of the NEW RNLI shore based Lifeboat house and renames the Pier's cultural centre "The Royal Pavilion." 24th August. Day of Rain & Floods. Southend had been one of the driest parts of the UK but on one day in August it became the wettest as over 5 inches of rain fell over a five hour period. Many roads became rivers and many of the arcades on the seafront along with houses were flooded out. Luckily nobody was lost. 28thAugust. Foaming frenzy. Unknown jokers tipped something into the Civic Fountain resulting in this! September. New beach huts at Shoebury go up for lease. Leases will be sold to owners on a seven-year basis through estate agent Haart. A minimum price guide is £20,000. 2nd September. We are sailing... We are sailing. 12 identical, 70-foot, stripped down racing yachts with a total crew of 270 members line up for the start of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. 30th September. The Forum opens. The Forum Southend-on-Sea a unique project bringing together a public library, a college and a university, this will be the only facility of it's type in the UK, right in the heart of Southend-on-Sea town centre. The £27million project is a partnership between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College. The doors were opened to the public for the first time at 8:00am with the first through the doors receiving a limited edition commemorative bookmark. At 7:30 that evening the inaugural lecture was conducted in the lecture hall by professor Brian Cox, who had nothing but praise for the new building saying that every City and Town should follow Southend’s lead and recreate such facilities. 5th October. The Purple Festival! Fireworks and music spectacular takes place on Marine Parade. The Purple festival celebrates Southend holding a Purple Flag award for its safe and vibrate night life the event is hosted by pub and restaurant owners, the council, the SOS bus and the police. The even took place between 5pm until 9pm across three stages one at the top of the Pier Hill the second outside the Papillon and Chinnery’s with the final one by the police hut and water fountains at the Kursaal end of the seafront and its all FREE! 10th October. New open air High Street market opens. 12th October. The Only Way is Essex Star Lucy Mecklenburgh opened Lucy's Boutique on the ground floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre/Plaza. 19th & 20th October. 5th Annual Polish Arts Festival. 22nd October. HOT on the Buses. A Bus carrying approximately 12 passengers caught fire in Leigh earlier this evening. The single decker bus was travelling along London Road when its rear engine burst into flames near to the junction with Fillebrook Avenue. No passengers were hurt. 22nd October. For Sale. The popular Royals Shopping Centre in Southend High Street is up for sale for £32.5million. The centre, which is home to well-known high street chains such as Debenhams, Primark and Boots, has been put on the market by its owners Orchard Street Investment and is being sold through commercial estate agent Knights Frank. The Royals attracts more than 120,000 visitors each week and houses 23 stores. 25th - 27th October 2013. Southend Jazz Festival. 28th October. Storming in and out again. The first big storm of winter hits with wind speeds on 70 mph+ all train services are suspended for safety reasons and repairs to overhead cables once the storm had passed, trees in: Kenilworth Gardens Southend-on- Sea, Ronald Park Avenue Westcliff-on-Sea, Hobleythick Lane Westcliff-on-Sea, Wick Estate Southend-on-Sea, Seaforth Road Westcliff-on-Sea, Priory Park Southend-on-Sea, Southchurch Road Southend-on-Sea, St Augustines Avenue Southend-on-Sea, Scratton Road Southend-on-Sea, Tyrone Road Thorpe bay, Southchurch Park Southend-on-Sea, are blown down with more than 20 being lost borough wide. Housing boom. Southend is named the UK's house sale hotspot, House prices in Southend go up 1.6% in a year to an average of £152,881 selling roughly within two and a half weeks some 26 days faster than the previous year. 8th November. Former Conservative Cabinet Minister (Transport & Defence) turned TV Presenter Michael Portillo gives lecture at the Forum. 16th November. Christmas on Sea. The annual Christmas extravaganza includes, big light switch-on stage shows for song and dance, Snow White-themed lunchtime parade, including live reindeer’s pulling Santa on his sleigh, as well as samba and jazz bands and masked characters & firework spectacular on the seafront. 