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Help and advice for Southend-on-Sea

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"SOUTHEND, a hamlet in the parish of PRITTLEWELL, hundred of ROCHFORD, county of ESSEX, 1¾ mile (S. S. E.) from Prittlewell, and 42 miles (E.) from London. This village, which has of late years risen into repute as a bathing-place, and considerably increased in size, is pleasantly situated on the declivity and at the base of a well-wooded hill, at the mouth of the Thames, directly opposite to the river Medway: it is divided into the Upper and the Lower town, the latter having been anciently a small fishing village, and consists of an irregular line of houses fronting the sea; of late years some handsome dwellings have been added, between which and the beach a small parade has been partly enclosed. Here are several neat rows of houses, and at the eastern extremity is a small but neat theatre, erected in 1804, and open during the season. The Upper town, which has received the appellation of New Southend, occupies an eminence fronting the sea; it is considered the more fashionable part of the town, being, both in situation and style of building, far preferable. A handsome range of houses, called the Terrace, has been finished, in a neat and uniform style. Adjoining is the Royal Hotel, which contains many good suites of apartments, an assembly-room sixty feet by twenty-four in dimensions, a music-gallery, and other apartments. On the brow of the hill is the library, an elegant building, partaking of the later English style, with a circular front, and adjoining it is a billiard-room. In front of the terrace is a fine broad gravel promenade, and between this and the sea is a shrubbery extending its whole length, and containing a neat cottage, in which are all the requisite accommodations for warm baths. A pier of frame-work has recently been constructed by an incorporated company of proprietors. The surrounding scenery is of a rich and picturesque character, and the views extend across the channel from the Isle of Thanet along the rich hills of the opposite county of Kent, and up the river Thames nearly to Gravesend, including also the Medway, and the government works and dock-yards at Sheerness. There is a place of worship for Independents." [From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]

Westcliff-on-Sea - a place within this parish



  • Census returns are available from the usual sources for 1841-1911, which includes most copies held at the ERO, Wharf Rd, Chelmsford. More information on other ways to view these census returns on the Essex

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Southend-on-Sea has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.