Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life




Steam Boats Work - It was reported that one and a quarter million people had used the steamboats from the end of the pier, and 5 million had used the pier.


New Trains for the Pier - In 1949 the rolling stock was replaced with four new trains similar in design to the London Underground stock, built by AC Cars, of Thames Ditton, in Surrey. The stock was liveried in green and cream.  The trains were inaugurated by the Mayor of London Lord Broadbridge. 

Ideal Homes in Kursaal - February saw a ten day exhibition at the Kursaal.  Called the Ideal Homes and Trade Exhibition, the first day saw it being opened by Mr Fred Yule and Cdr Campbell from BBC fame.  Over the 10 days this popular attraction attracted some 81,000 visitors and was deemed a success.  A famous face helps pull in the crowds too, Sylvia Peters visited on the 17th February after touring the Ecko Factory to see where some of the countries electronic innovations were being made.  One of the newspaper adverts at the time said: “For the housewife there will be gadgets of every description; cooking demonstrations will take place daily and visitors will see how to cook a complete meal in 15 minutes.”  No doubt taking on board the limitations of rationing at the time.


RAFA Take Cinema - The Star Cinema in West Street long closed and abandoned took on new residents in 1949, the Royal Air Force.  The Ex service side were homeless and through the acquisition of the cinema were able to go in mob handed and clear it out in time for a grand opening of the new RAFA HQ during Battle of Britain week.

Panto - Palace Theatre hosted this year Mother Goose

TV Celebrations -  BBC TV programme 'Picture Page' put on a special New Year's Eve edition which featured Southend, with celebrations in the Kal ursareflected across the country.


Freddie Laker Blazes a Trail - Aviation Traders was established by Freddie Laker at Southend Aerodrome in 1949 and was one of many seeking to develop a successor to the Douglas DC-3 aircraft that had been so prominent during and after the Second World War. The outcome of their work was the ATL-90 Accountant that first flew on 9th July 1957.

Factory Fire - Prittlewell suffered a night time factory fire on Thursday 6th June when Goodwin’s Shopfitters was completed gutted in Rochford Road.

Flu Hits Town - A Flu epidemic hit Southend in 1949, known as the Two Day Flu; the virus, thought to have originated in France was hitting the residents and many an event or production involving the mass meetings of people were cancelled.

New attraction arrives – 1949 saw the arrival of the Golden Hind a replica ship built alongside the pier for the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike.

Berlin Airlift - Southend Airport took on and important role in support of the Berlin Airlift. Providing landing space support maintenance and refuelling for the large transport aircraft.

Movie Star in Town - A New Carnival Royalty meets Celebrity, on 22nd August 1949 Margaret Lockwood formerly met the new Carnival Queen, Miss Barbara Murray at the Odeon.

Southend Renamed Eastport - Director Lewis Gilbert was in town through 1949 filming shots around Westcliff, Leigh and the Kursaal for his new film ‘Once a Sinner’ starring Pat Kirkwood and Jack Watling.

Film Synopsis:

In the seaside resort of Eastport, engaged bank clerk John Ross (Jack Watling) comes to the aid of barmaid Irene James (Patricia Kirkwood) who is squabbling with another man on the seafront. Ross becomes enraptured by Irene and the pair are quickly married, but unbeknown to John she’s a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who was the mistress of petty-crook Jimmy Smart (Sydney Tafler). Ross is offered a transfer at the bank as they correctly suspect his wife is involved in passing forged bank notes. The counterfeiter, menacing Charlie (Stuart Latham), decides that Jimmy must be silence and although he is shot and wounded, the injury isn’t fatal. Meanwhile, Ross tracks down his and attempts to make a fresh start in a nearby town.




Hospital Burns - An unusual sight was seen in 1949 when the Southend Corporation instructed the Fire Brigade to burn down a hospital.  Not just any hospital this was the Isolation Hospital on Sutton Road used for Small Pox sufferers right up until 1946.  Since better medical management had been adopted the building had been left to decay, so to eradicate any possible infection remaining in the building the site was cleared using fire to destroy it completely.

Famous Architect Dies - Sir Charles Nicholson, eminent architect responsible for developing some of the key churches in the town dies on 4th March 1949. He also resided in Porters for some time.







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