29th November 2013. Restaurant all at sea. Plans announced to rebuilt the single-storey KJ’s café into a two storey glass restaurant what would look like it is floating when the tide is in. 13th November. Lagoon-on-Sea. Plans for a large seawater lagoon are announced, it was proposed to be built by the three shells café alongside Adventure Island. The 120 metre wall would be 3 meters above sea level and built from steel and rock, the incoming tide would top up the water, palm frees are also proposed to ring the site as new public toilets are also included. 15th November. Porters Preservation. The historic Grade 1 listed 16th Century Mayors House "Porters" wind approval for a £200k restoration, the plans also include work on the Macebearer’s Cottage within the grounds of Porters. The cottage would be re-roof general repairs being carried out. Whilst Porters itself would see repairs to the historic wood panelling, new heaters new ventilation system and external lighting. Tuesday 3rd December. Range finding: National retailer The Range opens with huge queues waiting outside to see what the new store has to offer, people had been waiting since 5:00am for the 10:00am opening. 13th December. Flushed with success. Public conveniences at Bell Wharf, Leigh are awarded platinum status the highest possible accolade at the Loo of the Year 2013, seven gold status awards are also awarded to the toilets at Chalkwell Park, Crowstone, Sutherland Boulevard, Hamlet Court Road, Marine Parade, Pitman’s Close and Elm Road. 14th December. 44871 and 45407 "The Lancashire Fusilier" Black Five Steam Locos Southend- Chichester. 16th December. Road Scheme gains funding. A £3.2million rebuilding scheme for the A127/Nestuda Way Tesco junction, changes are proposed to included, Traffic lights and new lanes. 2014 3rd January. Storms batter seafront. With the winter storms continuing the seafront road between Pier Hill and Chalkwell Avenue is closed as gale force winds drive the high tide waves crashing over the seafront. 6th January. Shaken windows. The quiet of a normal day in Southend is suddenly shattered at 9:45am by a boom that shakes windows for miles around, the boom came from the detonation of nine WW2 Anti-Aircraft Shells that were frond 800m off the seafront at Westcliff the boom can be heard as far away as the airport. 4th January. But the sat nav said... ITV sent one of their cameramen to film the clash of Southend United against Championship side Millwall at Roots Hall in the FA Cup, to be shown on the news later however, after kick off was delayed by a fault with the flood lights the Southend United media boss Mr Biggs received a phone call from ITV stating that their cameraman had been blocked from entering the ground, so he phone the cameraman, who said he was standing outside the ground with a steward, after speaking to the steward Mr Biggs realised that the cameraman hod relied on his sat nav just a little too much and instead of taking him to Southend he had driven all the way to Southampton some 130 out of the way! ITV quickly dispatched a second cameraman this time with a correctly programmed sat nav! 17th January. Esplanade House finally bites the dust. The long derelict Esplanade House that had sat partly demolished for five years was finally decided to a mount of rubble and twisted metal, to make way for a future hotel and housing complex. 17th January. Proposals are shown for an 100 space amphitheatre to be built on Southend Pier Head, the proposals form part of a £1million refurbishment scheme for the pier. 20th January. Lighting the way home. Southend Borough Council announce plans to invest £2.65million replacing all street lights in the borough with LED bulbs, saving energy bills and cutting the carbon footprint,the brighter white light the bulbs produce will also improve the quality of images produced by CCTV and make it easier for drivers to spot potential hazards on roads at night. 31st January. New Library is a winner. The prestigious National Placemaking Awards ranks the new Forum as highly commended in the category of Best use of arts, culture or sport in placemaking in the awards scheme run by Regeneration and Renewal Magazine. February: Airport terminal extension opens. 12th February. 51mph winds and heavy rain once again batter Southend, a yellow weather alert is issued by the met office for the Southend Area. 16th February. Storm damage forces the temporary closure of Southend Pier, Part of the roof had been damaged and had to be repaired once the winds died down to make it safe for engineers to carry out the works. 