Chronological Data
1800 Bridge over Prittlewell Brook was rebuilt. 1801 Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of George IV, visited Southend for sea-bathing, as advised by her physicians. She stayed at The Lawn, Southchurch, and attended service at Holy Trinity Church, Southchurch. 1802 First small jetty built, at the western end of the path below the Shrubbery, for the convenience of those who made use of the pleasure boats. Southend (village) had fifty one houses. 1803 Princess Caroline of Brunswick (wife of the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV) visits Southend. During the Napoleonic Wars it was thought that the French might attempt a landing on the north bank of the Thames Estuary. Jonas Asplin of Wakering and John Lodwick of Southend raised and commanded a troop of volunteer cavalry, and a company of infantry respectively, to resist any attempted invasion. 1804 The first Theatre was built called the “Southend Theatre” by Thomas Trotter. Ingram builds his warm baths below the Royal Hotel. 1806 High Street Chapel constructed, this was roughly situated at the junction of the High Street, Clarence Road. The “Globe,” began to publish a list of Society visitors to the now fashionable resort, and so popular was the town that the local inns were not large enough to accommodate all the visitors. 1814 John Constable, the great landscape painter visits Southend. New Prittlewell water pump is erected by the parish, original one was removed when the bridge over Prittlewell Brook was rebuilt in 1800. 1818 The first Castle Pub was constructed on the seafront. 1819 First steamboat service started. 1820 c1820. Prospect House is built, the home of Elizabeth Heygate, later the birth place of George Warwick Deeping. 1824 Major-General William Goodday Strutt (1762 - 1848) moves to Marine Parade Southend. 1829 May. The Act (George IV. Cap. Xlix) authorising the construction of the first Pier, received Royal Assent and Alderman Sir William Heygate, Bart., Lord Mayor of London in 1822-1823, who resided at “Porters”, Southend, was the chief promoter, and was instrumental in securing the erection of the Pier. July. First stone of embankment of the Southend Pier laid by the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Sir William Thompson, M.P., as Conservator of the Thames. 1830 Chalkwell Hall was built. June. The first section of the wooden pier, which did not exceed 1,500 feet in length was opened. 1833 Benjamin Disraeli visits Southend, and resides at “Porters”, Southchurch Road. 1834 The town’s first loading pier was built adjoining the east side of the passenger pier, made of timber and stone, it extended 234 feet from the shore. This was demolished when the iron passenger pier was constructed. 1838 The third larger Crow stone was erected, the old one erected in 1755 was moved to Priory Park. 1842 St. John the Baptist Church is completed Southend. The church of St. John the Baptist is a building of stone in mixed styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts and an organ chamber. The nave was built in 1840 and aisles added later, the chancel was erected in 1872-3, the chancel and transepts were enlarged in 1912 and a side chapel added at a cost of £5,000. The reredos of alabaster and sculptured stone was presented by the Rev. Francis and Mrs Dormer Pierce, and the oak screen, carved in mediaeval ecclesiastical style, was erected in memory of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. The register dates from the year 1842. Thomas Dowsett, Southend’s first Mayor is buried in the churchyard. Southend gains independence. Previously in the jurisdiction of the Parish of Prittlewell, Southend was now in the newly formed Parish of St. John the Baptist. 1844 Benjamin Disraeli visits Southend again, and resides at “Porters”, Southchurch Road. 1846 The Pier reaches one mile and a quarter in length. 1854 First railway to Southend from Fenchurch Street was completed. The Southend Gas Company was formed. 1855 The Southend Gas works came into operation. 1856 National School, Southchurch erected by subscription. 1856 - 1861. Nelson Street (the former High Street to the one we know now) and this area Clifftown, was built. 1859 The first stone of New Town Southend, is laid, Messers. Lucas Brothers presented a silver trowel to the Lord of the Manor, Mr. D.R. Scratton to commemorate the occasion. 1860 National Mixed School was erected.


The High Street Chapel built in 1806 closed.


Messrs. Peto, Brassey & Betts, the famous firm of Railway Contractors build a Pumping Station Milton Rd and reservoir in Scratton

Rd and supply water to Cliff Town, Southend on Sea. A private undertaking operated the works until 1871.

