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

2015 - 2019
2015 1st January. Congratulations Sir. Southend West MP Sir David Amess is Knighted in the Queens New Years honours list for political service. 2nd January. Emergency landing. Southend Airport was put on full alert as a twin engine ATR 72 turboprop airliner with 28 people on board reported it had an engine fire. The aircraft had taken off from Jersey and had been heading to London City Airport but diverted into Southend. The aircraft landed safely on one engine and it was later discovered that the fire warning had come from a faulty indicator. 2nd January. Goodbye Churchills, Hello Mangetout. After 20 years of entertaining the night club Churchills closed its doors for the last time. The hugely popular restaurant Mangetout buy up the building with the view of expanding the restaurant to more than double its size and include barbecue restaurant and cocktail bar. 8th January. A glowing report. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Penny Mordaunt MP, visited Southend Airport and said that it was a leading example of success and that is unrecognisable from the local airfield it was just seven years ago and is clearly having a major impact on the town, creating hundreds of new jobs and acting as a magnet for further investment. 12th January. Plugged In! Southend Council announce plans to fit solar panels to housing stock properties to help reduce the cost of energy bills to residents any access power would be fed back into the National Grid making a small income for the Council. 23rd January - 1st February. It’s a scream on sea. The White Bus Theatre Company bring back the popular Horror on Sea event. 27th January. Esplanade plans announced. Plans to redevelop the Esplanade pub site with new restaurant and flats are announced, proposals include solar panels, rainwater recycling, ground water heating and cooling. The current building suffers from a crack running the entire length of the building at ground level. Right. The proposed building bringing new life to the seafront. With thanks to Redab Properties. 28th January. RNLI Busy busy busy: The Southend RNLI are named as the 3rd busiest station in the UK and the busiest in Essex. 29th January. Up up and away. Southend Airport flies 1 million passengers in a year. The airport had 1,090,626 passengers pass through, beating 2013’s figure of 970,167. 29th January. Business Park takes a step forward. Central Government shows faith in the proposed airport business parks with a grant of £3.2million, the business parks are predicted to create 7,000 jobs. 30th January. Snowy Southend. Southend receives its first snow of the year with a light dusting falling in the early hours of the morning, it mostly melts by midday. 3rd February. Love is in the air. Online retailer Postcode Anywhere announces the loved up people of Southend bought presents online in the run-up to Valentine’s Day last year than any other place in the UK. 11th February. Hospital Bomb Scare. A hand grenade is found on the second floor of Southend Hospital tower block, it is removed by bomb disposal. 12th February. Museum Bomb Scare. Bomb disposal unit is called into check a hand grenade. 18th February. Purple Flag. Southend retains its purple flag for a safe night life scene. 20th February. Happy Birthday. The Tesco superstore on Prince Avenue celebrates its 20th anniversary. 23rd February. New Hotel. The Premier Inn hotel opens on the old gasworks site. 9th March. Leigh-on-Sea 4th best place to live. The Times "Bricks & Mortar" publication names Leigh as the forth best place to live in the UK out of the top 30. Only beaten by Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, Bakewell in Derbyshire and top town Bath in Somerset. Reasons for the high position are the cockle sheds in Old Leigh, its proximity to London, the high performing grammar schools in nearby Westcliff, and the annual Leigh Art Trail as some of the reasons behind its success. 11th March. Westcliff Hotel sold. The 100+ year old Westcliff Hotel is sold to the Indian-based MGM Muthu Hotels. 15th March. Classic Car Breakfast. The first Classic car breakfast of 2015 takes place at City Beach. 20th March. Eclipse or not... A 85% eclipse of the sun darkens the sky over Southend as the moon passes in-front of the sun, unfortunately it was overcast. Science fact, the Sun is 400x bigger than the moon but the moon is 400x closer to the Earth than the Sun thus we get eclipses. 27th March. New Bank. A new branch of the expanding Metro Bank opens in Southend High Street. April. Historic Building new lease of life: Approval is give to convert the historic Baryta House office block in to 72 flats. Baryta House was the worlds first pre-cast multi-storey building, it went up a floor a week! April. An Indoor Adventure: Adventure Island opens its new £5million indoor amusement park that included, café, rides, and a Star Wars toy exhibition. April. Southend gets its first Buddhist temple. 3rd April. A steam fair sets up in Chalkwell Park, with rides and a side shows, it also sees the return of the Wall of Death to Southend for the first time in decades. 5th April. The Southend Shakedown bike rally returns to Southend tens of thousands of bikes bring a hive of activity to Southend seafront. 19th April. Classic Car Breakfast. 8th May. Re-elected. Southend MP's Sir Davis Amess & James Duddridge, whilst local elections sees the town fall in to no over all control, the ruling "rainbow" coalition (Independents Group, Labour, Liberal Democrats) for a unity with ex-UKIP members. 10th May. 100th anniversary of Zeppling Raid on Southend. 14th May. Last 315. The last Class 315 to operate services into Southend Victoria pulls in for the last time. 14th May. New Mayor. Southend’s new Mayor announced as Andrew Moring. 18th May. After sitting empty for 20 years plans are announced to convert the dilapidated ex-Prudential nine storey office block in to 72 flats, previous plans had been for a 119-bed. 14th - 17th May. The tall ship Mercedes visits Southend Pier. 16th May. Ice scream. Star of reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex Joey Essex opens a new Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour, on Marine Parade. 17th May. Classic Car Breakfast. 