17th February. Recycling on the up. Between April-August 2013 there was a 64% increase of food waste recycling across the Borough, a total of 822tons saving some £200,000 in land fill taxes. The discarded food in placed in bio-degradable bags these are then placed into blue plastic caddy bins that are collected separately too black bag waste and the other recyclable items, the food waste is turn into compost. March. Tram Stops New Life. Southend Borough Council agree to lease a former tram stop to the Tram Stop Project to rebuild it as a space for disabled and community groups. The last tram stopped at the site in July 1938, after trams had been overtaken by buses as the preferred method of transport. It was used as a changing room for bathers afterwards, but has been derelict for about 40 years. March. Green Airport. Southend Airports £10 million terminal extension has 496 solar panels fitted to its roof. 10th March. Bid boost. A £6million boost to Southend's economy is announced as part of the City Deal scheme. 12th March. Nice Birdy... An eagle escapes from its owner and spends an hour flying over the town before it is captured. 13th March. What Fog. Southend is shrouded in a dense sea fog reducing the temperature by some 8 degrees in a short time. 15th March. All steamed up. The steam train Britannia visited Southend Airport to pick up passenger for a day trip to Chichester. 26th March. Waken with a BANG! 25 World War Two shells are detonated off Shoebury. 28th March. Boxing legend. Sugar Ray Leonard visited he Boatyard restaurant, Old Leigh and the Locker Room boxing gym at Southend Central Station to talk about his life as a boxer. 29th March. A new era for all. After years of fighting for equal rights the first same sex marriages become legal at mid-night Christian Gilson was one of the first men in the country to take advantage of the change, when he married Steve Hanafin, 46, at Southend Register Office at 11.30am on Saturday. 30th March. The first Classic Vehicle Breakfast takes place in Marie parade 30 classic cars are on show. 31st March. Sand banksy. A series of artistic sand creations are spotted on the foreshore at Westcliff but soon disappear as the tide washes over them. 4th April. Southend Pier One of England’s greatest. Southend Pier was listed as one of England’s 60 greatest attractions. 5th April. Happy Happidrome. Eight months after devastating flooding the historic Happidrome amusement arcade reopens after a £280,000 refurbishment. 8th April. Lights Camera Ice Cream! Chocolate company Cadburys start shooting an advert in Southend for a new ice cream, they set up and get everything ready, the sun shone brightly and then with just a few clouds in the sky it starts raining...! However, this was no ordinary rain it was in fact man made with a large red tanker parked just out of shot, shooting had started the day before but filming was abandoned when it rained for real! 12th April. Please Keep Your Shirt On. Adventure Island issues a new rule for everyone to keep their shirts on when in the theme park, the rule copies that of the vast majority of American theme parks, which already have the informal dress code. 17th April. It is announced that the 130 year old Alexandra Yacht Club House is to be demolished as the building had major structural failings due to subsidence. 18th April. Take a dip. The quality of Southend seawater was given a seal of approval by The Marine Conservation Society in their Good Beach Guide for 2014. The beaches at Shoebury Common, Thorpe Bay, Three Shells, Westcliff and Chalkwell Beach were all listed as recommended. Whilst Jubilee Beach and Bell Wharf, Leigh passed with satisfactory grading. 21st April. Shakedown roars in to town. The 16th annual Southend Shakedown hits town bringing the sun with it, thousands of bikes and bikers ride into town with thousands more drawn to the seaside thanks to the warm sunny weather, car parks fill up quickly and some shops run out of ice cream with emergency supplies having to be ordered. 27th April. Drive it Sunday. Classic Cars assemble on Southend's City Beach for Drive it Sunday. 