More Work on Funicular - Further reconstruction work was carried out on the Funicular railway in 1990. A new, more advanced relay control unit was installed and modifications were made to the drive system. Minor structural alterations were made to the upper station because of movement of the surrounding cliffs. Also another new carriage was installed reducing the passesnger capacity to just 18.
Mr Showbiz Dies - Arthur Levenson for some 26 years manager of the Odeon passed away this year after a short battle against cancer. Known as Mr Showbiz due to his amazing contacts that brought some of the biggest stars to the town, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. When he took over the Odeon in the High street it was amongst the largest in the UK with 2,700 seats; but with his ability to run unusual promotion campaigns and attract star names he never found it too hard to fill the large auditorium.
Poll Tax - Southend was equally hit by the new Poll Tax brought in by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government to replace the old rates system. However, the town's Tory politicians were in an awkward position, Teddy Taylor and Paul Channon were struggling to convince the local populace the tax was going to work particularly as the town was being locally governed by the Liberal Democrats who were proposing some very heavy tax increases. The MP's were encouraging their government to apply caps on the amounts the Local Authority could charge. The resulting impact would see a number of local home owners being unable to pay their mortgages leading to peaceful demonstrations in the town, unlike the major demo in the centre of London on 31st March which was classed as the largest violent demonstration in peacetime.
Another Bandstand - Southend folk and visitors have enjoyed their bandstands, and on 23rd June 1990, the latest model was opened by the Mayor Cllr D Ascroft.
Some years later this version needed moving quickly to avoid ending up down the cliff as a slip right under it was occurring which would jeopardise most of the subsidary buildings around the bandstand.
A View Along Western Esplanade of Southend Airshow 1990
Panto Time - This year at the Cliffs Pavilion the seasonal delight was Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs with Keith Harris & Denise Nolan. the Director for the show was Denis Chritchley.