Southend-on-Sea


Southend-on-Sea
Borough of Southend-on-Sea
Aerial view of Southend-on-Sea

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
(Civic arms of Southend-on-Sea)
Shown within Essex
Country United Kingdom
Constituent Country England
Region East
Ceremonial County Essex
Unitary Authority Southend
Government
 – Leadership Leader & Cabinet
 – Governing Body Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
 – Executive Conservative
 – MPs David Amess (C)
James Duddridge (C)
Area
 – Total 41.76 km2 (16.1 sq mi)
Population
 – Total Ranked 107th
165,300
 – Density 3,959/km2 (10,253.8/sq mi)
 – Ethnicity[1] 93.6% White
2.5% S.Asian
1.5% Black
1.4% Mixed Race
Time zone GMT
 – Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC)
Twin Cities
 – Sopot Poland
Grid reference TQ883856
ONS code 00KF
Website www.southend.gov.uk

Southend-on-Sea (About this sound pronunciation ) is a unitary authority area, town, and seaside resort in Essex, England. The district has Borough status, and comprises the towns of Chalkwell, Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, North Shoebury, Prittlewell, Shoeburyness, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay, and Westcliff-on-Sea. The district is situated within the Thames Gateway on the north side of the Thames estuary 40 miles (64 km) east of central London. It is bordered to the north by Rochford and to the west by Castle Point. It is home to the longest leisure pier in the world, The Southend Pier.[2]

Contents

History

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[citation needed] 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 miles (2158m).[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 HM 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 in order 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.

Governance

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]

Council

Southend - Civic Centre Autumn 2007

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 last election in 2008 the composition of the council was:[5]

Affiliation Councillors
  Conservative Party 27
  Liberal Democrats 12
  Independent 8
  Labour Party 4

The council has been controlled by the Conservative Party since they gained control in the 2000 election. Most day to day decisions are by a 10-member executive headed by the council leader.

The town's 'Per Mare Per Ecclesiam' translates into 'By the Sea and 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]

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.

Demographics

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 Department for Communities and Local Government's 2010 Indices of Multiple Deprivation [4] data showed that Southend is one of Essex's most deprived areas. Out of 32,482 Lower Super Output Areas in England, area 014D in the Kursaal ward is 99th, area 015B in Milton ward is 108th, area 010A in Victoria ward is 542nd, and area 009D in Southchurch ward is 995th, as well as an additional 5 areas all within the top 10% most deprived areas in England (with the most deprived area having a rank of 1 and the least deprived a rank of 32,482). [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.

Save the Children's research data shows that for 2008/2009, Southend had 4,000 children living in poverty, a rate of 12%, the same as Thurrock, but above the 11% child poverty rate of the rest of Essex. [6]

Economy

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[7] Agriculture[8] Industry[9] Services[10]
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.[11]

Transport

Southend Victoria Station

Railways

Southend Cliff Railway

Southend is served by two 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 National Express East 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.[12]

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.[13]

Road

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.

Buses

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.

Southend Airport

Aerial view of Southend Airport

London Southend Airport was developed from the military airfield at Rochford, opened as a civil airport in 1935, and now offers scheduled twice daily flights to Waterford and Galway in Ireland and flights to Jersey on summer Saturdays, corporate and recreational flights, aircraft maintenance and pilot training. A new ATC control tower opened in March 2011 and a new railway station opened 18 July 2011; a new terminal under construction is to be opened alongside the station in late 2011. The runway is shortly to be extended, and a new hotel will be built at the airport. Southend Airport is operated by Stobart Air, a division of the Stobart Group. The airport, and aviation businesses based there, provides a major employment site within the town with more than 1,000 jobs.

Education

Secondary schools

In 2004 Southend retained 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. The other mainstream secondary schools are mixed-sex comprehensives, including Belfairs High School, Cecil Jones College, Chase High School (formerly Prittlewell High School), Futures Community College (formerly Thorpe Bay High School), Shoeburyness High School and The Eastwood School.

Southend - South Essex College

Further and higher education

A number of secondary schools offer further education, but the largest provider is South Essex College,[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.

Sport

Southend – Leisure and Tennis Centre

Southend has two football teams, one of league stature, Southend United, managed by Paul Sturrock. 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 clubs with nationwide profile, Southend R.F.C. 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.[17]

Entertainment and culture

Seafront attractions

The sunset in Southend, a view of Adventure Island in 2007
Southend on Sea from one mile out along the pier

The town is known for its seafront. Southend-on-Sea is home to the world's longest pleasure pier, built in 1830 and stretching some 1.33 miles from shore[18] 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 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. 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.[19]

Shopping

On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Southend hosts a farmers' market.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

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[23]

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

The Beecroft Art Gallery on Station Road includes a painting by John Constable.

The Southend Central Museum on Victoria Avenue features original Ekco radios, from, E.K. Cole & Co. Ltd. (or 'Ekco') formerly based in Southend, who in the 1930s were one of Britain's largest radio manufacturers.

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.

Theatres

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.

Music

Junk club which was held at The Royal Hotel and The Sunrooms, spearheaded what became known as the Southend Scene. Junk was regularly featured in the NME, Rolling Stone and Vogue.[24] Bands associated with the scene included The Horrors, These New Puritans, The Violets, Errorplains and Neils Children. Southend has two major venues; Chinnerys and the Cliffs Pavilion both have hosted appearances from a large number of artistes. The Sunrooms is a smaller venue which opened in 1991, specialising 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.

Bands and solo musicians that originate from Southend include; The Hamsters, Procol Harum, Danielle Dax, The Horrors, The Kursaal Flyers, These New Puritans, Ipso Facto, Scroobius Pip, Busted.

Radio

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 the 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.[25]

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 Bangla 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 is held there every Friday.[26]

Notable people

References

  1. ^ Lead View Table
  2. ^ a b David Else, ed (2009). England. Lonely Planet travel guide (5th ed.). Lonely Planet. p. 445. ISBN 1741045908. 
  3. ^ "Fire burns through Southend Pier". CBBC Newsround. 10 October 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4320000/newsid_4326300/4326378.stm. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  4. ^ James Bettley (2007). Nikolaus Pevsner. ed. Essex. Pevsner Architectural Guides: The Buildings of England. Yale University Press. pp. 690–691. ISBN 0300116144. 
  5. ^ "Local Election Results 2008". Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. http://www.southend.gov.uk/election/2008/. Retrieved 2010-04-09. [dead link]
  6. ^ Laura Smith (January 30, 2008). "Echo News - Official: Council is wasting our cash". http://www.echo-news.co.uk/search/2003572.Official__Council_is_wasting_our_cash/. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  7. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  8. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  9. ^ includes energy and construction
  10. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  11. ^ Gazette-news.co.uk
  12. ^ John Robert Day, John Reed (2005). The story of London's underground (9 ed.). Capital Transport. pp. 66. ISBN 9791854142893. 
  13. ^ "Southend Cliff Railway". The Heritage Trail. http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/cliff_trams/southend_cliff_railway.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  14. ^ Southend.ac.uk
  15. ^ Sarfend.co.uk
  16. ^ Essex.ac.uk
  17. ^ SAC Official Club Website
  18. ^ Southend Pleasure Pier.
  19. ^ Echo-news report on the Southend Shakedown
  20. ^ Essex Farmers Markets
  21. ^ Airshow website Retrieved 2 June 2009}
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ 'The beach boys', Guardian Unlimited Arts article on the scene
  25. ^ Sarfend.co.uk's page on Radio in Southend
  26. ^ Echo-news.co.uk

External links

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


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