Secret Southend: 10 things you might not know about Southend

Author Dee Gordon

Author Dee Gordon

First published in Echo News
Last updated
by

What don't you know about Southend? 10 hidden gems of the Essex seaside town revealed. 

Southend author Dee Gordon's new book reveals there is so much more to the town than meets the eye. She digs into the history of the largest town in Essex to reveal eccentric inhabitants, secret passages, Roman burials and much more. 

1. The Hope Hotel on Marine Parade pre-dates the more prominent Royal Hotel on Pier Hill by a number of years but started out at Southend's first coffee house. This was Capon's Coffee House (from 1791 or possibly earlier), later the Hope Tavern and then the Hope Hotel (c. 1798) an early coaching inn, extended over the centuries. 

2. The now empty manor house on MoD land at Shoebury - Sutton House - was once owned by the Earl of Nottingham, who had built in 1681 when he married the daughter of the then Lord of the Manor, the Earl of Warwick. It was taken over by the military during the First World War. 

3. In the early 1960s, one in five television sets purchased in Britain were made by EKCO in Southend.

Southend Standard:

4. The gentry and nobility from 1804 could bathe in Mr Ingram's Warm Baths on a rather ramshackle site below the Royal Hotel alongside the Shrubbery. The baths were demolished in 1897. 

5. An enterprising vicar of Christ Church, on the junction of Colbert Avenue and Warwick Road, in Southchurch, wrote to P&O when the church bell was in poor condition and needed replacing asking if they had any former ship bells in store that were no longer serving a useful purpose. P&O responded with the offer of the bell from the RMS Orion. The bell is still in service today. 

6. The Kursaal was the first such amusement park in the world. It opened in 1901 with an early appearance by the world's first lady lion tamer. The once huge park (now housing) included sideshows, roundabouts, rollercoasters, a water chute and the ballroom where Vera Lyn started her career. 

Southend Standard: Kursaal, Southend, soon after the outbreak of war in September 1939. Council park keepers are tarring over the pool at the base of the water-chute, prior to its use as an emergency reservoir

7. Trains were kept away from the seafront by the residents of Royal Terrace, who forced a clause through a parliamentary bill prior to 1866 insisting that 'no locomotive blows off steam within half a mile of Royal Terrace'. This explains the construction of the railway line which swerves away from the seafront just before it reaches Westcliff en route to Southend. 

8. The iconic clock tower at the Shoebury Garrison entrance (built between 1860 and 1862) was needed partly because the noise of gunfire damaged the troops' and locals' pocket watches. 

Southend Standard: Got the time? Shoebury Garrison clock tower

9. The first thing you see when entering Southend Central museum in Victoria Avenue is an elaborate brick-built fireplace which was removed from a house called Reynolds in West Street, Prittlewell, in 1906 when the house was demolished to build an extension to the Blue Boar. The house dated back to the mid-fifteenth century. 

10. When the first blood donors were enlisted for emergencies in 1939, the bottles for holding the blood were supplied by Howards Dairies in Leigh

All extracts reproduced with thanks to author Dee Gordon. The Secret History of Southend-on-Sea is on sale now priced at £9.99 published by The History Press. It is available at Waterstones bookstores or by going to www.deegordon-writer.com

Comments (17)

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7:14am Wed 16 Apr 14

Southend Andy says...

It's always nice to find out little bits & prices about our tow.
It's always nice to find out little bits & prices about our tow. Southend Andy
  • Score: 26

7:15am Wed 16 Apr 14

southendmike says...

Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole.

Just thought I'd mention it!
Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole. Just thought I'd mention it! southendmike
  • Score: 28

7:24am Wed 16 Apr 14

whateverhappened says...

southendmike wrote:
Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole. Just thought I'd mention it!
You should write abook about it..
[quote][p][bold]southendmike[/bold] wrote: Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole. Just thought I'd mention it![/p][/quote]You should write abook about it.. whateverhappened
  • Score: -14

7:53am Wed 16 Apr 14

supermadmax says...

Number 7 :
Trains were kept away from the seafront by the residents of Royal Terrace, who forced a clause through a parliamentary bill prior to 1866 insisting that 'no locomotive blows off steam within half a mile of Royal Terrace'.

Even in the 1800's the NIMBY's were making mischief.
Number 7 : Trains were kept away from the seafront by the residents of Royal Terrace, who forced a clause through a parliamentary bill prior to 1866 insisting that 'no locomotive blows off steam within half a mile of Royal Terrace'. Even in the 1800's the NIMBY's were making mischief. supermadmax
  • Score: 27

8:19am Wed 16 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

No blowing off near Royal Terrace....

Parp!
No blowing off near Royal Terrace.... Parp! Howard Cháse
  • Score: 21

1:05pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Nelly99 says...

11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse!
11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse! Nelly99
  • Score: 25

1:53pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

Nelly99 wrote:
11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse!
Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend.