19th May. Busy busy airport. After closing for emergency works flights heading for London City Airport have to divert into Southend Airport, fourteen flights divert into Southend including: 7.15 BA Cityflyer from Rotterdam, 7.20 BA Cityflyer from Amsterdam, 7.20 Cityjet from Antwerp, 7.25 Cityjet from Rotterdam, 7.30 Luxair from Luxembourg, 7.45 Flybe from Belfast City, 7.45 Flybe from Edinburgh, 8.15 Cityflyer from Anwerp, 8.20 BA Cityflyer from Madrid, 8.20 BA Cityflyer from Zurich, 9.10 Flybe from Exeter, 9.25 Flybe from Edinburgh, 9.05 Flybe from Aberdeen, 10.45 BA Cityflyer from Biland. 22nd May. Did the earth move for you dear. British Geological Survey record a 4.2 magnitude at 5:52am, the epicentre 1.4 miles off Ramsgate. 23rd May. Blue Victory. Southend United head off to Wembley to face Wycombe Wanderers, in the League 2 Play off final, it ends 0 - 0 at full time so goes to extra time when Wycombe score...With 20 seconds left it looks to be all over for Southend when Joe Pigott fires home an injury time equaliser, the final whistle blows and its a penalty shoot out, Southend go on to win 7 - 6 after two Wycombe Wanderers penalty’s are saved by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley. 25th May. Victory Parade. Southend United parade the trophy round town, leaving Roots Hall, heading up Victoria Avenue and along London Road to Chalkwell Avenue before turning on to the seafront and heading along to the Kursaal. 3rd June. Airport Emergency. A ATR72 operated by Blue Islands from Jersey to London City Airport was forced to divert in to Southend after a warning indication. 5th June. More flooding. A short heavy cloud burst saw over 5mm of rain fall n to Southend in less the 15minutes, the cliffs at Western Esplanade that were undergoing stabilisation sees mud washed across the road. 5th June. Ghost trees. The annual outbreak of the Ermine caterpillar spinning their webs if silvery cloaks turns trees and benches into an eerie looking spectacle. 6th & 7th June. First Maritime Festival. After funding was secured from the Coastal Communities Fund the festival features live music rowing, sand castle-making and sculptures, history talks, bouncy castles, food stalls and boat trip from the end of the pier. 14th June. Magna Carta. The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta takes place at Priory park, the Magna Carta was the founding basis of law, rights and representation in Britain today. 21st June. Classic Cars on Sea. 22nd June. The raising of the flag for the Armed Forces weekend. 27th & Sunday 28th June. Armed Forces weekend. 24th June. Street lights light up. Southend Council agree a funding package of £8.2million loan from the Green Investment Bank that will see the roll out of LED street lighting gather pace with a target of replacing all 17,000 by the end of 2018. Sunday 28th June. Vulcans (almost) last farewell. As part of the last year of flying the only Avro Vulcan flying XH558 was under taking a nationwide tour of all the surviving V Force aircraft, Southend Airport has it’s very own Vulcan XL426 maintained in live condition by the Vulcan Restoration Trust. 1st July. Lanzarote here we come: Southend Airport based Easyjet announces it is to launch a service to Lanzarote. 2nd July. TAXI! The London and Southend Taxi Drivers’ Fund bring 300 children to Southend an the annual trip to the seaside, they have lunch at the Cliffs Pavilion and fun and thrills at Adventure Island. 4th July. Oyster Creek Kitchen opens. After a £500,000 restoration an old dilapidated sun shelter on the Leas at Westcliff that had been under used for many years and were slowly crumbling were carefully restored to save the building for the future and generate employment for the town. 7th July. Sun, Sea & Rubbish. After one of the hottest days of the year ten tons of rubbish are collected from the seafront. 7th July. Plans are revealed to replace the derelict Carby & Heath Houses with a modern development of 280 flats with a rooftop garden, concierge service, and gym, by September 2017. 16th July. Adventure Island Award. Traveller's Choice Awards puts Southend’s Adventure Island as the UK’s third best amusement parks and one of the best in Europe and the 11th in Europe. 20th July. Flooding returns. Heavy rain co-insides with a high tide and a pump failure to cause flooding in Victoria Road, Shaftesbury Avenue and Retort. 20th July. Another boat hits the Pier! A small catamaran with two people on-board struck the pier and needed to be pulled clear by the RNLI with their Atlantic 75 lifeboat. 15th July. Historic restoration. Formally the “Shrubbery Café” No: 15 Royal Terrace had sat decaying for a number of years, however ambitious plans for it’s restoration into seven flats is announced. 22nd July. Old new friend. The new Courtway house emerges from behind the scaffolding after it was completely rebuilt after a devastating fire that gutted the whole building, to aid with its rebuild mouldings were taken of the stonework before the wrecked building was demolished. 25th July. Boom boat. A fishing boat struck the old Cold War defence boom at Shoebury becoming stuck fast, it was floated clear on the following high tide. 26th July. ABC Fire. The old ABC/New Empire Theatre is devastated by a fire started deliberately… August. 71 years asleep. 71 years previously that the Liberty Ship the SS Richard Montgomery sank in the Thames Estuary, she still has a load of munitions on board. 1st August. Bus stops traffic. A coach breaks down on Western Esplanade causing major traffic disruption. 12th August. Gun Carriage salvaged. A unique 350 year old gun carriage was brought ashore from the wreck of the London, the 17th century warship sank in 1665 after a gunpowder explosion. The gun carriage includes much of its equipment including ropes still attached. It is the only know example from the era known to exist, after being lifted it was taken to York for preservation before it will be returned to Southend for exhibition. 15th August. Farewell to the Delta. The last ever flypast by an Avro Vulcan. 16th August. Wheely good news. One of the wheels that was missing from the recovered gun carriage on the 12th August was lifted from the wreck site, in remarkably good condition, with plans to recover the second, and reunite them with the carriage. 22nd August. Southend Carnival. 25th August. Casino Birthday. The Genting Club celebrates the company’s 50th anniversary. 30th August. Thames Barge Match. 31st August. The Round the World Clipper Race sets off from Southend Pier in pouring rain. The 12 teams will take 11 months to sail 40,000 miles, they are expected to return in July 2016. 5th September. Italian festival with food, cars and bikes. 