30th April. Celebrity in his restaurant. Celebrity chief Mark Baumann announced plans to open one of his Bourgee Luxe Lounge restaurants on Southend Seafront. The building chosen was the historic Britannia public house most recently used as an Indian restaurant. He said: “Southend has had a massive amount of investment put into it and I believe it’s going to be. May Day Bank Holiday Weekend. Sunshine-on-Sea. The sun shines brightly, the sea is blue the crowds flock into town and set the tills a jingling. Rossi’s Ice Cream keep the factory open longer to keep the seafront traders supplied with all the ice cream they need. 2nd May. WORLD PREMIER. Southend plays host to the World premier of two lost Peter Sellers films, the two films Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You, were lost for 60 years before they were found in a skip, during the renovation of the offices of the defunct Park Lanes Films. The films form the start attraction of the annual Southend Film Festival and draws a celebrity audience including: Mackenzie Crook, Lisa Stansfield, Helen Lederer, Joely Collins and Vicki Michelle. 4th May. Free Concerts in the Park. The ever popular Concerts in the Park start up with a concert held every Sunday throughout May, they start at 3:00pm and run until 5:00pm, a Jazz concert is held on both the Monday bank Holidays. Sunday 4th May. Southend Wind Orchestra takes to the podium at the bandstand in Priory Park, Victoria Avenue, Monday 5th May. Just John a solo singer fund-raising for Southend Hospital followed by Southend Jazz Cooperative, Sunday 11th May. Avanti Jazz Ensemble, Sunday 18th May. Whirlwind Quintet, Sunday 25th May. Tilbury Brass Academy, Monday 26th May. Carol Braithwaite Jazz Crew. Other concerts are held on selected Sundays throughout June, July, August & September. 9th May. 94th Mayor Inaugurated. The 94th mayor of Southend was officially inaugurated at the Civic Centre. Mr Chris Walker who is a retired funeral director, represents Eastwood Park Ward, he was first elected to the Council in May 1997. 20th May. Cromwellian Shipwreck to give up its Secrets. A major two year dive and recovery begins on the 17th century shipwreck of Oliver Cromwell’s flagship the “London”. The ship that sank in March 1665 had lain unknown for 340 until it was discovered in 2005, during survey work in preparation for the dredging of a deep water channel for the new London Gateway port in Thurrock. The two year dive programme being undertaken by Cotswold Archaeology, a charitable trust, with funding from English Heritage, the work on the rapidly deteriorating vessel is aiming to salvage any artefacts that can be found in and around the wreck. These will be passed to Southend Museums Service who secured a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to develop a community project recording the finds, a permanent display and publication about the wreck. The exact location of the wreck is being kept secret to prevent anyone diving the protected site without permission. 22nd May. Return of the Red & Cream. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Westcliff Motor Services the current company First Bus bought a Dennis Trident double decker bus and painted in the resplendent cream and red colours that were carried by the Westcliff Motor Services buses up until the 1960’s when they were absorbed in to Eastern National and the green and cream livery took over. 22nd May. Breaking Ground for Hotel. The first diggers started digging prior to the laying of the foundations for a new Premier Inn hotel on the long vacant gasworks site, the 81 bedroom hotel is expected to create 65 jobs, with other jobs being created in a Brewers Fayre restaurant in Southend. 25th May. Classic Car Breakfast 2. The second Classic Vehicle Breakfast takes place 31 classic cars are parked on City Beach. 28th May. High Street change. The discount retailer Discount UK closed for a refit and re-brand becoming a Bargain Buys store. 2nd June. Any landing you can walk away from… A Cessna light aircraft made a heavy landing at Southend Airport resulting it is skidding off the runway ending up on the grass alongside with minor damage to the aircraft, the pilot walked away. 9th June. New Pub. The Saxon King Public House opens its doors for the first time, the pub built on the site of a long closed car sales building is a short distance from the grave site of the Saxon King that was found on Priory Crescent. 11th June. See even more Sea life! The Sea Life Adventure on Eastern Esplanade is given planning permission to expand its buildings almost doubling in size, the new addition will provide space for crocodiles and seals. 