World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


"Southend" redirects here. For other uses, see Southend (disambiguation).

Borough of Southend-on-Sea
Town, Unitary Authority & Borough

Aerial view of Southend-on-Sea

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
(Civic arms of Southend-on-Sea)
Motto: Per Mare Per Ecclesiam
(By Sea, By Church)

Shown within Essex
Country United Kingdom
Constituent Country England
Region East
Ceremonial County Essex
Unitary Authority Southend
 • Leadership Leader & Cabinet
 • Governing Body Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
 • Executive TBA (council NOC)
 • MPs David Amess (C)
James Duddridge (C)
 • Total 41.76 km2 (16.12 sq mi)
 • Total Ranked 101st
 • Density 4,174/km2 (10,810/sq mi)
 • Ethnicity[1] 93.6% White
2.5% S.Asian
1.5% Black
1.4% Mixed Race
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Twin cities
 • Sopot Poland
Grid reference ONS code 00KF (ONS)
E06000033 (GSS)

Southend-on-Sea (NM (2.8 km; 1.7 mi) north of the town centre.


Originally the "south end" of the village of Prittlewell, Southend became a seaside resort during the Georgian era, attracting many tourists in the summer months to its seven miles of beaches and bathing in the sea. Good rail connections and proximity to London mean that much of the economy has been based on tourism, and that Southend has been a dormitory town for city workers ever since. Southend Pier is the world's longest pleasure pier at 1.34 mi (2.16 km).[2] It has suffered fires and ship collisions, most recently in October 2005,[3] but the basic pier structure has been repaired each time. There has been significant loss of pier-head facilities since the major fire in 1976.

Southend, like many other British sea-side resorts, went into decline as a holiday destination from the 1960s, since flights and hence holidays abroad became more affordable. Since then, much of the town centre has been developed for commerce and retail, and during the 1960s many original structures were lost to redevelopment. However, about 6.4 million tourists still visit Southend per year, generating estimated revenues of £200 million a year. H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC), (formerly H.M. Customs and Excise), are major employers in the town, and the central offices for the collection of VAT are located on Victoria Avenue. The University of Essex, Southend Campus has been developed to locally provide further education facilities and to assist in boosting the economy. Southend also has over 80 parks and green spaces and 14 conservation areas.

There are nine railway stations on two lines within the borough which connect it to London.


Local government district

Southend-on-Sea was formed as a municipal borough in 1892 with the functions of local government shared with Essex County Council. In 1913 the borough was enlarged by the former area of Leigh on Sea Urban District. In 1914 the enlarged Southend gained the status of county borough, exempt from county council control and a single-tier of local government. The county borough was enlarged in 1933 by the former area of Shoeburyness Urban District and part of Rochford Rural District.

In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Southend became a district of Essex with borough status, however in 1998 it again became the single tier of local government when it became a unitary authority.[4]


Seventeen wards each return three councillors, a total of 51. Councillors serve four years and one third of the council is elected each year, followed by one year without election. Following the 2012 election results the composition of the council was:[5]

Affiliation Councillors
  Conservative Party 25
  Liberal Democrats 10
  Independent 10
  Labour Party 6

The Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has been controlled by the Conservative Party since they gained control in the 2000 election they maintained a minority administration after the 2012 local elections. Most day to day decisions are by an eight member executive headed by the council leader.

The Latin motto, 'Per Mare Per Ecclesiam', emblazened on the municipal coat of arms, translates as 'By [the] Sea, By [the] Church', reflecting Southend's position between the church at Prittlewell and the sea as in the Thames estuary. The town is twinned with the resort of Sopot in Poland, and has been developing three-way associations with Lake Worth, Florida. Sopot has the longest wooden pier in Europe, Southend the longest iron pleasure pier in the world.

Southend Borough Council was criticised as one of the worst financially managed local authorities in England by the Audit Commission report for 2006/7 one of three to gain only one of four stars, the others being Liverpool and the Isles of Scilly. Areas of criticism were the use of consultants and the spending of £3.5 million on taxis during the 2006/7 financial year.[6]

However, in March 2012, Southend Borough Council was awarded the title of 'Council of the Year 2012' by the Local Government Chronicle.[7]

Members of Parliament

Southend is represented by two MPs at Westminster.

The MP for Southend West since 1997 has been David Amess (Conservative) who replaced Paul Channon.