5th September Rugby World Cup. The Webb Ellis Cup, which was famously held aloft by England captain Martin Johnson back in 2003 visited Westcliff Rugby Club. 20th September. The 43rd of the Leigh Festival, featuring a host of boats, live music performances, and entertainments. 22nd September. New Cinema proposal. National chain Cineworld announces plans to be a tenant of the proposed Fossetts Farm development featuring a new stadium for Southend United, Flats, Retail and restaurants. 26th September. The plus size fashion Yours reopen the Southend store after a refit. 28th September. Another new cinema planned. Proposals for a possible IMAX cinema are announced for the Seaway development. 2nd October. ATC Lasham aircraft maintenance based at Southend Airport goes into administration. 3rd October. Purple Festival celebrating Southend safe night time economy lights up the seafront with music and fireworks. 5th October. New rubbish collection Veolia officially took over from Cory collecting Southend waste, recycling, beach cleaning and graffiti removal. 6th October. TAKE COVER. Two four inch anti-aircraft shells are discovered on Western Esplanade, they are destroyed by a controlled detonation. 6th October. Stars on the Pier. TV Presenter Fearne Cotton visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier. 8th October. Dr Who on the Pier. Former Dr Who star David Tennant visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier. 9th October. Hotels new lease of Life. The historic Royal Hotel at the top of Pier Hill after being closed and locked for over a year is set for a new lease of life as proposals are announced to convert the building in to a upmarket restaurant. 11th October. Riding High. Southend’s Adventure Island theme park is named the 4th friendliest theme park in the world beating Disneyland! 13th October. Comedian Jack Whitehall visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier. 14th October. Goldie Hawn visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier. 15th October. Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom visits Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their pop up restaurant on the end of Southend Pier. 18th October. Car crash: A car was discovered wedged fast partway down the historic Holland Road steps. 19th October. New revised plans are submitted for the redevelopment of esplanade pub. 25th October. Nude Rollercoaster 2. A second World Record attempt to break their own record fails to get more nude coasters riders than first time round. 26th September. Plans are announced to create a up-market restaurant in the former Pizza Hut store. 27th October. Take cover AGAIN! Second World War shell is discovered on the mud flats, members of the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Team have to wait for the tide to drop before carrying out a controlled detonation. Tuesday 27th October. New Store. The High Street fashion retailer H&M open their first standalone Home wears and Beauty store. Wednesday 28th October. The Beadles Group announce plans to open a Jaguar Land Rover show room in Southend. 30th October. Southend retailer closes down. The Baby goods company Zebedee in Alexandra road closes it door for the last time after 44 years of trading. 31st October. Spooking Shopping. The Royals Shopping Centre has a special adult’s only showing of horror film Halloween. 31st October. Thick fog blankets Southend, eleven flights are cancelled to and from Southend Airport. 3rd November. 7000 Jobs on the way. Plans for a new £150million business park are announced, the Saxon Park development could generate as many as 7000 jobs, the scheme is also proposed to be home of the Anglia Ruskin University Medical Research Centre. 6th November. Flying away. Easyjet launch flights to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. 8th November. Remembrance Sunday. 9th November. More Fun at The Kursaal. Plans are submitted to breath new life into the Kursaaal including A quasar laser tag centre in the former McDonald’s unit, Costa Coffee beneath the Kursaal’s iconic dome, new bar and seating area in the bowling area, huge soft play children’s area, An adult gaming centre, featuring arcade machines, new circular sign above the McDonalds unit, branding the centre ‘Fantasy Land’. 11th November. The Southend cenotaph is upgraded by Historic England to grade 2* status after research shows it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the Whitehall Cenotaph as well as 44 other First World War memorials across the country. 12th November. Jobs blow. Southend is dealt a hammer blow was the 40 year long association with HMRC is bought to an end with the announcement that they are to pull out of the town as HMRC announce they are to leave Southend, 14th November. Southend Christmas lights switch on and ice rink opens first in six years. 16th November. More job losses. Insure and Go announce they are pulling out of Southend with 100 jobs lost. 18th November. Southend Pier closed due to strong winds. 25th November. The rear wall of the long empty Bell Hotel collapses during renovation to convert it into flats. 26th November. The Bell Hotel suffers total collapse the day before a controlled demolition was due to take place. 15th December. South Essex College buildings in Carnarvon Road are demolished. 19th December. Steaming Away. The LMS Stanier Class 5 45407 'The Lancashire Fusilier' visited Southend on Sea. 26th December. Essex Derby round 1. Southend United travel to Essex rivals Colchester United in the first competitive Essex derby for a number of years and come away with bragging rights and all three points after a 2 - 0 win. 29th December. It is announced that the affordable housing in the redevelopment of the long empty and derelict Carby and Heath Houses on Victoria Avenue would have to be dropped to make the redevelopment a viable project. 29th December. Rail operator C2C announces plans to investigate the possibility of operating a shuttle bus service from stations it operates to Southend Airport. 29th December. An application to change the plans for the redevelopment of Chartwell House towering above the Victoria Shopping Centre from 71 flats, to 108 following a redesign of the lay out over the 11 floors of the building. 29th December. Planning approval given to open a Tangs restaurant is promising to offer more than 100 Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Thai dishes on the upper floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre/Plaza with an entrance opening out on to the High Street next to the Metro Bank.
