From Academic Kids

Borough of Southend-on-Sea
Status:Unitary, Borough
Region:East of England
Ceremonial County:Essex
- Total
Ranked 314th
41.76 km²
Admin. HQ:Southend-on-Sea
ONS code:00KF
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 95th
3,838 / km²
Ethnicity:95.8% White
1.7% S.Asian
Missing image
Arms of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
MPs:David Amess, James Duddridge

Southend-on-Sea is a resort town in Essex, England. Since April 1, 1998 it has been a unitary authority. The town is located on the Thames estuary roughly 40 miles (65 km) east of London. It is bordered to the north by Rochford District Council and to the west by Castle Point District Council.



Originally the south end of the village of Prittlewell, the town became a popular seaside resort for Londoners during the Victorian era. Due to its proximity to London and easy access by train, the town's economy has largely been based on tourism ever since. The town boasts the world's longest pleasure pier at 1.25 miles (2 km) long. Over the years the pier has suffered fires and ship collisions, but has been repaired each time.

However, with the decline of traditional British sea-side resorts, from the 1960s onwards much of the centre of Southend was developed as a centre of commerce. Customs and Excise are major employers in the town, and the central offices for the collection of VAT continue to be located here. Southend recently opened its new university which is hoped will regenerate the somewhat flagging economy in the region. Southend's proximity to London has led to many people using it as a commuter town too, which to some extent explains why the town's entertainment and cultural attractions are not as developed or as frequently found as another town of a similar size might do.

Since the 2005 General Election the MP for Southend East and nearby Rochford has been James Duddridge (Conservative), who replaced the long serving MP Sir Teddy Taylor. The MP for Southend West has been, since 1997, David Amess (Conservative) who replaced Paul Channon.

The town's coat-of-arms bears the motto 'Per Mare Per Ecclesiam' which translates into 'By the Sea and By the Church', reflecting Southend's historic position between the Church at Prittlewell and the sea as in the Thames estuary.



Southend is served by two railway lines. A branch of the Great Eastern Railway, currently operated by One runs from Southend Victoria railway station and Liverpool Street railway station via Rochford, Rayleigh and Billericay.

The other line, the London Tilbury & Southend Railway, currently operated by c2c runs from Shoeburyness in the east of the borough, west through Southend Central railway station to Fenchurch Street railway station via Benfleet, Basildon or Tilbury and Barking. Two services each weekday evening terminate at Liverpool Street instead.


There are two main A-Roads connecting Southend with London and the rest of the country, the A127 (The Southend Arterial Road), via Basildon and Romford, and the A13 via Tilbury and London Docklands. Both are major routes, however within the borough of Southend, the A13 is primarily a single carriageway local route, whereas the A127 is entirely a dual carriageway.


Local public transport is served by two main bus companies, Arriva, Serving Southend (formerly the council owned Southend Transport) and First Thamesway (formerly known as Eastern National). An agreement between the companies means that they will accept each other's return tickets and local rovers. They also jointly operate a coach service to Victoria Coach Station under the Greenline brand. There is also a National Express coach service to Liverpool, which operates daily.

Southend Airport

London Southend Airport supports scheduled flights to Jersey on summer Saturdays. The new terminal and rail station planned for 2006 operation will almost certainly lead to a greater range of destinations becoming available from the airport. Discussions are already being held with interested airlines. Developed from the former military airfield at Rochford it also supports an important mix of engineering activities related to aviation and pilot training, corporate and recreational flights.


Secondary Schools

In 2004 Southend remained one of the areas of the UK that retain the grammar school system and has four schools of this type, all of which are single sex schools. Additionally there are two single sex schools assisted by the Roman Catholic church. The other 6 main-stream secondary schools in the area are all mixed sex comprehensive schools.

Further and Higher Education

A number of secondary schools in the area offer further education, but the largest provider of further education is South East Essex College [1] (, which is currently building a new campus in the centre of town.

Currently SEEC offer a limited number degree course matriculated by the University of Essex. The university's centre in the town is currently a single builing on the High Street [2] ( The University, however, has plans to build its own centre in Southend, located next to the new College campus on the site of the old Odeon cinema. The University notes that 'South Essex is probably the largest conurbation in the country without a significant higher education presence'. This future development will change this.