1866 The Congregational chapel, Cliff Town, a structure in the Gothic style, was erected at a cost of £3,000, with a tower containing an illuminated clock and bell. A row over a very foul ditch in the old part of Southend led to the town’s first independent form of local government - the Southend Local Board of Health. The Cricketers, London Road opened as a inn, originally was two cottages. 1869 The Scratton estates in Southend are put up for sale. Luker’s Brewery moves to the High Street from its former site in Brewery Road. The Roman Catholic church of Our Lady Help of Christians and St. Helen Empress, situated in Milton Road, Westcliff, was erected at a cost of more than £2,000, and enlarged in 1900-3 at a further cost of £2,000, and consisted of chapel, nave, north and south aisles, lady chapel and a turret containing 2 bells, adjoining the church was a convent school. 1870 The Halfway House was built along the seafront. The sisters of Notre Dame buy the Mitre Hotel in Milton road and turn it into St. Mary’s convent, later to be taken over by the Bernardine sisters (St Bernard’s School). The Wesleyan chapel, Park Road, was erected, in the Early English style.


Pumping Station Milton Rd and reservoir in Scratton Rd which supply water to Cliff Town, are transferred to the new Southend

Waterworks Company Ltd.

Thomas William Ingram, brought the first floating swimming baths to Southend, 1872 Public Hall, Alexandra Street, Southend was built. John Rumbelow Brightwell’s Drapery Store was founded. 1873 The Alexandra Yacht Club starts this year. Medical Officer appointed for Southend at a princely salary of five guineas a year. Group of amateurs called the Royal Alexandra Dramatic Club produced “Lady Audley’s Secret” at the Public Hall. Ben Emery in his bawley started the Leigh whitebait industry. 1874 Marine Park opens, former site of the later Kursaal Amusement Park. The first Police Station and Court House, in Alexandra Street, is erected at a cost of £4,250, a new Court House is added in 1924 at a cost of £6,000. Thomas Dowsett seeks permission from the Local Board to build a new road called Market Place. 1875 Local Board inaugurated Southend fire brigade. 1876 Concerts started on the Pier in the Octogon. This was a marquee not far from the shore, but the pier railway ran through it and when meetings or entertainments were being held, the proceedings were halted while the horses clomped through the tent, pulling the carriages. a warning bell was sounded when the horse-tram was near. 1877 September. The town’s first fire engine arrived. It was met by a procession headed by the town band and taken opposite the Ship Hotel where there were fireworks and a bonfire. The Board agreed those who had volunteered to form a fire brigade, Messrs. Belcham, Brewer, Berry, Storey, Appleby and F. J. Woosnam, to be given helmets, tunics and belts. it was also agreed to rent a shop in Market Place off Alexandra Street, for storing the the fire engine - a second hand appliance costing £80. March. The first fire the brigade attended was at Young’s shop opposite the post office in the High Street, in March 1878. The horses to draw the engine were kept in Scott’s stables. George Warwick Deeping, the famous writer was born at Prospect House. 26th October. All Saints’ parish was formed, The church, erected was an edifice of red brick with stone dressings in the Early French Gothic style, and consisted of chancel, lady chapel, nave and aisles, a chapel, completing the east end of the north aisle, three vestries and vicarage were completed in 1925 at a cost of over £4,000. The baptismal register dates from the year 1877. A memorial, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson bart. F.R.I.B.A. was erected in the churchyard in memory of the 102 men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. 3rd December. The memorial stone of Trinity Church, Southend was laid, this was the first Reformed Episcopal church built in the United Kingdom, and was an edifice of brick and stone in the Early English style. In 1925, Trinity rectory was built adjoining the church. 1878 Road between the Pier and Old Southend (Marine Parade) was completed. December. Southend Tax and Ratepayers Association was formed, Chairman was Mr. W. G. Brighten. 1879 First lifeboat was stationed on the pier. First portion of Victoria Avenue is made up and extends as far as the proposed Railway Station. Ingram’s warm baths below the Royal Hotel are demolished to make way for a new Pier toll house. 