City Beach
Metro Bank
Classic Car Breakfast
New Empire Fire
Thames Barge Match
Around the World Clipper Race
2016 British Home Stores in the High Street closed. 5th January. A sad end. A dead 35ft minke whale washes ashore by the Boom at Shoebury East Beach, on the Ministry of Defence. 8th January. Solar powered airport. A 2.5 megawatt photovoltaic solar farm covering 3.2 hectares of grassland costing £2million opens for use feeding power to the airport, the 9500 solar panels are raised off the ground by 2600 piles. 13th January. New Car Park announced. £1.5million has finally been set aside to lay the foundations to the long-anticipated Southend cliffs museum. Southend Council hopes by 2018/19 it will have designs, funding, and planning in place for the museum, which will be sunk into the cliffs in Western Esplanade, it wants the first phase the facility’s underground car park to be open by 2019 to take the pressure off other seafront car parks. 13th January. Premier Expands. A £1.9million project, despite traffic concerns, is given the green light to expand the Premier Inn hotel on Thanet Grange next to the Strawberry Fields pub, with an extra 26 rooms. 14th January. SNEEK PEEK. A rare glimpse inside the Southend Museum's secure storage area of its Natural History store is given to a lucky few. 21st January. No Coffee on the Hill. Costa Coffee pull out of talks to take on the empty Pier Hill shop that has sat empty for 12 years. 1st February. A £1.5million four year restoration plan is announced for the Belton Hill, Leigh gardens and steps leading down to Leigh Station. 8th February. Catering specialists Vertas take over the running of the café in the Royal Pavilion on the end of Southend Pier. 2nd February. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent visits The Forum to unveil a statue of Her Majesty The Queen, and a plaque. 8th February. Catering specialists Vertas take over the running of the café in the Royal Pavilion on the end of Southend Pier. 2nd February. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent visits The Forum to unveil a statue of Her Majesty The Queen, and a plaque. 4th February. Money down the drain. Anglian Water announce plans to invest in a scheme surveying and refurbishing the many miles old drains under the streets of Southend. 8th February. Storm Imogeon forces the closure of London City Airport with seven flights diverting to Southend. 11th February. Lagoon news. It was announced that work on constructing Southend new seawater Lagoon will commence on 1st March, with a July opening date pencilled in for the £1.8million attraction. 20th February. Return of the Bell. Plans are announce to reconstruct The Bell hotel on Leigh Hill after its collapse in 2015. 23rd February. Rock Factory fire. The long derelict Grosvenor Rock Factory in Pleasant Road is victim of an arson attack, the fire damages an outbuilding and is quickly put out by fire-fighters 25th February. Shells on the shore... A bomb disposal team are called to the Westcliff foreshore to investigate suspected ordnance opposite the Toulouse restaurant, after investigation it turns out to be the remains of a pre-detonated shell. 1st March. Work commences on the seafront lagoon. 2nd March. Esplanade Plans Passed. A £12.5 million proposal, the plans to demolish the old Esplanade Public House, and replace it with a development of 23 flats with a bar/restaurant on the ground floor and residents parking under the building. 3rd March. FIRE. A row of long derelict cottages on Southchurch Avenue fronting the Kursaal are set on fire resulting in major damage. 4th March. Shakedown scare. The annual Southend Shakedown, a bike rally from the Ace café in London to Southend, running for 17 years the 18th looked set to be the last until an appeal saw the funds to pay the policing costs save the event. 4th March. Airport Business Park. Enquires open on tenancy options at the proposed 1million square foot high tech business park, it is proposed that a new Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) Medical Technology (Med Tech) campus, an innovation centre and a hotel will be included on the site. 8th March. Cleared For Schooling. Milton Hall Primary School get a new classroom in the shape of the fuselage of a Cessna Citation Bravo 550 business jet. It is taken by road from Southend Airport through the streets of Westcliff to its new home, where it will become a computer room. 15th March. Flame grilled. A fire breaks out in the roof of Marriotts Fish and Chip restaurant on Western Esplanade, the roof is badly damaged and the building smoked logged. 18th March. Coffee in the Hill: Starbucks are said to be looking at opening a coffee bar in the empty unit at the base of Pier Hill, previously it had been said Costa Coffee were going to take over the long empty unit. 26th March. Southend Marine Activities Centre reopens. After budget cuts forced the closure of the Eastern Esplanade facility it is taken on by private investors and reopened. 26th 2nd April. All the fun at the Steam Fair. The Carters Steam fair returns to Chalkwell Park attractions include carousel, waltzer, the giant octopus, dodgems, a train track and sideshows. 23rd March. More Food to Choose From. Two new restaurants open in Southend. Prep Kitchen specialising in healthy food in Tylers Avenue and Fat Al's Diner on the corner of Pier Hill and Marine Parade dishing up American gut-busting meals. 28th March. Storms blow in. Gale force winds slam into Southend, blowing boats ashore and a disused plane at Southend Airport into a fence leaving the tail overhanging a road. 19th April. Classic Car Breakfast. 7th April. Typhoon blows in and out. An RAF Typhoon preforms a circuit of Southend Airport. 12th April. The Queen De-throned. It is announce that the Southend Carnival will be retiring the position of Carnival Queen as finding people willing to take part in getting harder and that the feeling that the tradition is getting old fashioned. 24th April. St Georges Day. The 11th annual St Georges Day Parade took place, with the RAF Colour Party of 54 Squadron, which had just been awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Southend. The parade line-up also included members of the armed services, Veterans, representatives of the emergency services, cadets, and youth organisations. 28th April. Floating house. A new design of floating house that can either sit on land or be floated on water is anchored off Southend, just west of the pier. The 5.5metres by 7.5metres structure also hosts a laboratory, which monitored environmental conditions. 28th May. Wheelchair beach path opens. As part of the rebuilding of the Tram Stop Project, a new system of beach matting is laid to enable wheel chair users to access the beach the ribbon is cut by the Mayor Judy McMahon. 30th May. A secret come out in to the open. A Second World War Nazi Lorenz machine keyboard was discovered in a shed in Southend, without knowing what it was it was out up for same as a telegram machine, it sold to the National Museum of Computing, based at Bletchley Park for £10. 1st June. More flooding. Heavy rain once again floods the seafront, Council workers clear the surface water. Wednesday 8th June. A piece of history is found. Judy Matthews who owns the Book Inn, in Leigh was under taking some work to the front of her shop, she removed the old sign only to discover an old fishmongers sign underneath which dated back to the 1930’s, steps to preserve the sign were being taken. 9th June. Southend Pier closed for repairs. Checks on the structure of the pier reveal that a number of the pile caps were cracked. The closure would only have affected the railway but because of fire evacuation procedures stipulating the railway is the main way to evacuate people from the pier head the whole of the pier had to close. 13th June. Dives restart. The new diving season on the wreck of the London commences with the goal to find the last wheel off a gun carriage that was previously lifted from the wreck site. 14th June. Best beaches. Westcliff Beach and Shoebury East Beach both receive TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence thanks to consistently positive reviews on the Trip Advisor website. 