Southend developed as both a middle class resort and a day trippers paradise. Does your site visit and the other evidence you have used proved that this statement to be accurate?
Seaside’s became more popular in the late18th century. Before this people visited inland spas, this was where patients ‘took the waters’ either by glass or by full immersion.
The first references to sea bathing did not occur until the 1740’s. The man that has been said to be responsible for starting this seaside craze is Dr. Richard Russell. He published a book in Latin in 1749 and translated into English in 1752 which was called ‘A Dissertion On the Use of Sea-Water in the Diseases of the Glands, Particuly the Scurvy, Jaundice, Kings Evil, Leprosy and Glandular Consumption.’ This book demonstrated how seawater could be good for the human body. Russell’s book was so successful he set up his own practice in a small fishing village on the Sussex coast called Brightelmstone. The success of Brightelmstone was helped when, in 1783, the Prince of Wales made his first visit and later purchased a house their.
The Chelmsford Chronicle tells us that in 1780 Southend already had great potential to be a ‘great, popular and ‘fashionable’ resort. Southend did not have very good facilities for the families coming to stay, thus leading to some families going to other resorts. The Chelmsford Chronicle is quite a reliable source but it is still not completely accurate.
In the early 1700’s Southend had very little housing for the middle class. In the 1780’s the situation was pretty much the same but Southend already had the basis of a successful seaside resort. Daniel Scratton realised this and decided to erect several houses for the middle class in 1794 the houses were almost finished. Many people at the time thought this was the beginning of ‘new Southend’. A local poet wrote that ‘Streets shall extend, and lofty domes arise till NEW SOUTH-END in each spectators eye with Weymouth, Margate or Brighton vie’. This quote tells us that even as far back as 1794 people already believed that Southend could become a middle class seaside resort and compete with the other successful resorts at the time.
In 1824 many people believed that Southend was a successful ‘middle class’ resort although the company developing New Southend had gone bankrupt in 1796 and had stopped building. By this time Southend had got itself a bad reputation for being unhealthy which is demonstrated in Jane Austen’s book, ‘Emma’. Which was written at the beginning of the 19th century.
The mud was a major problem for Southend, as when the tide was out, the sea would leave a trail of wet, sticky mud. This meant that any passengers coming to Southend by boat (which was the main means of transport of getting to and from Southend) would have to walk across the mud for an extremely long distance. The people that would have to do this were surprisingly upper class because there was no alternative option for tourists to get to the shore. The lower classes could not afford to get to Southend and the resort would not cater for their needs.
A traveller quoted that the roads leading out of Southend were the worst in England and because it was a traveller it is quite a reliable source because he has had the experience and can compare it to other roads around the country.
The Guide to Southend, which was published in 1824, seems very positive towards Southend. One can not help feeling that it is biased, as it does not state any where about the mud, low tide, limited facilities or bathing at certain times and seems to concentrate on ‘delightful retreats’ and ‘handsome houses’. This is clearly the point of view of the Council rather than the public, but this doesn’t mean that it is all lies. It is mostly opinions but also tells us the facts about where Southend was, in terms of development, and it also tells us of the facilities that Southend had.
There were still many people who in the early 1820’s thought that new Southend was a failure, one of these was John Evens.
Southend had many problems in the form of mud, seaweed, low tide, the travel there was long and difficult, limited facilities and you could only bathe at certain times. Southend had major competition from Margate, which at the time was slightly more popular than Southend, which needed something special to attract the extra families. Southend needed a solution to their problems which was a pier. On the 14th May 1829, the first pier received royal assent and the foundation of the pier was laid and by 25th July the first section of the pier was 300 yards long and was opened in 1830.
There were many early problems for the first Southend pier the main one was because it was too short. The pier was extended three times before being purchased by the local board in 1873 for ï¿½12000. The wooden rails that had been fitted in 1846 to carry people and bags where replaced by iron. There were three carriages pulled by horses. By 1873 the pier was playing a major part in making Southend a successful seaside resort. In 1885 the board gave ï¿½60000 for a new pier made of iron which was opened in 1890. The cars could carry 3000 people. There where six cars forming two trains which worked on the system of a loop. In 1908 a new upper deck was opened to allow more boats to dock, the upper deck had a bandstand, refreshment room and shelters which had six hundred seats and five hundred chairs.
The pier grew with time and the amount of people that came. The developers of the pier originally wanted the pier to attract the upper classes and originally it did, we know this by the type of entertainment that was provided for the public which is listed above. In 2001 the pier is no longer a major tourist attraction and you would be lucky if the amount of people on the pier was in double figures. Where as when the pier was in its prime the number of visitors in a day would have been in four or five figures. The time when Southend had great facilities has come and gone. Below is a photograph of the pier in 2001.
(PICTURE OF PIER TODAY)
Many people still believe that Southend’ famous pier can still attract the tourists and several possible ideas have been put forward. One of these possible ideas is the swine, an artists impression of what the swine could look like is shown below, which is a huge roller coaster attached to the end of the pier. This would be the only one of its kind so this would definitely attract massive attention and attract the crowds, which in order for Southend to compete with the package holiday, is what it needs.
The success of Southend was unexpected and the pier could no longer keep up with the demand of people. There was not enough room for the passenger boats to dock, so the pier had an arm built which enabled more boats to dock thus meaning more success for the pier of Southend.