1880 Mr. W Jefferies, an auctioneer, advertised “A capital Post Windmill, driving two pairs of stones; in good repair. Good residence with oven and bakehouse attached, stables, coach house, piggeries and ten acres of arable and meadow land.” This was the windmill which stood at the end of the lane which is now Milton Road. Mr C. W. Jarvis provided the first concerts in the pavilion of the new iron pier, but in 1880 when his tender for further concerts was not accepted by the Board, they gave him permission to erect a concert tent on top of the cliffs. August. A camera obscura (A camera obscura is a darkened room or box or tent with a small hole or lens at one side through which an image is projected onto the wall opposite the hole.) opened on Pier Hill, and became a popular attraction for a great many years. September. A few members of the Community of Sisters of Nazareth whose mother house was at Hammersmith opened the former Milton Hall as Nazareth House. The sisters had no funds and depended entirely upon voluntary subscriptions. October. Southend Liberal Association was formed with Mr. J. Farley Leith, Q.C., of Prittlewell Priory, as first president. Board Schools, London Road, were erected. 1881 The Cemetery, in North Road, four acres in extent, opens under the control of the Corporation. Steps were taken for the formation of a cottage hospital. Rev. F. Thackeray presided at a meeting at the Royal Hotel when Dr. Deeping said if a hospital was started, the medical men would give there services gratuitously. It was decided to start a hospital, but the foundation stone of Victoria Hospital was not laid until 1887 - the scheme promoted six years previously was not well supported. 1883 New Court House is built at the back of the police station in Alexandra Street, Southend. The Local Board acquired Western Esplanade. A railway bridge was constructed across the High Street, for the extension of the London to Southend railway line to Shoebury. 1884 January. The first petty sessions are held in Southend. 22nd April. Earthquake tremors in Southend, the main centre of disturbance is in Colchester. 1885 New entrance Toll House for the Pier. The Cliffs in front of the Cliff Town Estate is purchased from Mr. Brassey by the Local Board. H. Garon opens his first shop at 64 High Street, Southend. 8th October. The Theadore and Herbert lifeboat was presented to Southend by the R.N.L.I. through a legacy bequeathed by Mrs F. S. Smith, of County Cork. The town was decorated and a procession was included. The Lifeboat was on a trolley drawn by six horses and was taken to Vandervord’s Hard where a service was conducted. 1886 All Saints Church was built. Criterion Palace of Varieties, 16 Marine Parade Southend-on-Sea. Opened c1886 offering ales, stout and fine wines with variety entertainment every evening. Southend’s motion picture history started here in 1898 when the first moving pictures in the town were projected, newsreels of the Boer War. 1887 August. The foundation stone is laid by Lady Brooke for the new Victoria Hospital, Warrior Square. March. The Southend Liberal club was formed, with headquarters at the Public Hall. The club building was opened in December 1889. June. The town was well decorated for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. A party for old people of Southend was held in the Albert Hall, a corrugated iron structure for 700 people at the rear of the Ship Hotel. 1888 30th May. The Victoria Hospital, Warrior Square was opened by Mrs Carne Rasch and in the first seven months 42 cases were treated. The hospital cost £2,500 - when the stone was laid, £1,553 had been raised - and the estimated maintenance was £250 a year for 8 beds, with patients paying a small sum. HIGGS fur, leather & sheepskin business is established. 1889 Second railway to Southend, London to Victoria opens. Victoria Avenue completed to Prittlewell. William Heddle opens his Cash Clothing Stores. First section of the new iron pier is completed and opened to the public. This was the first pier in England to have an electric railway, the old Toast-Rack tram ran on a single track. 1889-1891. A new loading pier was built opposite the Ship Hotel. When the original passenger pier was replaced by the present iron structure, 1890 October. The skeleton of a man believed to be one of the mutineers of Admiral Duncan’s fleet at the Nore in 1797, was found at Shoebury. R. A. Jones opened his Jewellers in the High Street. 