21st June. Delays on the Line. It is announced that the damage to the Pier is far greater than first thought and the railway will remain closed, however, the introduction of buggies to ferry those that can-not walk the length of the pier are introduced enabling the walkway to reopen. 23rd June. Southend votes Brexit. Southend votes for leave during the nationwide vote on whether the United Kingdom should remain as part of the European Union. 24th June. Pier Hill Squatters. The long empty retail unit on Pier Hill is taken over by squatters, the Council move quickly to put an eviction order in place. 25th & 26th June. 25th Leigh Folk Festival. 27th June. Queens Face Lift. The 119 year old statue of Queen Victoria completes a facelift in which superheated low pressure water removed years of dirt. 28th June. FIRE! or not…! Fire alarms rang out and a full evacuation of the Victoria Shopping Centre/Plaza is undertaken during the annual evacuation drill. 29th June. Old Beecroft new life. A project to transform the former Beecroft Art Gallery in Station Road into affordable art studios is given a boost when Southend Council grants £200,000 to the Beecroft Art Gallery Trust to compile a formal bid to Arts Council England’s capital grants fund for a complete overhaul of the site. 30th June. Job losses. The nationwide convenience store chain My Local falls in to administration, stores in Shoebury, Southend and Leigh all close. 2nd July. Hot bus service. A Bus caught fire in Victoria Avenue just outside the Civic Centre, the overheating engine was out before fire crews arrived. 5th July. New Trains on show. C2C unveil the first of 24 new carriages they had ordered that include: 225 seats in each 4-carriage train. That means combined the new carriages will provide 13,500 extra seats at peak times every week. Wider seats, which are around 10% wider than the seats on current c2c trains. Each seat also comes with arm rests and personal reading lights. There are two toilets and two dedicated wheelchair areas on board each 4-carriage train - double the current provision on existing c2c trains. Each carriage is fully air-conditioned and also has a number of plug sockets. There are also improved luggage areas compared to our current trains. Each 4-car unit is inter-connected, so passengers can walk through all the carriages if there are no free seats in their section. 6th July. Onions on the road. Before the morning rush hour a large goods vehicle over turns on Priory Crescent shedding its load of 50,000 onions, it takes until late into the evening to clear them all up. 14th July. Verdi’s epic ‘Il Trovatore’ is broadcast free live onto the big screen outside The Forum in Elmer Square. 7th July. Emergency Landing: A BAE146 of the airline City Jet flying from to at London City Airport, reported that it had a technical issue and diverted into Southend Airport. 10th July. London to Southend Classic Car Run. 14th July. Unwanted award. The student campus on London Road unofficially known as “The Lego Building” or “The Marmite Building” wins the award as the UK’s ugliest campus, in a poll of more than 7,200 students. 19th July. Black Ice Cream. Rossi Ice Cream unveil a black coloured Vanilla Ice Cream, it is produced in a strictly limited volume only being sold at two parlours. 21st July. Lagoon makes a splash. The £1.95million lagoon built at the “Three Shells Beach” project, which has been nearly three years in the making, was funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, Southend Council and the Stockvale group, which owns Adventure Island. 25th July. New Empire sold. The fire ravaged former New Empire Theatre is sold to a Hong Kong based investment firm. The building had stood empty for eight years attracting vandals and vagrants, a fire on the 26th July within the roof structure saw it collapse onto the mezzanine floor. 27th July. The Green Green Grass of Home. Five of Southend’s parks are named as some of the best in the country. The environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy awards Green Flag Awards to Belfairs, Chalkwell, Priory, Shoebury and Southchurch Parks, ranking them among the best 137 parks and green spaces in the East of England. 29th July. 40 years on. It was exactly 40 years ago on this day that hundreds of fun seekers had to scramble for safety along the pier walkway, train and boat when a blaze broke out at the pier head, the fire would last for hours and would eventually be the most disastrous in the history of the pier, destroying the entire pier head leisure complex. The true cause of the blaze has never been established. 31st July. The lift goes… nowhere as it’s stuck. One of the Pier Hill lifts breakdown trapping a family for 40 minutes. 1st August. A little train ride. A new state-of-the-art, multi-sensory ride designed and built totally in house opens at Adventure Island. To make room for the new attraction it meant the demolition of the Devils Creek ride known before that as the Jigsaw Train. 3rd August. A Revolution for Southend. Final approval is granted to convert the old HMV store in Queens Road into a Revolucion de Cuba, an open roof top terrace with a retractable roof is proposed. 10th August. Southend Airports Awarding Winning Service. Southend Airport is named as one of the best British Airports for aiding disabled passengers to and from their flights. 10th August. Havens Haven. Westcliff department store Havens (one of the oldest in Essex) is granted listed building status for special architectural interest means the shop will be preserved, with restrictions placed on how its interior and exterior are renovated. The family owned store was built in 1935, however Haven’s itself dates back to 1901. 11th August. Britannia’s final farewell. The closed Britannia Pub faces demolition after 200 years on the seafront. After being closed for a number of years and major flooding it is deemed beyond economic repair. 16th August. The Fall of the Empire. The fire damaged Empire Cinema (ABC Cinema) is set for demolition. The 120 year old building was ravaged by an arson attack on 26th July 2015. The fire saw the roof collapse onto the first floor auditorium. Monday 22nd August. Esplanade Flats hit a stumbling hole. The £12.5million flats proposed to replace the Esplanade Pub are halted by a sinkhole under the old pub. 29th August. Record-breaking flight. The first global journey from China in a light aircraft stopped off in the UK leg for just one day landing at Southend Airport of the historic flight. The Socata TBM 700 N661EK, took off from Beijing Airport on August 8 at the start of its 40,000 kilometre flight. 5th September. Hot Food Take Away. A fire breaks out in the Chaudhry's Tandoori in London Road, Westcliff, the ground floor was heavily smoked logged after the electrical fire. 6th September. Airport Emergency. A Shorts 360 flying from Coventry to Frankfurt diverted into Southend Airport after it had to shut down an engine after indications showed a fault. The plane landed safely. 9th September. New Business Park. Work begins on the infrastructure of the proposed $150million Airport Business Park. 20th September. Friendly adventure. Southend’s Adventure Island theme park is rated within the top five of the friendliest in the UK. 20th September. The Kursaal’s new attractions. A £1.3million refurbishment of the iconic Kursaal is opened including Sports Bar, Adult Gaming Area and a Quasar laser tag zone. 22nd September. New Jet liner calls in. A Sukhoi Super Jet SSJ-100 which had just entered service with City Jet flys into Southend for crew training flights. 26th September. Heritage lost. One of Southend’s historic seafront shelters is destroyed in an arson attack Camper Road. 29th September. Historic Pub stay of execution. A campaign to save the 200 year old Britannia pub is given a boost when the planning application to demolish the historic pub is withdrawn. 1st October. Pizza the action. Southend’s Pizza Express restaurant reopens after a major refurbishment including a whole to frontage. The makeover includes scenes of Southend in the 1960s. 16th October. Royals Fire. A fire broke out at TK Maxx in the Royals Shopping Centre, a full evacuation of the centre is implemented with shoppers and staff leaving the complex, fire crews from Southend, Leigh, Billericay, Rochford, Corringham, Canvey and Basildon are sent to the scene as part of the fire services emergency procedures due to the nature and size of the building. The fire was contained to an electrical box. 19th October. Museum Looks for New Architect. The proposed Cliffs museum project move a tiny step closer with the issuing of a contract worth £1.3million for an architect to carry out an update of the plans to help create more space for exhibits that will hopefully one day include the Beecroft Gallery, Saxon King relics, growing collection of items from the wreck of the London, Ekco radio collection and a number of other collections. 