The main means of transport to get to Southend in the early 1830’s was the steamboat, there was a big opening for a new generation of transport, and this was the railway. The London and Blackwall railway opened to rival the growing steam boat traffic to pleasure gardens of Rosherville at Gravesend in 1836 and in 1852 the LTS extension was passed. The new and improved railway ran from the Eastern Countries line at Forest gate via Tilbury and then to Southend, which cost a total of ï¿½400,000. In 1868 the railway carried 1,589,613 passengers which made ï¿½63,000. Twenty-one years after the first railway was built, the track between Southend and Tilbury was doubled. The railway was not only used for tourism and the purpose of travelling to and from Southend, 1st February 1884 the extension to Shoesburyness opened to serve the military barracks as a result of Southend station was enlarged. By 1910 seventeen trains visited Southend every day.
The railway tells us a lot about Southend, it shows the massive increase in the amount of people travelling to Southend. The railway was obviously a popular means of transport as the amount of tracks grew, which is demonstrated in the maps below.
(PICTURES OF MAPS FROM BIG BOOK)
In 2001 the railway is still up and running although it does have a reduced number of lines. I feel that the main reason for the decrease in the use of the railway in Southend was because of the car, which now is the favoured means of transport.
The railway was only used by the middle class, as the day-trippers, which were of a lower status in society only started visiting Southend in 1875 when the cheap fair was introduced, which was 2s 6d. The carriages in the lower class section of the train were obviously of a different standard, most did not have roofs but were still seen as a luxury.
The introduction of the Bank Holiday act had an enormous impact on the future of Southend. 1871 is seen as a major turning point for the day-trippers. Lord Avebury better known as Sir John Lubbock introduced the act into parliament and is partly responsible for where Southend is today. The bank holidays meant that the working class had a chance to take the family out for the day to popular holiday resorts such as Southend. This Bank Holiday Act also increased the popularity of the railway, which was the cheapest means of travel to Southend.
Below is a table showing figures of people travelling on the railway compared to the steamer on the August Bank Holiday weekends 1900-1910.
(TABLE OF FIGURES)
Accommodation was very important if Southend was to become a big and successful seaside resort. In 1791 the Chelmsford Chronicle tells us that the accommodation in Southend was insufficient, this meant that families turned to other seaside resorts such as Margate. By 1824 there were only a few hotels, which only catered for the middle class. In 1859 Peto decided to erect 50 houses in Clifftown, these houses were for the middle class, although his idea was helped by the railway, he went bankrupt in 1872 when only the eastern part of the area had been built up.
By 1905 Southend had several hotels, most of which were on Westcliff Parade. There were a total of twenty-one hotels. Most of these hotels tried to attract middle class tourists as most of Southends residents wanted it to stay an up market resort rather than a “day trippers paradise”. Although there were several smaller hotels that attracted lower classes such as the Falcon hotel and the Hope hotel, pictured below.
In 1904 the average weekly wage was ï¿½1 10s and the average skilled working mans weekly wage was ï¿½3 to ï¿½4.
In 1904 the Royal hotel was seen to be a place were only the middle class went. Luncheon was from 2/6 and table d’hï¿½te from 4/6. The royal hotel is situated fairly close to the Criterion, which attracted the lower classes, as their prices were comparatively cheaper at breakfast 6d and dinner at 8d. This shows us the different types of people that visited Southend in 1904 and the facilities that were there for them.
In 1930 the Thamesmouth Palace Hotel was the only five star hotel in Southend so its prices were obviously high at weekly, ï¿½4.4.0 to ï¿½6.6.0. This tells us that in 1930 Southend still attracted the middle and upper classes. IN 2001 there are still several hotels left in Southend that were there in the early 1900’s, some have been transformed into arcades or restaurants.
In 1780 Southend was restricted in the way of entertainment because it had not successfully developed into a seaside resort in comparison to other popular seaside resorts like Margate. In the1780’s the main source of entertainment was visiting spas. This was popular but not very practical because it was done from a wheeled bathing machine. In 1804 Ingrams baths was described as one of Southends main attractions. Southend was developing and so was the entertainment available, by 1824 there was a promenade, public library, theatre, billiard room and shrubbery. All of these things attracted the upper and middle classes.
In 1875 there were several concerts held on the pier under the tents of the octagon. This is where the idea for the Pavilion originated. In 1890 the new Pavilion was finished at a cost of ï¿½6463. Admission for the Pavilion was 6d, 3d and 1d. During the summer on weekdays there was a variety of entertainment’s with seats for up to 1200 people, in the winter the heated hall hosted many plays and musicals and even comic operas, out of season it was used as a roller skating rink or a winter garden. The building was burnt down in 1959 which was then replaced with a bowling alley this was also coincidentally burnt down in 1995. In 1929 another bandstand and sun deck theatre was built seating 700 people.
In 1902 people believed that the air in Southend was good for you and had remarkable healing qualities which also attracted a large number of people, this was also the upper classes as only the wealthy could afford to get transport to and from Southend. Below is a picture of the kursal which was built in 1914, shortly before the picture was taken and a picture of the Kursal in 2001.
(1 PICTURE FROM BOOKLET ; 1 PHOTO FROM SITE VIST)
In 2001 Southend consists of several arcades, a theme park and restaurants, this attracts the typical “day tripper” thus meaning that in 200 years Southend has had a spectacular transformation from being a very up market middle class sea side resort to a day trippers paradise.
Southend started its seaside resort life as a very small fishing village in the mid 1700’s. It then developed into a middle class resort and stayed that way until the 1870’s when the arrival of the railway enabled the day trippers a cheap and quick means of transport to get to and from Southend. The day-trippers continued to come to Southend until today in 2001. In my opinion Southend did develop as a middle class and a day trippers paradise but at different times, thus meaning that Southend has had to adapt to the people that wanted to visit the resort. It appears that Southend followed the trend of such other resorts as Margate, which was Southend’s main source of competition. Thus showing that Southend went were ever the money was. As we can see from the site visit Southend is now a day-trippers paradise and probably will be since the invention of the package holiday.