New Schools - After years of building, planning and upheaval the town formally welcomed 10 Schools and Youth facilities to the fold. The Right Honourable Patrick Walker, PC, MP Secretary of State for Education and Science performed the Opening of the Schools on Friday 29th March. The joint opening involved: Barons Court Infant School, Bournes Green Junior School, Dowsett High School for Girls, Eastwood Infant School, Eastwood Junior School, Priory Special School, St Nicholas Special School, Southend Youth Centre, Youth Sports Hall, Youth Theatre.
St Nicholas Special School Open - January welocmed the opening of St Nicholas Special School led by Mr H Howe, who would welcome 120 children aged 7 to 16 years who in general had learning difficulties. This school in design became unique for its ability to provide a multi facited educative environment for its students including horticultural activity, cooking, sewing and many craftwork activities.
Barons Court Infants School - Miss M A Allardyce became the first headmistress of this school located in an interesting part of Southend. In a previous life the land underneath formed the first park in the town hence the road names surrounding the school. In some ways it is admirable that where possible the original trees from this park have been maintained and featured as part of the new school. As an Infant School the children would expect to feed to Hamlet Court Road Junior School.
Eastwood Junior School - Having opened originally in 1963 as a joint Junior and Infant school north of the Arterial Road in the Kent Elms area, this year celebrated a split that saw the school under the Headship of Mr J Negus provide just junior education for 320 boys and girls aged 7 to 11. A swimming pool opened in July 1966 to offer excellent facilities for this new school.
Clifftown is Conserved - The Clifftown area of Southend gained protection in 1968. At a time when the town had undergone and was still receiving some siginificant architectural change. The area would include the Georgian Royal Terrace, Clifftown Parade and further in to Nelson Street and Cambridge Road area. Today this area is very well preserved and does enable this young town to attribute some historical heritage through this much admired area. At a later date the boundaries of the conservation area would be extended
Pier Hill Is Alive to the Sound of Music - The Ritz cinema recorded one of its most successful seasons thanks to the Sound of Music, which ran to almost full houses for nearly sixteen weeks. The cinema atop of Pier Hill and next to the Palace Hotel, is noted as being a 'Second Run' cinema picking up the films after they had been shown at major picture houses such as The Odeon. To get the Julie Andrews musical will have been a good financial shot in the arm to keep the art deco cinema going.
Photographer Born - Dean Chalkley born and schooled in Westcliff has become one of the most noted British photographers of the modern age. His works today include many of the most prolific celebrities including Amy Winehouse and Simon Cowell. A long way from his early school days at Fairfax High School. He is well known for his album cover artwork and has even ventured into the world of short films and DJ-ing.
Gasworks Jetty Demolished - The gasworks as functional as it was, became an iconic symbol along Eastern Esplanade. The Jetty disappeared in 1968.
Darlinghurst Primary School Opens for September Term
Leigh Fire Station - The Borough's fire cover was enhanced on 1st October when the Mountdale Garden's station was occupied for the first time.
Warren Ellis Born - Prolific author of comics and novels as well as appearances on TV. Warren, born on 16th February 1968, is well known for sociocultural commentary, both through his online presence and his writing, he is currently a resident of Southend. Website: Click
Fire in London Road - An electrical fault caused a severe fire at Sharpe's Electrical 313 London Road. Due to the many lampshades suspended from the ceiling the fire spread rapidly causing serious damage to the shop and the first floor flat.
North Shoebury Hall burnt down June 1968.
The Dome on Fire - During the early hours of Friday 24th April, a fire engulfed The Dome Garage, at 11 Southchurch Avenue. The building, workshop and several cars were severely damaged by fire. The site today is clear and used as a car park opposite the Kursaal.
Westcliff Synagogue Built - Finchley Road in Westcliff-on-Sea saw the building of a brand new synagogue to cope with the expanding Jewish population in the area. Established synagogue's in Alexandra Road and Ceylon Road were in some respects rivals but later joined together.
Keddies Ahead in Fashion - On 14th March 1968 Keddies, well known for its trend setting in fashion, hosted a Fashion Show of some note in Southend. Notably engaging the services of TV celebrity Katie Boyle. The entire proceeds of the show were donated to the Salvation Army