21st October. Busy Day at the Airport. Southend Airport has to take six flights from London City Airport after a chemical incident at the London Airport. 22nd October. Esplanades last pint. The 100 year old Esplanade pub shuts its doors for the last time as the building is deemed unsafe to carry on being used, it is thought that pressure from the cliffs behind had caused the damage, the pub is part of an area due to be redeveloped into a £multi-million flats and restaurant development. 21st October. Jobs boost. The national kitchen chain Wren announce plans to open a new showroom within the old Comet superstore, the store located on Fossetts Drive off Eastern Avenue had closed in November 2012 when the Comet chain went in to liquidation. Cleaner Beaches. Seven out of eight of Southend’s beaches gain an excellent or good pass mark for reaching new EU bathing quality regulations. Excellent: East Beach, Shoebury, Thorpe Bay and Westcliff Bay. Good: Jubilee Beach, Three Shells and Chalkwell. Sufficient: Bell Wharf. 6th November. Gran Canaria bound. The first Easyjet flight from Southend to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands departed. 10th November. Crematorium Funding. Southend Council embark on a £370,000 refurbishment of the crematorium and cemetery, works include new pathways replacement of the aged Pergola Walk, 312 new above ground internment units for ashes and over 2,800 memorials within the supporting structure. 15th November. Brightening up a Dark Shop. The empty BHS store gained a little bit of TLC when artist and sign writer was commissioned by the Southend Business Improvement District to give the boarded up store a brighter look. 19th 20th November. Footbridges last crossing. The footbridge over the A127 at Kent Elms is removed in preparation for major roadworks and a replacement bridge. Footbridge over A127 at Kent Elms junction will be demolished this weekend. 23rd November. Four Silver Stars. The Roslin Beach Hotel on Eastern Esplanade gains four silver stars from the AA, becoming the first hotel in Essex to gain the rating. 23rd November. Pier Hill Gallery. After standing empty for 12 years the vacant retail unit built into Pier Hill during its £multi-million rebuild of 2004. The new gallery will be operated by Southend Council. There had been attempts to lease the site to a number of operators including Costa Coffee, Starbucks and as an ice cream parlour shop, which has been empty for 12 years, is set to be turned into an art gallery and café. 12th December. Money down the drain. A £multi-million investment into the sewers that serve Southend begins the work includes sending cameras down the pipe work and instead of digging large holes right across the borough pipes will be relined with a soft felt "sock" impregnated with resin where it fixes itself to the walls of the sewer, hot steam is then pumped down to set the sock rock hard in place. 15th December. Holidays are coming. The iconic Coca-Cola lorry rolls in to Southend. 16th December. Rossi’s new home. Iconic Southend ice cream maker Rossi moves out of it’s Lucy Road factory into a modern new facility at the Temple Farm Industrial Estate.
2018 2nd January. Ranges funding. The Ministry of Defence announce a £20million investment into the Shoebury Environmental Test Centre at the new ranges. 3rd January. Pier closed. Southend Pier is closed due too strong winds as storm Eleanor batters Essex. 4th January. Shells on the beach… or are they! The 7th Bomb squad arrive on Westcliff seafront after reports that an artillery shell was found on the foreshore. The object partly buried in sand was found by a metal detectorist, after investigation it turned out to be a metal casket. 9th January. New business boom. Southend is named as one of the best places to set up a new business in the UK, ranking with such places as Sheffield & Newcastle. 11th January. Library expansion. A £19million expansion on the Forum library in the heart of Southend is announced. Southend Council invest £2.7million with the other partners and grants planned to make up the remainder. It is anticipated there will be contemporary and community art gallery space and associated office, shop, café and project space to expand the existing gallery at the Forum. Plans also include a digital workspace for creative digital industries. For the college, the new building would house a public and teaching restaurant, performance studios, music rehearsal and performance space including computer music suites and teaching rooms increasing opportunities for students to gain skills in the sector. 24th January. Beecroft rebirth. Hoardings are erected around the old Beecroft Art Gallery in preparation for works commencing to convert the building in to artists studio. 18th February. The Lynn Tait Gallery closed its doors for the very last time. 20th February. Keddies founder dies. David Keddie passed away at the age of 88, he was the founder of the legendary Keddies department store that was in Southend High Street. 4th March. Dangerous icicle. A large icicle hanging from a shop close to the Royals had to be removed by firefighters. 5th March. Forum boost. Southend Council receive £6million from South Essex Local Enterprise Fund, towards a £19million extension to The Forum. 11th March. World First Marathon. The Worlds first ever marathon 26.2 marathon entirely over water is held on Southend Pier. 13th March. Flood protection plans costing up to £400million are approved in a 100 year program. 22nd March. The Phoenix Caisson a part of the Mulberry Harbour is given recognition by the Institution of Civil Engineers as one of 200 projects that helped shape the world of today. 23rd March. Royals at 30. The Royals Shopping Centre celebrates it’s 30th anniversary of trading. 28th March. The tall ship Mercedes visits Southend. 31st March. The American themed café “Simply Blues” closes down after 36 years of trading. 2nd April. Not sea shells. In three separate incidents the Bomb Disposal teams are called out to deal with three different WW2 artillery shells found dotted along the coast line. 2nd April. Tall ship Mercedes departs. 15th April. Classic Cars return to the seafront for the first of the years Classic Car Breakfast meets. 27th April. Marine Plaza takes a step forward with the announcement that a development partner has been secured by the developers the Inner London Group, with the possibility of ground being broken the end of 2018. 30th April. Burst Water Main closes Thorpe Bay Esplanade. 5th May. The historic Raven department store re-opens as a bar and restaurant. 9th May. 42 EU flags are tied to posts on Southend seafront at low tide, the council have to wait until the following high tide to remove them. 12th May. Indoor Crazy Golf. A new restaurant opens that offers diners the chance to play a round of crazy golf whilst they wait for their dinner to be served all without the risk of the weather stopping play. 17th May. Blue flags a flying. Three of Southend’s beaches gain the top blue flag award along with four others attaining Seaside Awards. 18th May. Fire breaks out in a row of derelict buildings on Chalkwell Seafront, crews from Southend x2, Leigh, Rayleigh, Rochford, Basildon and Grays all attend the three story building. 23rd May. It is announced that the long out of use Shoebury gasometer is to be demolished, with the site being decontaminated and given over to housing. 29th May. A large underground storm drain partly collapses causing the closure of Thorpe Esplanade between The Broadway and Thorpe Hall Avenue. 30th May. OI you can’t park that there! A car is driven off Western Esplanade and onto the beach by the Bastion opposite the Westcliff Arches, it is recovered before the tide comes in. 31st May. Orange Hotel. Plans are submitted to convert the ten storey former Prudential Finance building into a 108 bedroom hotel, as part of the Easy Hotel brand.
