Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life


MARCH New Radio Station - Mikey Porter opened up the airwaves for the very new Southend Radio 105.1FM.  A breath of fresh air for the community to have at last a champion saying 'It is good to live in Southend'.  A purpose built studio is home to the station and is part of the Adventure Island empire.  Later in the year the lower section of the building would open as Sand's restaurant.

OCTOBER The New Empire Closes - A sad day, when the Robertson family finally lost their dream.  New EmpireThe Shea Property Group who own the theatre had demanded immediate payment of rent owing.  Failing to pay this saw the theatre close. Since 1998 and with hardly a penny to rub together the Robertson's with the help of the New Empire Trust led by Roger Marlow, a relative of the original founder of the theatre, had provided a community theatre allowing some of the regions amateur groups to have a stage to show their skills. 



Happy Go Lucky -  One of the Film Festival film's of the year Happy Go Lucky directed by acadamy award winner Mike Leigh, used the Southend seafront for parts of the film as a backdrop.  This comedic style film starring Sally Hawkins (left), allows the viewer to look through the eyes of someone who is very 'Happy Go Lucky' and her confrontations with those who are not.

2008: Last resting place of HMS London discovered 1 mile off Southend Pier.  The exact location is kept secret as she is classed as a grave site and she still had a full complement of cannons and everything else that was on board the day she sunk.  To protect the wreck the Port of London Authority actually order the busy shipping lanes be re-routed round the wreck site to protect it from damage.

The site is protected by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, it is a criminal offence to dive the site and to remove any artefact from the wreck and around the wreck site, there is a 24 hour shore based surveillance on the site.


Planning Approved for Fossetts - Southend United had brought to the Civic Centre an army of fans, to listen to a full council meeting approve full planning permission for the grand plans to build a new stadium, shopping complex and flats at the Fossetts Farm location.

This huge building project was supported earlier in the year with further permission being given to Sainsburys to take over Roots Hall and build a superstore.  The Government did not let the Blues down either by giving the go ahead for the new stadium.

NOVEMBER New Southend Girl on TV's Countdown - Rachel Riley, former pupil of Southend High School for Girls, was awarded the job as glamorous maths queen on Channel 4's Countdown, taking the role from Carol Vorderman.  Rachel's family live in Thorpe Bay.   Her first appearance on the small screen was on 12th January 2009. 

NOVEMBER Pub on Fire - In November one of the oldest pubs in town was on fire.  the Golden Lion a detached building over three floors was being attacked by the flames on the third floor and into the roof area.  Fire men bravely tackeled it with the aid of breathign appratus and aerial platforms at 4am, with success.  The fire led to the pub being closed for some considerable time before reopening later in 2009.

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DECEMBER Woolworths Gone! The Southend and Leigh stores closed on 5th January 2009, as the firm went into administration just after Christmas 2008, closing all it's retail stores across the country.  Watch this fabulous tribute to the Southend store:

Read also this fascinating story from the Evening Echo on one person's long time memories of working for this once High Street institution: Click

DECEMBER Stobbart Buys Airport - Rumours were abound around the town throughout 2008 as to who might have bought Southend Airport.    The announcement this month was to be that Eddie Stobbart Group were now holding the keys and the future of the aSouthend Airportirport looked rosey.  Thoughts of it turning into a freight operation as one might expect from this company were quickly dispelled, when plans to build a new hotel and rail station on site were brought clearly to the fore as a priority.  The airport believe, to make it a viable business proposition, now need to expand the runway, not affecting St Laurence Church, to bring larger aircraft that can travel further distances on a 24 hour operational basis.

Where to now?

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