13th June. Shelter to shine. An old and underused sun shelter on Westcliff seafront was given planning permission to be converted into a café/bar creating 12 jobs and opening from 8am to 11pm from Monday to Saturday. The conversion and preservation scheme will see the glass fronted façade restored and an open air seating area out the front. The entire café could cater for up to 42 people at a time. 22nd June. Breakfast Classics. The third Vintage cars on Sea Breakfast takes place at City beach. 24th June. Beach reopens. Shoebury East Beach re-opens to the public after being closed for over a month following the discovery of a dozen WW2 shells and a number of WW2 machine guns. 25th June. Greener Gateway. Plans are announced to alter the Victoria gateway road junction, plans show raised green spaces and more trees, whilst further along Queensway a “Pocket Park” is proposed at the junction on Queens Way and Boston Avenue taking in a small green island. 26th June. Sailing on the deep blue sea. 84 traditional sailing boats take part in the Nore Race, from Southend Pier to the Kent coast and back Southend sailing race, the race has been taking place every year except the war years since 1922. The 2014 race was won by Simon Boygle, of Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, finishing in three hours and 26 minutes in his multi-hull dinghy Fat Cat. All 84 boats finished the course, the last one coming in just two minutes inside the six-hour time limit. 26th June. Gunners Park Alert. Four WW2 bombs were found on the foreshore close to Gunners Park forcing the closure of the park whilst they were dealt with by controlled explosion. The four bombs were close to the derelict Barge Pier. 27th June. Kids Boost. The Better Start scheme a National Lottery scheme awards Southend £40million to redesign services to improve young children’s social and emotional development, nutrition, and language and communication development. 28th June. The Concert returns. The ever popular Concert in Priory Park returns after a two year break, the music spectacular organised by the Rotary Club of Rayleigh Mill, played host to the English Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Louis Clark, playing a mix of hits from the legendary Hooked On Classics album series, plus some additional music from films, the Beatles and a very special ELO hit arranged specially for the concert. The concert ended with a “Last Night of the Proms” section with fireworks lighting up the night sky. 1st July. Arts boost. Southend’s huge arts and culture scene is given a boost when the Arts Council for England award arts group Metal £1.693m and a further £550,000 for the Focal Point Gallery in Southend. 7th July. Roads boost. The Government agree to a £155million road improvement package for South Essex. A number of road across South Essex are planned for improvements with Southend’s Victoria Avenue in line for a £7million boost, Southend’s Victoria Avenue will also get a facelift, while transport in the town will get a £7million boost, improvements are also proposed for Kent Elms and The Bell junctions. 10th July. On Your Bike. A new cycling scheme is launched at Southend Victoria Railway Station by Abellio Greater Anglia (the railway operating company). Bike and Go is the United Kingdom’s first major station cycle hire scheme that enables commuters to hire a bike to cycle to and from the station. 12th July. 50 years of the Cliffs Pavilion: Southend’s main theatre celebrated 50 years of entertaining the public (it was officially opened on 4th July 1964). 13th July. Libraries Golden Anniversary. Kent Elms Library, in Eastwood, celebrated its Golden Anniversary a calibration took place on Saturday 19th July. The library was officially opened by Alderman Everard Ernest Morris. 15th July. Puccini at the Forum: Puccini’s La Boheme was shown on the big screen outside Southend’s Forum (library) it is the second of three screenings planned will be shown on the screen outside the Forum (the first was Verdi’s La Traviata in May) 200+ attend the screening with some setting up more than an hour before it was due to start. 16th July. Adventure Island Trip Adviser Top Ten. Southend’s very own theme park Adventure Island retains its place in the top ten theme parks in the UK recommended by Trip Adviser. 20th July. Deluge. Heavy rains cause roads to flood across Southend, trains are stopped in their tracks by flooding on the lines and a lightning strike on signalling at Billericay whilst Southend Hospital is forced to evacuate the A&E Department after water cover the floor. The Environment Agency placed flood warnings on the Prittle Brook, the River Roach and Eastwood Brook as all three reach bursting point. August. Chocolate & Ice Cream Heaven. Creams Café a specialist in ice cream opens its door in London Road. 16th August. The Beecroft Galleries first exhibition since relocating from its old site opens, the Beauty and the Beach features swimsuits through the ages which form part of the towns collection of costumes. 