2019 South Essex College opened a new campus in Stephenson Road, Leigh-on-Sea, which specialises in engineering and construction.























into the magic that is the memory of so many from their childhood.

3rd January. Shoebury Garrison Business park. Plans are announced to build nine commercial units, a retail unit and a vets next to Gunners Park and a primary school in Shoebury covering 3.2-acres due to meet with home-owners on the estate to gauge their views. In 2016 Garrison Developments’ plans for a housing estate on a Shoebury flood plain were approved. Controversial plans for 172 homes, office blocks, and a health centre on Old Gunner’s Park, between Barge Pier Road and Ness Road, were given approval at a heated meeting at Southend Council’s development control committee despite fears the homes would be vulnerable to flooding at an earlier meeting. 3rd January. Tommy statue damaged. An anti-war campaigner defaced the Tommy statue erected alongside Southend Cenotaph painting it with Teach peace. There is no glory in war. No honour in killing. Stop supporting war. One love.” The damage was quickly painted out by the Council. 10th January. IMAX for Southend… possibly, it is announced that the proposed Fossetts Farm development for Southend United’s new stadium will include an IMAX cinema. 10th January. New Pier Trains. It is announced at £3.25m had been set aside to bring in a whole new fleet of trains for Southend Pier, the trains that were bought in to service in 1986 had been given a 20 year life span, but with careful maintenance the life has been extended to 33 years, with another two years of service expected before the new trains come into service. In total the new budget will mean an extra £6.6million is available for front-line services with the vast majority going on child and adult care. 13th January. Pier cash boost. The council announce it will spend £19million over the next four years on a new restaurant, pavilion and general maintenance. 11th January. New Flats. A proposal to build 92 new flats on a former bus garage and collage site alongside Roots Hall is given approval. 16th January. A Café returns. Seven years after gaining approval, a proposed two floor restaurant/café for Shoebury East Beach is said to begin construction this year… 5th February. The Queensway development takes a step forward with the announcement that Swan Housing is the preferred build partner. 5th February. One-hour parking to return to Southend in bid to 'cater perfectly for short-stay shoppers. 6th February. Controlled explosion on Chalkwell beach after three unexploded shells were discovered. 11th February. 1 million Stobart Air Passengers. 12th February. Proposals to build a 15 storey tower block comprising 217 flats on the demolished Portcullis House site are passed, 22 are listed as affordable homes. 17th February. New planters and street furniture are placed in London Road, outside the Sainsbury’s store. 18th February. Primark announce it is to leave the Royals Shopping centre moving into the vacant BHS store on Southend High Street. 19th February. Sealife Adventure is named one of the best attractions in the country by Visit England. 21st February. The Three Shells Lagoon, gains planning permission to construct a deck to the eastern side of the site. 22nd February. Plans are announced to build a new multi-storey car park and two new health centres, the car park is proposed for Tylers Avenue where is is just a ground level car park whilst the health centres are proposed for Shoebury and the west of town. 25th February. Kursaal bowling alley closed down after its operator MFA Bowl go into administration. 27th February. New car park proposed. Plans are announced to build a new five-storey car park at Tylers Avenue, it would be used to replace the Seaway Car park. 1st March. Hope for the Kursaal. A new operating company steps in to take over the Kursaal bowling alley. The Midlands based nightclub and bar group, Disco Bowl Ltd, announce that they are to acquire nine site from the failed MFA Group. 6th March. New restaurants proposed. The former Santander previously Alliance and Leicester at 114-116 High Street, has 4341sq ft over three floors and a basement 10th March. Southend Pier closed due to strong winds. 3rd April. Ryanair launch services from Southend Airport. 3rd April. Cheaper Parking: 50p an hour car parking is approved, in a small purpose built 12 space car park on what was the Tylers Avenue public toilets. 4th April. Southend Homebase announce plans to reduce the size of its unit by half, with the other half being proposed to become a Lidl supermarket. 4th April. Southend Pier closed as unexploded Victorian era bomb is found just 30 meters from the pier. 10th April. Last orders are called at the Foresters Arms pub on Marine Parade as it has to make way for the £100million Marine Plaza development. 18th April. Operation Heatwave is enacted as weather forecast predict a hot weekend with plenty of sun! 19th April. FREE car parking on Southend seafront, helps keep people cool in the hot weather. 19th April. The café used in Channel 4’s hit show “Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast” opens to the public for the first time serving tea’s and cakes to members of the public. 21st April. The annual Folk and Ale Festival takes place on Southend Pier. 22nd April. The Southend Shakedown returns with thousands of bikes descending onto the seafront and gasworks car park. 25th April. Bomb disposal arrive in Leigh to deal with an unexploded shell found at low tide. 26th April. Over the Easter weekend some 18,461 visited Southend Pier, whilst 5442 attended a teddy bear hunt in Priory Park. 29th April. The council sign on the dotted line with Swan Housing becoming the official enabling partner. 1st May. An arson attack at Roots Hall stadium sees 10 pallets of stored artificial turf destroyed in a £100,00 fire. fire: 10 wooden pallets catch fire beside stadium. 1st May. It is announced that the Twenty-One café and exhibition space is to reopen this summer. 1st May. Rod Stewart rocks Southend's Cliffs Pavilion in a small intimate gig, in preparation for his tour. 2nd May. City Fibre a specialist in high speed internet access announce it is planning to invest £30million. The Full-fibre technology would boost internet speeds across the borough by 150%, to enable the new service to be launched proposals are submitted to demolish disused industrial and replace them with high tech containers, 12 air conditioning units, generator enclosures and electric meter cabinets. 