Since 2005 the MP for Rochford and Southend East has been James Duddridge (Conservative), who replaced Sir Teddy Taylor. Despite its name the majority of the constituency is in Southend, Rochford makes up only a small part and the majority of Rochford District Council is represented in the Rayleigh constituency. Both Southend seats are considered safe for the Conservative Party.


Southend is the seventh most densely populated area in the United Kingdom outside of the London Boroughs, with 38.8 people per hectare compared to a national average of 3.77. As of mid-2006, 18% of the population was aged under 15, with the same proportion being aged over 65. The proportion of people aged 55–64 was 12%.[3]

The [5] Victoria and Milton wards have the highest percentage of ethnic minority population. Southend has the highest percentage of residents receiving housing benefit (19%) and the third highest percentage of residents receiving council tax benefit in Essex.



This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Southend-on-Sea at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[8] Agriculture[9] Industry[10] Services[11]
1995 1,373 2 305 1,066
2000 1,821 1 375 1,445
2003 2,083 418 1,665

In 2006 major travel insurance company InsureandGo relocated its offices from Braintree to Southend-on-Sea. The company brought with it 300 new jobs for the area.[12]



Southend is served by two National Rail lines. Running from Southend Victoria north out of the town is the Liverpool Street line, a branch of the Great Eastern Main Line operated by Greater Anglia. The service operates to London Liverpool Street via Prittlewell, Southend Airport, Rochford, Hockley, Rayleigh, Wickford, Billericay, Shenfield and Stratford.

The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, the Fenchurch Street line, is operated by c2c and runs from Shoeburyness in the east of the borough, west through Thorpe Bay, Southend East, Southend Central to Fenchurch Street in London via Benfleet and Basildon or Tilbury and Barking. Additionally, two services from Southend Central each weekday evening terminate at Liverpool Street.

From 1910 to 1939 the London Underground's District Line's eastbound service ran as far as Southend and Shoeburyness.[13]

Besides its main line railway connections, Southend is also the home of two smaller railways. The Southend Pier Railway provides transport along the length of Southend Pier, whilst the nearby Southend Cliff Railway provides a connection from the promenade to the cliff top above.[14]


Two A-roads connect Southend with London and the rest of the country, the A127 (The Southend Arterial Road), via Basildon and Romford, and the A13, via Tilbury and London Docklands. Both are major routes. However, within the borough, the A13 is a single carriageway local route, whereas the A127 is almost entirely dual carriageway. Both lead to the M25 and eventually London.

No To Mob patrols warn motorists of the presence of active council parking enforcement CCTV vans.[15]


Local public transport is by two main bus companies, Arriva Southend (formerly the council-owned Southend Corporation Transport) and First Essex Buses (formerly NBC/Thamesway). Minor companies include Stephensons of Essex, and Regal Busways.

London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport was developed from the military airfield at Rochford, opened as a civil airport in 1935, and now offers scheduled flights to destinations across Europe, corporate and recreational flights, aircraft maintenance and pilot training. Developments since 2011 include an ATC control tower, a new railway station, a new terminal opened alongside the station, and the runway has been extended by 300 metres (980 ft).


Secondary schools

All mainstream secondary schools are mixed-sex comprehensives, including Belfairs Academy, Cecil Jones College, Chase High School, Futures Community College, Shoeburyness High School, The Eastwood Academy and King John School

In 2004, Southend retained the grammar school system and has four such schools: Southend High School for Boys, Southend High School for Girls, Westcliff High School for Boys and Westcliff High School for Girls.

Additionally there are two single-sex schools assisted by the Roman Catholic Church: St Bernard's High School for Girls and St Thomas More High School for Boys. Both, while not grammar schools, contain a grammar stream; entrance is by the same exam as grammar schools.

Further and higher education

A number of secondary schools offer further education, but the largest provider is South Essex College,[16] in a new building in the centre of town. Formerly known as South East Essex College, the college changed name in January 2010 following a merger with Thurrock and Basildon College.[17] South Essex College offers 30-degree courses matriculated by the University of Essex, as well as a number of weekend and evening courses. The university's centre in the town is a single building on the High Street.[18] The university has built its own centre in Southend, next to the college building on the site of the Odeon cinema. These buildings form the first two phases of the Southend Campus. Additionally, there is SEEVIC College. The East 15 Acting School, a drama school, has its second campus there. Also available is the excellent Southend Adult Community College.


