Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

A good weekend in Southend

I've just come back from Southend. I went there for the weekend, to lead two Guided Walks. Council officers had asked if I could visit, to be a part of this year's Sea Britain campaign, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Nelson's defeat of the French at Trafalgar.

On Saturday I led "Old Leigh". This walk concentrates on the fishing and shipbuilding aspects of this old maritime town on the Thames Estuary.

Then on Sunday it was "Old Southend". This look at some of the history of this large and well laid out town, which started life as a tiny fishing settlement at the South end of Prittlewell. Southend's 19th century prosperity resulted from the visit of Caroline, Princess of Wales, whose aim was to improve her daughter's health.

John Betjeman once remarked that the air in Southend is like wine - and he knew a thing or two. I wouldn't dream of arguing.

During the weekend, I strolled along the Cinder Path that links Old Leigh and Chalkwell, and along the Sea Front from Chalkwell via Westcliff to Southend. I also went and had a look at the East Beach at Shoeburyness, where quite a lot of people were flying kites.

Southend, my home town, is still a really nice place, and is making determined efforts to attract even more visitors.