Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


Returning Back to Normal

Holidaymakers at Southend, Holidaymakers sit on a bench and enjoy the sun at Southend, 1945., © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS, RM, Adults, Baby, Bench, Bus, Children, Dairy product, East of England, England, Essex, Europe, Exterior, Females, Food, Furniture, Group, Home Counties, Ice cream, Ice cream cone, Infant, Males, Motor vehicle, People, Recreation, Relaxation, Road, Seating furniture, Sitting, Southend-on-Sea, Street, Stroller, Sweets, UK, Vehicle

The end of the war allowed Southend to return to its' main function as a seaside resort.  The town had abnormally suffered as did most other resorts around the country.  The beaches had anti-tank blocks installed, housing and key hotels along with the pier had been requisitioned, and many homeless families from London sought out accommodation, along with returning town folk evacuated across the country.  An emergency housing plan was thrown into operation and prefabs were the order of the day.  The Pier finally opened the full length back to pleasure seekers on 17th May 1945.

Songwriter in Westcliff - Geoff Stephens one of the 60's most prolific British songwriters moved with his family to Westcliff where his parents set up a Guest House.  Geoff went on to become a teacher before setting his sights on songwriting and providing such memorable songs in his career as 'The Crying Game' and 'There's a Kind of Hush'.

Mayor Step's Down - Alderman William Miles OBE, JP. finally stepped down as Mayor on 9th November 1945.  Stepping into the town's history as the longest serving Mayor for over six years, holding the post through the war years; also serving as Chief Magistrate.  One of this Mayor's final acts was to formally retire the Mayor's Car a Rolls Royce (H.J.1.) that had not been in formal use since 1940, due to the war effort it was deemed inappropriate to have such a large vehicle in operation around the town. 

New Town Clerk - Southend appointed a new Town Clerk on 1st October 1945.  To see the town through the post-war years Archibald Glen provided the town some stirling service which resulted in 1971 with his achieveing the ultimate accolade of the Honorary Freedom of the Town.

General Election



 9th July 1945

Southend                                          Majority 5,721

  • Henry Channon Con 27,605
  • GR Sandison Lab 21,884
  • HD Tanner Lib 8,735


This General Election would see the Southend voters choosing for the last time a single seat.  The next election Southend would be split in two Southend East and Southend West. 

Stray Dogs - Southend Police had a pound close to the Stadium in Sutton Road.  In 1945 the police impounded 495 stray dogs. 

Southend's People - This excellent image is from Ian Yearsley's brilliant book Essex Events but clearly shows a VE Day celebration in full swing in Leigh-on-Sea:

Kids Return - The last of the evacuated children retunre dto Southend on 11th July 1945.  Others almost immediately since the major voluntary evacuation in 1942 had returned in dribs and drabs, but this was final retuning party, nearly in time for the end of the war.


Dame Helen is Born - The first house she remembers living in was in Westcliff-on-Sea, when she was two or three years old, after the birth of her younger b, who was named Peter Basil after his grandfather and great-great-grandfather. Mirren was the second of three children, born two years after her older sister Katherine ("Kate").  Mirren attended a Catholic girls' school, St Bernard's High School for Girls, in Milton Road.  Dame Helen has criticised the town in her autobiography, but does remember her time working in Kursaal Amusement park, and to this day returns to her old school for prize giving. 




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