In August, Millman Street Community Centre members will once again enjoy a day out in Southend-on-Sea, the Essex resort town famed for its mile-long pier, which commands spectacular views across the Thames estuary to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent (on a clear day, if you’re unlucky).
The outing will take place on 4th August. Tickets cost £14 per head, and are available to over 55’s in the Holborn area. Tickets must be booked in advance, and if interested, please contact HCA for more information.
Millman Street Community Centre has run trips to Southend several times before, and some of our members shared their memories with this reporter.
“I love Southend,” Ivy said. “I really love it. There’s nice shops, the people are very nice and the food [prices] are very reasonable. There’s a nice atmosphere and everybody’s friendly.”
“You get to know it as children,” Queenie said of Southend. “It’s got all the facilities to take the kids to. It’s so homely, you get a homely feeling,” she added. “They’ve got pubs on the corners, and you can have a sing-song.”
However, “You used to see a lot of fights up there,” in years past, she said. Mysteriously, reports of such public misdemeanours dwindled once Queenie had returned to the Big Smoke.
“We used to go years ago,” Margaret said. “It was a cheaper holiday for a lot of people. I think its quietened down now its more upmarket. It’s not so rowdy as it used to be.”
Ivy said, “We’ve had some lovely times when we’ve been in groups [from HCA]. We had a walk along the seafront and up the pier. You can go down the pier on a train or walk back if you want to.”
Fred and Olive were dirty stop-outs in their younger days: “We used to take motorbikes in the evening [to Southend] and get back home about one in the morning,” Fred said. “There’s a big bingo club there,” he added. “It was a sight to see.”
He also recalls a trip to Southend where he and Olive missed the coach. However, they found their way safely back to London on the train. He has “Good memories of Southend, up and down the pier,” and also tells of a fortnight holiday years ago were they were billieted by the wall of death, “watching the riders go round and round.”
George, a native of Edinburgh (where he counted the Queen amongst his neighbours), has lived in London since 1953. He has enjoyed previous trips to Southend with and without HCA over the years. He too recalls going up and down the pier. He’d go to the fairground and play games on the [fruit] machines and “have something to eat! It’s very good.”
Sounds like our members are looking forward to this year’s trip. If you are eligible, please contact HCA about ticket availability.
Report by Notes Smudger