However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked.
[quote][p][bold]Nelly99[/bold] wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse![/p][/quote]Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend. However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

3:06pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Nelly99 says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Nelly99 wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse!
Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend. However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked.
No Kim, I won't be shocked. I was being frivolous but even so I don't think anyone who lives in Southend can think that Vic Circus or Progress Rd or Cuckoo Corner has actually been improved by throwing massive amounts of money at it, albeit a government grant. If I applied for FOI it would just make me angry. I think I already know where the money goes since I live on an estate where we are bombarded by council tenants put there because there is nowhere else. Guess what? I pay...they don't!
In other news...man rams head into oven! I really wanted a crack at that one!
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nelly99[/bold] wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse![/p][/quote]Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend. However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked.[/p][/quote]No Kim, I won't be shocked. I was being frivolous but even so I don't think anyone who lives in Southend can think that Vic Circus or Progress Rd or Cuckoo Corner has actually been improved by throwing massive amounts of money at it, albeit a government grant. If I applied for FOI it would just make me angry. I think I already know where the money goes since I live on an estate where we are bombarded by council tenants put there because there is nowhere else. Guess what? I pay...they don't! In other news...man rams head into oven! I really wanted a crack at that one! Nelly99
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Wed 16 Apr 14

ekcoanarak says...

southendmike wrote:
Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole.

Just thought I'd mention it!
And that picture is from 1934, the cabinets are for the Ekco AD65 circular Bakelite radio.
And someone has written a book on it called Ekco sounds, by Estuary publishing.
A most excellent read!
[quote][p][bold]southendmike[/bold] wrote: Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole. Just thought I'd mention it![/p][/quote]And that picture is from 1934, the cabinets are for the Ekco AD65 circular Bakelite radio. And someone has written a book on it called Ekco sounds, by Estuary publishing. A most excellent read! ekcoanarak
  • Score: 9

5:41pm Wed 16 Apr 14

CarnMountification says...

southendmike wrote:
Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole.

Just thought I'd mention it!
And those are radios, the model AD 65, not televisions....
[quote][p][bold]southendmike[/bold] wrote: Ref: Number 3, the name is EKCO - not ECKO. It's short for E K Cole. Just thought I'd mention it![/p][/quote]And those are radios, the model AD 65, not televisions.... CarnMountification
  • Score: 3

7:00pm Wed 16 Apr 14

the25man says...

What no mention of why Southend got it's name.
It's southend of Priory Park I have been given to understand
What no mention of why Southend got it's name. It's southend of Priory Park I have been given to understand the25man
  • Score: 0

7:19pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Southend65 says...

Nelly99 wrote:
11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse!
.. but EVERYONE knows that !
[quote][p][bold]Nelly99[/bold] wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse![/p][/quote].. but EVERYONE knows that ! Southend65
  • Score: 1

8:26pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Ian12345 says...

I thought Southend got its name because it was the southend of prittlewell
I thought Southend got its name because it was the southend of prittlewell Ian12345
  • Score: 9

7:26am Thu 17 Apr 14

whateverhappened says...

Nelly99 wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Nelly99 wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse!
Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend. However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked.
No Kim, I won't be shocked. I was being frivolous but even so I don't think anyone who lives in Southend can think that Vic Circus or Progress Rd or Cuckoo Corner has actually been improved by throwing massive amounts of money at it, albeit a government grant. If I applied for FOI it would just make me angry. I think I already know where the money goes since I live on an estate where we are bombarded by council tenants put there because there is nowhere else. Guess what? I pay...they don't! In other news...man rams head into oven! I really wanted a crack at that one!
IMHO progress road is better..longer slip road from progress to southend would be better, but if more people used bellhouse lane rather than queue for the fairway it would more smoothly,. cuckoo corner is no better or worse,... i ll give you vic circus.
[quote][p][bold]Nelly99[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nelly99[/bold] wrote: 11. Southend Council Know naff all about traffic management and throw money at useless schemes that just make things worse![/p][/quote]Are you reading the same story as me? This is about a book on Southend. However, all councils throw money at useless schemes, just apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a breakdown of how your taxes are spent and you'll be shocked.[/p][/quote]No Kim, I won't be shocked. I was being frivolous but even so I don't think anyone who lives in Southend can think that Vic Circus or Progress Rd or Cuckoo Corner has actually been improved by throwing massive amounts of money at it, albeit a government grant. If I applied for FOI it would just make me angry. I think I already know where the money goes since I live on an estate where we are bombarded by council tenants put there because there is nowhere else. Guess what? I pay...they don't! In other news...man rams head into oven! I really wanted a crack at that one![/p][/quote]IMHO progress road is better..longer slip road from progress to southend would be better, but if more people used bellhouse lane rather than queue for the fairway it would more smoothly,. cuckoo corner is no better or worse,... i ll give you vic circus. whateverhappened
  • Score: 1

1:46pm Thu 17 Apr 14

andy:) says...

Ian12345 wrote:
I thought Southend got its name because it was the southend of prittlewell
I believe Prittlewell grew out of the Priory within the park.
[quote][p][bold]Ian12345[/bold] wrote: I thought Southend got its name because it was the southend of prittlewell[/p][/quote]I believe Prittlewell grew out of the Priory within the park. andy:)
  • Score: 1

7:32am Sat 19 Apr 14

Broadwaywatch says...

For the word Prittle (old English) read 'little or small'...... a little well.
For the word Prittle (old English) read 'little or small'...... a little well. Broadwaywatch
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Nebs says...

There is an interesting fact right near the top of the page.....

By Emma Thomas, web editor

No we know who to blame when other articles are not up to scratch.
There is an interesting fact right near the top of the page..... By Emma Thomas, web editor No we know who to blame when other articles are not up to scratch. Nebs
  • Score: 1

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