Here’s a picture I like very much. It appeared today in the Echo, the local paper circulating in South Essex. It shows Southend-on-Sea Pier Head in 1905, packed with trippers in Edwardian dress. Probably many of them will have disembarked from ships bringing them down from London or from other places. That still happens sometimes even now when cruise ships put in to the Pier.
The structure shown changed over the years, and sadly the buildings at the Pier Head disappeared in fires until all that was left was the relatively new RNLI station and shop, (fortunately untouched), a small cafe and some public loos located in a sort of container. Even the train station with its crenellated platform cover went, and for years much of the Pier Head was just an empty space. Now there is the very modern Royal Pavilion as well.
As the Echo says “She’s the grand old lady of Southend. She’s withstood the elements, raging fires and dwindling pots of cash to repair her and has always risen phoenix-like out of the ashes to continue thrilling new generations”. Now Historic England, the successor to English Heritage, has named Southend Pier as one of England’s Seven Seaside Wonders.
And what’s that just appearing in the left-hand side of the picture? If I’m not mistaken that has to be a Thames sailing barge.
Picture courtesy of Echo Newpapers