Collections highlight: Southend in historic images

For our second collections post, we thought we would share some highlights from our extensive image collection.

One of our blog’s header images is a picture of Southend-on-Sea, which is probably one of the most photographed places in the county, which given its status as a major Victorian and Edwardian seaside resort is no surprise.

Situated on the mouth of the Thames estuary, Southend first became a resort during the eighteenth century, and tourists have been attracted ever since by its miles of beaches, and later by the longest leisure pier in the world. With its proximity to London and a good rail link, Southend was one of the most popular places for Victorian Londoners to escape to for some sea air. Its popularity declined from the 1960s, however, with the advent of cheap air travel drawing increasing numbers of people abroad for their holidays.

If you would like to find out more about Southend’s past, then you can join our Southend-on-Sea: Stepping Out walk on Friday 18th May, 2.00pm-3.30pm. The walk will trace the history of Southend, from fishing village to Georgian resort to Edwardian London’s playground. The walk costs £5 and advance booking is essential – please telephone 01245 244 620.

I/MB 321/1/32 Black and white print: Marine Parade, Southend J.T. Wood, 278 Strand, London Bound in volume, 'Views of Southend'

I/Mb 321/1/65 Southend from the sea, sailing barge in foreground

I/Mb 321/1/66 View of Pier from the beach, Southend, c.1900

I/Mb 321/1/56 London Tilbury and Southend Railway Poster. Day Excusions to Southend, 1911

I/Mb 321/1/58 Marine Parade, Southend-on-Sea, 1955

I/Mb 321/1/57 Boats at Marine Parade Beach, Southend-on-Sea. Dome of Kursaal in background, c.1955

Our digitisation programme means that many images can now be found on our online catalogue Seax – to search for a digitised image, simply select the ‘Images’ option before you begin your search.

Although many images have been digitised, they still represent a small proportion of our image collections. To search all of our records, simply select ‘Everything’ above the search box. For advice on searching for historic images, you can call us on 01245 244 644.

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