16th August. Spurs in Southend. Tottenham Hotspur launch a pop up shop on Southend High Street. 17th August. Merlin’s Purr. Southend Airport is bought to a standstill as the sky is filled with the noise of Rolls Royce Merlin’s as the words last two airworthy Avro Lancaster’s fly into the airport along with two Spitfire and a DC3 Dakota. They flew into Southend as Biggin Hill were they were due to land had a gusting cross wind. One of the Lancaster bombers called "Vera" had flown in stages to the UK from its home in Canada the other was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flights "Thumper." 22nd August. The Lancaster’s Return. Southend Airport would be become the base for the two Lancaster’s a Spitfire and a Hurricane they depart on Saturday 23rd August, but not before a unique photo. 23rd August. Adrenaline Rush. The Animal WD-40 Action Sports Tour hits Southend’s City beach. The BMX and MTB bikes put on a show of skills with half pipes and jumps wowing families gathered to watch the skills. 23rd August. Historic Yacht Club Fire. The 130 year old building that was home to the Alexandra Yacht Club was destroyed by fire. The building had been vacated by the club as it was found to be suffering from subsidence, the fire took more than 30 fire-fighters to bring under control in a two hour long operation. 24th August. The classic Thames Barge Match sees 11 of the majestic barges take part, the biggest number for many years. September. The Esplanade is sold. The Esplanade public house which has stood on Western Esplanade for more than 100 years is sold for redevelopment. The new owners Swedish firm Redab Properties announce that they are looking forward to bringing the building back to life. The pub is due to continue to operate until Autumn 2015 after which it faces demolition due to a 8mmwide crack across the length of the building. September. The Aussies are coming. The Royals Shopping Centre welcomes the Australian plus size clothing store Taking Shape, it is the first of the brand to open in Essex and the 20th in the UK. 2nd September. Sinking Airport. Southend and North Kent breathe a huge sigh of relief as the airport commission announce they will not progress with a proposal for a four runway super hub airport on the Isle of Grain it is branded too expensive and too economically the £100 billion for the airport with a further £15billion on roads and £25billion on railway infrastructure torpedo the plan, supporters however call for further reconsideration. 10th September. Beecroft opens (officially). The grand official opening of the relocated Beecroft Art Gallery takes place with speeches from Martin Huxter the artist who created the New Potato Eaters based on Van Gogh’s original work, Martin Huxter was able to track down descendants of van Gogh original sitters. 10th September. High Visibility Lobster. A rare albino lobster sets up home at the Southend Sea Life Adventure after being caught in fisherman’s nets off Dorset. 13th September. The Russians arrive. A replica of an 18th century Russian tall ship moored up at Southend Pier the 112ft-long frigate “Shtandart” held an open ship over the weekend for people to explore the ship. It was built and launched from St Petersburg, Russia in 1999, weighing in at 22tons it has 20 permanent crew. 13th September. Dining with the Stars. Star Chef mark Baumann open his Bourgee restaurant in the former Tiffins restaurant, the £1million make over brings celebrities such as former rugby player Thom Evans Celebrity Big Brother contestant Casey Batchelor, celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, TOWIE star Ferne McCann and her boyfriend Charlie Sims to the opening night. 17th September. Riggoletto. The third and final live opera event is screened. 19th September. Storm strike. Southend was hit by a large storm resulting in flooding across the town, the seafront was one of the worst hit with the Happidrome and Las Vegas arcades being swamped with rain water, nine people had to be rescued from cars and flooded basement flats. More than 100 calls for help were recorded between 9:30pm 1130pm with up to 4 inches of rain falling. Flooding also effected Woodgrange Drive and Thorpe Hall Avenue, Harp House Roundabout by the airport and the sea life centre needed to be pumped out. The Pearl Dragon Restaurant, also in Eastern Esplanade saw the roof collapse. 