6th May. Adventure Island opens the new £1million Axis ride. 12th May. The Prince returns home, the treasures found in a tomb on Priory Crescent in 2003, are exhibited in a new home for the first time. After 16 years of research and very delicate preservation and stabilisation many of the 110 artefacts are on show to the public for the first time. Included are gold foil crosses a unique find in the UK and a unique piece if a 1400 year old painted box of which no other examples are known to exist, due to the delicate nature of some pieces, they are kept in constantly monitored temperatures, with humidity below 30 per cent. 14th May. Longair launch a Southend to Aberdeen passenger service from Southend Airport. 15th May. Another mine? Bomb disposal are alerted to a bomb on the foreshore at Shoebury, with the area a know weapons testing area a full alert is called, however upon close inspection the “bomb” turns out to be a large upturned ball shaped flower pot, encrusted with barnacles. 20th May. The waters that fall down the waterfall in Never Never Land are turned back on and the fairy tale castle once again has water flowing under it. 20th May. Southend’s Victoria Shopping Centre’s Wimpy restaurant is named the chains best in the UK, for the second time in a row. 3rd June. Summer Heat. With temperatures hitting the high 20’s tens of thousands flock to Southend to enjoy the weather by the sea and having fun at Adventure Island, down the pier and the other attractions Southend has to offer. 5th June. Salute D-Day. A number of vintage Douglas DC3 Dakota’s take off from Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire and set course for Normandy in France their route takes them over Colchester and then over Southend. 9th June. Foresters Arms closes in preparation for its demolition, for the Marine Plaza scheme. 15th June. Who Ya Going to Call… The Ghostbusters Ecto-1 rolled up to the Royals. 16th July. You can NOT park there. A confused driver ignored warning signs and drove down a boat launching ramp only to get his car stuck fast in the sand. 18th July. Steam train Mayflower passes through Southend. 19th July. The new Southend skate park Skatey McSkateface opens. 22nd July. A fire breaks out in the H&M store in Southend High Street, the roof and top floor are damaged but quick response by the fire brigade stopped the fire spreading further.

31st July. Kent Elms footbridge opens to public.

July. Southend Police car auctioned. A white Triumph TR4 famed for chasing crooks through Southend’s streets in the 1960s was auctioned and fetched £33,750. 5th August. Demolition starts on the fire ravaged Foresters Arms. 30th August. A giant sculpture of a fish is placed on Jubilee Beach, to act as a deterrent to litter bugs, the open mouth of the fish lets it be used as a bin. 3rd September. A fire devastates a historic fishmongers on Leigh High Street. 1st October. Southend Airport announce a new deal with Ensign Bus, that will see a new bus service operate from London Victoria to the airport, making new direct connections to London’s second busiest transport hub. October. £500million Queensway redevelopment plans on show. October. Work commences on the Weston Homes Victoria Central residential apartment block. A total of 217 apartments of 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms are to be built on the former site of Portcullis house. The £60million development will also include 275sqmtrs of retail space and a landscaped courtyard. 31st October. London Road Renovations. A £1.5 million renovation project is announced that would see the section of London Road between Sainsburys and Victoria Circus to create a café culture quarter, with restaurants, bars and café’s lining both sides of the street, a glass covered canopy covering the pedestrianised road would provide cover for people wanting to eat outside. 6th November. Forum 2 gets the green light. The second stage of the Forum library and education building of granted planning permission, the £6million stand alone building will see a building dedicated to performing arts students, artists and chefs - built on Elmer Approach. November. Pier Museum celebrates it’s 30th anniversary. 7th November. The historic Ship pub in Leigh gains planning permission to be converted into a 15 bedroom hotel, the old pub originally opened in the early 1800’s but closed suddenly in 2017. December. Major plans to change the Bell junction on the A127 are announced. 23rd December. A new restaurant is announced to open on the seafront, 300 degrees announced it is to take over the vacant Bourgee building. 26th December. Boxing Day Dip. The annual RNLI Boxing Day dip.
2017 9th February. Southend welcomes a new festival this year, the announcement of In The Park Festival at Garon Park. A one-day event will be held on Sunday 28th May, the event will host some iconic musical figures. 3rd April. Southend Shakedown cancelled, Up to 5,000 bikers are expected to descend on Southend seafront for the “Shakedown” despite the official annual ride out being cancelled. The Southend Shakedown would have marked its 19th year on Easter Monday, but organisers from the Ace Café, in north London, said they were forced to pull the plug because of rising policing costs. Despite that an unofficial event with the same name is being promoted on social media. A Facebook page with almost 5,000 members even suggests the event retains the support of the local authority. However, no event application has been submitted to Southend Council and no safety plan is in place. Councillor Ann Holland said: “Claims by those promoting the event that it is backed by the council with support from seafront businesses are entirely false. “Previous Shakedown events have had safety plans in place, marshalling, signage, stalls and parking arrangements. This is not the case this year and anyone who attends may be severely disappointed and potentially putting themselves at risk.” The council is in discussion with police to determine what enforcement action can be taken but there is already an injunction banning unauthorised cruise events on the seafront. 9th July. Southend Half Marathon is held, event organisers Havens Hospices, raising funds for a very worthwhile local charity. 16th July. The annual London to Southend Bike Ride organised by Bike Events. This 55 mile bike ride starts in Victoria Park, east London, and finishes in Priory Park, Southend, Essex. 2017 St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Little Wakering closes. The church last held a regular service in 2010, and due to a declining congregation, it was the last resort and a financial necessity to close its doors as it was no longer sustainable to keep them open, the last public service was held was in 2017. Barling Magna Parish Council are working to come up with a plan to re-purpose the church as a community hub.
Coca-Cola Lorry
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