1891 The West Cliff Hotel was built. The Southend-on-Sea Conservative and Unionist Club Limited, Clarence Street, was almost entirely rebuilt. August. A whale 26ft long, nearly ten tons gets stranded on Nore sands. The whale was killed by John Johnson of Leigh and towed to Tomlin’s wharf at Leigh by fishermen. Thomas William Ingram, who had brought the first floating swimming baths to Southend, and had been a member of the local board died. 1892 Incorporation of the Borough. Local Board replaced by Town Council. Town now called Southend-on-Sea. Population 13,000, rateable valuable £82,000. Thomas Dowsett becomes Southend’s first Mayor. Schofield and Martin open their first store. September. Edison’s phonograph is exhibited for the first time in the town at the British School. The Peter boat, Leigh, was completely destroyed by fire, later rebuilt. 1893 The first show by Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society, was an operetta called “Robin Hood” at the Public Hall. 1894 The firm Keddies is started by G.J. Keddie, who bought two shops in the High Street. 1895 January. The Alexandra Theatre (formerly the Public Hall) in Alexandra Street, was destroyed by fire. Westcliff Railway Station opens. December. The foundation stone of the new Empire Theatre was laid on the site of Alexandra Theatre (formerly the Public Hall), Alexandra Street, by Major F. Carne Rasch, M.P. The Council accept the gift of Southchurch Park from Messrs. Baxter, Dowsett and Ingram. 1896 Southend’s first General Post Office opens in Weston Road. c1896 William Sharpe and J.T.S. Dyer start St Ann’s builders’ merchants. 25th May. Empire Theatre opened, rebuilt on the site of the Alexandra Theatre/Public Hall, Alexandra Street. 1897 Southchurch included in the borough. Population 23,000, rateable value £122,911. Jubilee Celebrations in Southend. The statue of HM Queen Victoria, on Royal Hill/Pier Hill, overlooking the estuary of the Thames, was erected at the cost of Mr. Bernard Tolhurst, ex-mayor of Southend. The figure, modelled and executed by Mr. J. Swynerton, sculptor, of Kensington, London, in his studios in Rome, is of Carrara marble, and represents Her Majesty seated in a chair of State, the pedestal and steps, also of marble, were designed by Mr. Edward Goldie; the whole memorial is about 20 feet in height. It was unveiled by Lady Rayleigh, wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Essex. 1898 National School, Southchurch are enlarged this year. Count Antonia de la Rosa, an Italian aged 87 died in Nazareth House. A man of magnificent stature, he was a general in the army of the last King of Naples and a right hand man of the assassinated Emperor of Mexico. He was leader of the bodyguard of Pope Pius IX on his flight to Galta and a friend of the Queen of Spain. He was buried in the crypt of Nazareth House. January. The foundation and memorial stones of Pleasant Road Primitive Methodist chapel and school room were laid by Major Carne Rasche M.P. Cost of the building and land was £2,800 St. George’s Presbyterian Church of England, Park Road, was erected. 17th June. The foundation stone of the the church of St. Alban the Martyr was laid by the Bishop of St. Albans. Designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, it consisted of a chancel, nave, south aisle and tower. The register dates from the year 1902. August. The Warwick Revolving Tower opens on Marine Parade. It was 125ft inches high and cost £8,000. The lift had room for 200 people but only 150 were allowed to ascend at one time. It was hauled up by 4 inch steel ropes and tested to 40 tons. There was a slight mishap at the opening and some councillors and other were frightened to use the lift, but Councillor Prevost rallied them and after a time they made a safe ascent and descent. Westcliff-on-Sea becomes ecclesiastical parish from Prittlewell. 1899 The Hotel Victoria, High Street, Southend, opened. The Grand Hotel, Leigh-on-Sea was built this year. June. The Queen’s Hotel, Westcliff-on-Sea opened, building costs about £26,000. July. Southend receives a bigger lifeboat, the James Stevens No.9, which could hold 90 People. Councillor E. J. Bowmaker who started the skating rink in Alexandra Street and manager of the Victoria coffee palace for twenty years, dies. South Essex College was founded, as an art school, renamed later the Junior Day Technical School. 30 people were imprisoned on the Warwick Revolving Tower on Marine Parade for five hours in mid-air during a thunderstorm. Southchurch Esplanade and roadway were constructed.

Sea of Change Southend-on-Sea

The History of a Seaside Town

Sea of Change Southend-on-Sea © 2010 - 2021 P. J. Wren. All Rights Reserved.

1800 - 1899
Sea of Change Southend-on-Sea