21st September. Salute the few. Past servicemen and women and local dignitaries gather to remember the Battle of Britain with a church service and march past from St John’s Church to the Royal Navy and Military Club. 21st September. The fourth and final Classic cars on Sea event takes place. 1st October. £6million gamble. The Grosvenor casino opens at the Park Inn Palace Hotel in Southend costing some £6million to set up. It is the third casino in Southend. Over 100 jobs are created by the 24hours casino. The new casino features an Essex sports bar, games tables, slots, electronic roulette, a poker room, with a hall of fame for the most successful players, and a high stakes Gold Room and learn-to-play tables where customers can be walked step-by-step through the games. 1st October. A Fishy Business. Proposals to set up a sole fish farm in the Thames estuary are announced in an attempt to revive dwindling fish stocks. 14th October. Marine Plaza Plans Revealed. Plans for the redevelopment of the land between Marine Parade, Southchurch Avenue and Pleasant Road are revealed comprising of 282 flats over six blocks of flats one of them 14 stories tall, restaurants, shops and bars and a public plaza, also featuring an underground car park with space for 318 cars and 449 residents’ cycle racks. The redevelopment site includes the derelict “Dizzyland” site, Foresters Arms pub, several empty derelict houses and other houses currently occupied but owned by the developers. 21st October. Gonzalo Storm in. The tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo storms in over Southend with more of a whimper than the predicted storms, high winds and battering rain that was aid to be on it’s way. 21st October. Seaway Car Park Redevelopment. Proposals are announced for major redevelopment of the Seaway Car Park just behind the seafront, a range of restaurants and a multiplex cinema are planned with such food outlets as Chiquitos, Coast 2 Coast, and Frankie and Benny’s all named as being interested in taking units in the development. 24th October. Fisherman’s Wharf Plans. The popular seafront restaurant Fisherman’s Wharf announces plans for a complete transformation costing £1.8million, proposals include the total demolition and rebuilding of the site, from a single storey to two storey including more glazing and an outside eating area. 27th October. High and Dry Boat. A large motorboat being transported from Southend to a boat yard becomes wedged on railings at Cuckoo Corner. 28th October. Fire on Pier. The fire alarm was sounded as fire broke out on Southend Pier once again, the fire on the shore end walkway was thankfully only small and was quickly put out using backpacks of water, however the call was responded too by four fire engines which is the pre-determined response due to the nature of the pier and that people could be cut off by the fire. 30th October. Purr on you Blues. Three kittens are found under a stairwell at Southend United Roots Hall stadium, the three named Shrimp, Bluesy and Ronnie were thought to be the off spring of Scarlett a stray who has made the stadium her home. 30th October. Skyworks start work. Swiss airline Skyworks pull their services out of London City Airport and relocated to Southend Airport flying into Bern. The service runs twice daily during the week with a single flight on Sundays. 30th October. Work started on a tidy up of the seabed area around Southend Pier Head, this was to help anglers stop snagging their lines on under water obstructions, the clean up produced, 140 lead weights and end tackle, a tonne of nylon, electrical waste and wooden items, a fire extinguisher, a five-gallon container full of chain and a 50m length of steel cable. 9th November. Plane lands on Pier. A full size replica of a WW1 Sopwith Pup was due to “land” on Southend Pier, however, a strong gusting wind prevents it from being exhibited on the pier on Saturday 8th so it arrives the following day, it carries the markings of, 37 Home Defence Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, who flew the aircraft over Southend on July 7, 1917, when intercepting a German raid making its way back along the Thames from London. 