Southend has two football teams, one of league stature, Southend United, managed by Phil Brown. The other, Southend Manor, play in the Essex Senior League. United competed in Football League One (the third highest division of the English football league system) after being relegated after finishing third from bottom of Football League Championship at the end of the 2006–07 season. They now Play in Football League Two having been relegated again after finishing 23rd at the end of the 2009–10 season.

There are two rugby union clubs with nationwide profile, Southend RFC and Westcliff R.F.C., Southend having the superior men's first team (playing in National League 2 South). Essex County Cricket Club play in Southend one week a season. Previously the festival was at Southchurch Park, but it has moved to Garon Park. The only other cricket is local.

The eight-lane, floodlit, synthetic athletics track at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre is home to Southend-on-Sea Athletic Club. The facilities include all track and field events.[19]

Entertainment and culture

Southend Pleasure Pier

Main article: Southend Pier

Southend-on-Sea is home to the world's longest pleasure pier, built in 1830 and stretching some 1.33 miles from shore.[20] Since 1986, a diesel-hydraulic railway has run the length of the pier, replacing the electric service which opened in 1890. The pier has been beset by fires; a fire in 1995 destroyed the bowling alley at the start of the pier and another fire in October 2005 damaged the far end of the pier. The pier was also run through by a boat in 1984.

The Kursaal

Main article: Kursaal (amusement park)

The Kursaal was one of the earliest theme parks, built at the start of the 20th century. It closed in the 1970s and much of the land was developed as housing. The entrance hall, a listed building, is a bowling alley arcade operated by Megabowl and casino.

The Cliff Lift

A short funicular railway, constructed in 1912, links the seafront to the High Street level of the town. The lift re-opened to the public in 2010, following a period of refurbishment.[21]

Other seafront attractions

The town is known for its seafront and attractions.

An amusement park, formerly known as Peter Pan's Playground, straddles the pier entrance. Peter Pan's Playground was eventually renamed Adventure Island as its size and popularity grew, and has since grown into a large amusement park with over 50 rides. The seafront also houses the "Sea-Life Adventure" aquarium, owned by the Miller family, who also own Adventure Island.

The cliff gardens, which included Never Never Land and a Victorian bandstand were an attraction until slippage in 2003 made parts of the cliffs unstable, and the bandstand has been removed. The council wants to re-erect the bandstand but a location has to be found.

A modern vertical lift links the base of the High Street with the seafront and the new pier entrance. The older Southend Cliff Railway, a short funicular, is a few hundred metres away.

Art on the Railings is a regular exhibition for local artists who display their work on Pier Hill.

The London to Southend Classic Car run takes place each summer and features classic cars which line the seafront.

The Southend Shakedown, organised by Ace Cafe, is an annual event featuring motorbikes and scooters. There are other scooter runs throughout the year, including the Great London Rideout, which arrives at Southend seafront each year.[22]


On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Southend hosts a farmers' market.[23]

There are regular vintage fairs and markets in Southend, held at a variety of locations including the Leigh Community Centre, The Kursaal and The Railway Hotel.

A record fair is frequently held at West Leigh Schools, Ronald Hill Grove, Leigh on Sea.

Festival events

An airshow, dubbed Festival of the Air in 2009, takes place each May. Starting in 1986 – the first show starred a Concorde flypast whilst on a passenger charter flight – the show is one of Europe's largest free airshows and features high-speed military jets and sports aerobatic displays, which fly over the sea, parallel with the seafront. The RAF Falcons parachute display team and RAF Red Arrows jet aerobatics team are regular visitors to the show.[24]

Each August Southend Carnival opens along the "Golden Mile" with the lighting of the Southend Illuminations.

The Southend-on-Sea Film Festival is an annual event that began in 2009 and is run by The White Bus who are based at TAP, Old Water Works in Southend. Ray Winstone attended the opening night gala in both 2010 and 2011, and has become the Festival Patron.[25]

The films shown are a combination of world cinema, independent cinema, documentaries, children's films, sing-a-longs, popular classics, and British noir. The Festival usually takes place over 5 days in spring, at the Palace Theatre, Park Inn Palace Hotel, and the Southend Central Museum and Planetarium. Fringe events including musical performances take place at a variety of locations in Southend.[26]

Leigh Folk Festival is a three-day event each summer in Old Leigh, featuring live music by the sea.