Entertainment and Culture

Seafront Attractions

Missing image
Southend on Sea from one mile out along the pier
Missing image
Southend pier from the land

The town is well known for its seafront attractions. An electric railway runs the length of the famous pier.

The Kursaal was one of the earliest theme parks, built at the start of the 20th century. It closed in the 1970s and much of the land was developed as housing. The entrance hall, a listed building, is now a bowling alley arcade and casino.

Another newer theme park, Adventure Island, straddles the pier entrance. It is a popular attraction for both adults and children, and despite a restriction on available land has continued to grow into a large amusement park with over 50 rides.

The cliff gardens and Victorian bandstand were a popular attraction until slippage in 2003 made parts of the cliffs unstable, and the bandstand has been removed for safe keeping. The council has expressed its desire to re-erect the bandstand but a suitable location has yet to be found.

A modern cliff lift links the base of the High Street with the new pier entrance. The older cliff lift, a short funicular railway, is located a few hundred metres away, now closed due to the cliff slippage.


There are three theatres in the town.

The oldest is the Edwardian era Palace Theatre ( Due to financial troubles the theatre has had to close a number of times in recent years. It currently shows plays from professional troups and repertory groups, as well as some comedy acts. The theatre has two circles and is noted for having a very steep rake. Part of the theatre is a smaller venue called "The Dixon Studio". This is used for more intimate performances.

The Cliffs Pavilion is a larger building and is able to host different forms of show including musical concerts, and performances on ice.

The final and most recent theatre is the New Empire Theatre. Located in the former ABC Cinema, it is, unlike the other two theatres, privately owned. It is used far more by amateur dramatic groups.


Southend boasts 3 reasonably large nightclubs (Talk, Chameleon and Storm) in the centre of town and a number of smaller clubs such as Club Alex as well around the city centre. Talk, Chameleon and Storm are all capable of holding between 500-1000 people and tend to play mainstream R n B or cheese. A rock club, the Pink Toothbrush, can be found on the other side of Southend in Rayleigh, which is very popular and is located on Rayleigh High Street.

There are three more exclusive bar/clubs too, Churchills, Seymores and Bakers Bar, which are smaller and are basically high class bars with a dance floor present too and are near enough a club on a busy night.

The sea front at night however is not the safest place to be, with the main road dominated by cruisers in converted cars and the area in general often swarming with chavs.


Southend boasts one football team of league stature, Southend United, who currently compete in League One and are under the management of Steve Tilson currently. There are 2 rugby clubs in town with a nationwide profile, Southend and Westcliff Rugby Club, with Southend having the superior men's first team but Westcliff having the more developed youth set up. Cricket is played at Southend by Essex County Cricket Club twice a year usually, but otherwise the only cricket in Southend is local league cricket.

See also

Thames Gateway, UK topics

Towns within the Borough of Southend

Chalkwell, Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, Prittlewell, Shoeburyness, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay, Westcliff-on-Sea

External links

Districts of England - East of England Flag of England

Babergh | Basildon | Bedford | Braintree | Breckland | Brentwood | Broadland | Broxbourne | Cambridge | Castle Point | Chelmsford | Colchester | Dacorum | East Cambridgeshire | East Hertfordshire | Epping Forest | Fenland | Forest Heath | Great Yarmouth | Harlow | Hertsmere | Huntingdonshire | Ipswich | King's Lynn and West Norfolk | Luton | Maldon | Mid Bedfordshire | Mid Suffolk | North Hertfordshire | North Norfolk | Norwich | Peterborough | Rochford | St Albans | St Edmundsbury | South Bedfordshire | South Cambridgeshire | Southend-on-Sea | South Norfolk | Stevenage | Suffolk Coastal | Tendring | Three Rivers | Thurrock | Uttlesford | Watford | Waveney | Welwyn Hatfield

Administrative counties with multiple districts: Bedfordshire - Cambridgeshire - Essex - Hertfordshire - Norfolk - Suffolk




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