10th November. Jobs Bonanza Move Closer. The long awaited announcement that a development partner had been chosen for a major new business park. Henry Boot Developments are the chosen group to forge ahead with the airport business park, which is actually in the District of Rochford but built on land owned by Southend Borough Council. A planning application is due to be submitted in 2015 with a determined aim to start work on site during 2016. 12th November. Airport Alert. A light aircraft ran off the runway damaging its propeller, No-one was injured and n flights were delayed. 15th November. Let there be light. The Southend switched by by pop star Olly Murs. 17th November. The Greener way to fly. Southend Airport’s £10million terminal extension is awarded a “Very Good” rating from BREEAM the world's leading design and assessment method for sustainable buildings. The building achieved a 57.9 per cent after being assessed on ten criteria, including land use, water and minerals, 10% of the buildings energy consumption comes from on-site renewable with solar panels on the roof and air source heat pumps to supply heating throughout the building. A wild flower garden adds to the biodiversity of the site. 29th November. Beecroft Exhibition. A new exhibition opens at the Beecroft Gallery showing the works of Alan Sorrell, featuring local landscapes, historical reconstructions and preparatory sketches for murals belonging to the Beecroft Art Gallery. 22nd November Sunday 23rd November. Victoria and the Elephants. Victoria Shopping Centre store Teddy Station throws its weight behind The Elephant Parade charity and secures the exhibition of three special elephants, The store has Zooey Elephant, by artist Emma Kemp, and Baku, by artist Pelle Moeller Schiodt, and Ice Creamy, by artist Katrina. 9th December. Corsa you can film. Vauxhall drive into Southend to shoot their new advert for the Corsa crews are spotted at various locations throughout the town including Southend. The Corsa was painted banana yellow and sported the number plate “LYV 2II.” December. Christmas Nativity with Henry vacuum cleaners in the window of Sale Appliances 531 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea. Wednesday 10th December. Weather Bomb. The MET Office issue a severe weather warning with a warning of heavy rain and 70mph winds predicted to batter Southend, luckily t he worst of the weather misses Southend. 11th December. Seaway Leisure Park Proposed. The first images of a proposed £50million leisure complex are revealed, the proposals include a ten-screen cinema, 11 restaurants, a 480-space multi-storey car park (the current car park has 453), and 99 apartments. Proposals include the demolition and re-location of the council owned Rossi Ice Cream factory so that a pubic open space can be included in the plan. 12th December. No Flights permitted. A computer outage at the main UK Air Traffic Control Centre in Swanwick, Hampshire closes all of London’s airspace to all departing flights whilst some arrivals are permitted to enter and land, the closure lasts several hours before flights return to normal. 15th December. Restaurant fire. A fire broke out Vienna restaurant on Eastwood Road, Leigh, the quick reactions of fire crews saved the building. 20th December. The TRUE meaning of Christmas. What seemed like a perfectly normal shopping Saturday in Southend High Street suddenly changed as a “flash mob” broke cover. The band of the Salvation Army who had disguised themselves as buskers were joined by “shoppers” who were in-fact a team from the Show Choir who broke into a round of Christmas carols, as they sung Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds, an angel and the Three Wise Men walked from the crowd that had gathered and formed themselves in to living nativity scene. 24th December. Leigh-on-Sea cliff slip. The footpaths crossing Cliff Parade Leigh, are closed after the cliffs slip, resulting in large cracks opening up in footpaths, the heavy rains of 2013 and part of 2014 are blamed for saturating the ground.
Chase High School
North Road Chapel
Camp Cuckoo
Deeping Underpass
East Road Fire Prittlewell
Ray Winstone
York Road Market Site
Shoebury Youth Centre
Royal Anglians on Parade
Roller Coaster Naked Ride
Snowy Southend
On stage at the Cliffs Pavilion
Jefferies Solicitors
Pier Head Cultural Centre
Duke of Gloucester
Olympic Torch
Snowy Southend Scene
Tornado Steam Train
Snowy Seafront on Sea
High Street Bridge Replacement
Diesel Draft
Venture Off-Shore Cup
Silly Suds
Professor Cox
Mr Portilio
Lancashire Fusilier Steam Train
Sopwith Pup
Elephant Parade
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