Leigh on Sea Fishing Festival is held in Old Leigh and is organised by local fishermen. It provides an opportunity to see the port in action and taste the local catch.

Old Leigh Regatta is a family event with stalls, dancing, local food, music, and water activities.

Art, galleries and museums

Focal Point Gallery is South Essex's gallery for contemporary visual art, promoting and commissioning major solo exhibitions, group and thematic shows, a programme of events including performances, film screenings and talks, as well as offsite projects and temporary public artworks. The organisation is funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Arts Council England.

Southend Museums Service, part of Southend on Sea Borough Council, operates a number of historic attractions, an art gallery and a museum in the town. These include: The Beecroft Art Gallery, Southchurch Hall, Prittlewell Priory and the Central Museum on Victoria Avenue.[27]

Leigh Art Trail began in 1997, and each year local artists display their work at a variety of locations through Leigh Broadway and in Old Leigh.

Westcliff Art Trail began in 2008 and follows a similar format to the Leigh Art Trail, with local artists showcasing their work in Westcliff shops, cafes and bars.


There are three theatres. The Cliffs Pavilion is a large building to host concerts and performances on ice. The most recent theatre is the New Empire Theatre. It is, unlike the other two, privately owned. It is used more by amateur groups. The theatre was converted from the ABC Cinema, which was originally a theatre built in 1896. The New Empire theatre closed in 2009. The Edwardian Palace Theatre is a grade II building built in 1912. It shows plays from professional troupes and repertory groups, as well as comedy acts. The theatre has two circles and the steepest rake in Britain. Part of the theatre was a smaller venue called The Dixon Studio.


Junk Club was predominantly held in the basement at The Royal Hotel between 2001 – 2006. The underground club night played and eclectic mix from Post Punk to Acid House, 60's Psychedelia to Electro. It was noted as spearheading what became known as the Southend Scene and was featured in the NME, Dazed & Confused, ID, Rolling Stone, Guardian and Vogue.[28] Bands associated with the scene included; The Horrors, These New Puritans, The Violets, Ipso Facto, Neils Children and The Errorplains. The independent record label DiscError Recordings was set up by local designer Discordo who put together artwork for many of the new wave of Southend bands. Southend has three major venues; Chinnerys, The Riga club at the Cricketers pub London road, and the Cliffs Pavilion All have hosted appearances from a large number of artistes. The Sunrooms is a smaller venue which opened in 1991, originally a nod to the late 80's balearic lifestyle coming out of Ibiza, it specialised in reggae, funk, electronica and underground dance music. The Railway Hotel is a live music pub, which features a variety of acts, as well as curating the Southend Pier Festival.

Other Bands and musicians originating from Southend include; Danielle Dax, The Kursaal Flyers, Scroobius Pip, Procol Harum, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Busted.


In 1981, Southend became the home of Essex Radio, which broadcast from studios below Clifftown Road. In 2004, the renamed Essex FM, now Heart Essex moved to studios in Chelmsford.

On 28 March 2008, Southend got its own radio station for the first time which is also shared with Chelmsford Radio formerly known as Dream 107.7 FM and Chelmer FM before that, Southend Radio started broadcasting on 105.1FM from purpose built studios adjacent to the Adventure Island theme park.[29]

Places of worship

There are numerous churches around the borough catering to different Christian denominations. There are also two synagogues, one for orthodox Jews, in Westcliff, and a reform synagogue in Chalkwell. Three mosques provide for Muslim population; one run by the Bangladeshi community, where sermon is given in Bengali as well as English and the mandatory Arabic. The others, both run by the Pakistani community, provide sermons in Urdu and Arabic, and English and Arabic.

York Road Market

Demolition of the historic market began on 23 April 2010 despite the attempts of locals to have the building renovated. The location is now home to a car park. A temporary market was held there every Friday until 2012 when it was cancelled for not being successful.[30]

Notable people


External links

  • Southend Borough Council
  • Southend Punk History – Local Music History Site
  • Southend Museums Service
  • DMOZ
Preceded by
Blackburn with Darwen
LGC Council of the Year
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 51°32′16″N 0°42′50″E / 51.53789°N 0.71377°E / 51.53789; 0.71377

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.