Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


Putting on the Ritz - Church Road saw the opening of the Ritz Cinema on 14th Feb 1935; sitting proud next to the Palace Hotel on Pier Hill.  the premiere programme was really special with the Mayor in attendance to formally open the cinema and the star Anna Neagle, of the first film 'Nell Gwyn' also on hand to provide the star quality.

The cinema was a big venue with 2,225 seat, a Conacher organ and full stage facilities and a large bar upstairs with sea views.  The building had a long life, even transforiming into a Bingo Hall in its later years, until it fell into disrepair and demolished in 1981, to make way for the Royals Shopping Centre. 



Grove House School demolished, on the site of the current Royals Shopping Centre

PortersPorters - opened as Civic House and Mayor's Parlour in 1935.

Chief Retires - Chief Constable Kerslake retired from Southend Police in April 1935.  Much to the relief of some of his force as he was well known for his military style of leadership, and did not appreciate fools lightly.  However, he will be remembered and recognised for steering the force through a period of growth, from when he started as Chief Constable 21 years earlier, Southend had a tiny force with minimal equipment, his legacy would be a well disciplined force capable of delivering an excellent policing duty across the whole borough.

Lifeboats - The end of the pier gained a new lifeboat house and slipway this year.


Police Arrive in Shoebury - A new police station in Elm Road, Shoeburyness was completed in March 1935; the Shoebury Division was ready along with a few others established across the borough in the same year.

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Illuminations - Southend started this year an illumination spectacular along the seafront.  The Cliffs, promenade and the pier were all part of the display and would easily rival Blackpool.  It was discontinued in 1939.

Home Fleet on Display - In May the Home Fleet lay off Shoeburyness and Southend for a week, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V 


Sir Henry Arrives in Town - A new MP arrived in Southend, Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon took up his seat in 1935 keeping it for some 23 years until his death. Famous for his outspokenness around the political circuit of his time, recorded in his published diaries, some still yet to be released.  The election happened on 14th November 1935 with the following results:

General Election


Southend                                        Majority 24,931

  • Henry Channon Con 36,865
  • M Gladstone Lib 11,934
  • Miss H M Keynes Lab 7,796


Southend Airport Opens - Bought by Southend Council in 1930, the airfield came into operation run by Southend Flying Club.  On Wednesday 18th September 1935 an official opening of the Municipal Airport occured with Sir Philip Sassoon Bt, GBE, CMG, MP (Under-Secretary of State for Air) as guest of honour.  The day was some spectacle with a full programme of events including Converging Bombing by members of Southend Flying Club, the Astoria Grand Orchestra performed and a Mannequin Parade.  The public were invited to pay for pleasure flights in an Avro 642 over Southend.

Astoria Opens - The Southend Astoria was built on the former site of Luker's Brewery.  Opened on 15th July 1935, the Astoria was a super-cinema of its time, sitting 2,750 people and housing a compton organ, cafe, orchestra, stage facilities and no less than 14 dressing rooms.  The opening night showing of Brewster's Millions, starring Jack Buchanan, attracted a massive crowd.  The Astoria was later taken over by Odeon Theatres.

New Roller Arrives - Courtesy of the Brussels Exhibition the new Cyclone Roller Coaster arrived in town at the Kursaal Amusement Park.

Pier Reaches 100 - The pier celebrated its centenary on 23rd July 1935. It took place in this year rather than 1930, this date represented the Admiralty recognising Southend Pier on its charts, and was part of the Festival of Light, the very first illuminations display that would attract thousands for years to come, nationally it was only rivalled by Blackpool.

Honorius 013572Early Coin Unearthed - Coin finds have been numerous, including hoards at Rayleigh and Leigh and a gold coin of Honorius (395-423 A.D.) struck at Milan, was unearthed at Southchurch in 1935.



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