Southend-on-Sea Memories


Southend-on-Sea Memories

This page contains a number of Southend memories, contributed by residents past and present. Hopefully the material on this page will jog a few memories.

Cinemas I lived in Eastwood from January, 1959 until I left home in 1966. I was a projectionist at the Odeon from September 1964 through 1966. I loved this theatre it is still my favourite job as of today 2006!!

I have written because there was a few cinemas that I felt ought to be mentioned in your list:

1) Garon’s Theatre. They only charged a shilling for a seat. They had no balcony. They were located almost opposite Keddies just a short distance from the Odeon on the same side of the street walking toward Victoria Circus.
2) Southend Essoldo. Was located approx. opposite the Garon’s. The front of the cinema was in a narrow alleyway. You accessed the cinema through an alleyway from the high street. The main entrance I think was in Warrior Square(?). They showed a wonderful collection of 50’s science fiction, horror and fantasy films amongst others.
3) Ritz, Pier Hill. This was the second Rank theatre, Odeon was the first. Situated at the end of the high street overlooking the pier.
4) Plaza, Southchurch. I remember very little about this cinema. My Mother took me to see “Mighty Joe Young” (1949) there.
5) Near Southend:

a) Regal, Rayleigh. A wonderful ‘stalls only’ cinema located in a tiny side street that ran parallel to the high street. Saw a Batman serial and my first ‘X’ films there.
b) Kingsway, Hadleigh. I remember very little about this large theatre. I remember seeing Vincent Price in “The Fly” there.
c) Century (Granada) Pitsea. I trained as a projectionist here from January to September 1964 before moving to the Odeon, Southend.
d) Rio, Canvey Island. Unfortunately, I know nothing about this cinema.

Contributed by
Steve Pickard, August 2006.


More cinema memories

As a child, I used to go to the Civic (the flea pit) right next door to the Talza Arcade and opposite was the Gaumont,( many years before it was a theatre). These were in Southchurch Road very near Victoria Circus, I use to go to the Civic to see the Superman series and Hoperlong Cassidy things like that, the Gaumont we would go up in the gods, Gosh it was high and back aching as the gods had only wooden seats, but it was fun.

The Plaza I went there for Saturday morning children’s show, bring older then some of the children, a group of us were like usherettes and had to keep the children in order, the Plaza was our local as we lived in Christchurch Road and we had a board on our front fence advertising the pictures

Contributed by Hazel Batley (nee Paveley), January 2009


For more on old cinemas, see this thread in our forum: Southend cinemas


Schools I used to attend Clark’s College from 1959 to 1964, which was situated in Victoria Avenue.  It was a large converted house (Victorian or Edwardian).  Just after I left the school was transferred to another road off Victoria Avenue and soon afterwards disappeared.  There were other branches of Clark’s College across the country, and I’d like to know where, and why the schools closed down.

Contributed by Ann Morgan, August 2006

If you’ve got a memory that you’d like to see added to this page, please get in touch – otherwise, if you’d like to talk about Southend’s past, or try to help answer queries about the town’s recent history, please visit our forum





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