Late C19/early C20 promenade shelter.
Reason for Listing
The shelter opposite no. 25 Clifftown Parade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex is recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: good examples of late C19 seaside street furniture, with distinctive architectural form and decorative detailing
* Group Value: They have group value with the other listed buildings and structures on Clifftown Parade, notably Clifftown Terrace, the statue of Queen Victoria by J H Swynnerton and the War Memorial by Edwin Lutyens, all of which are listed at Grade II.
Southend-on-Sea grew out of Prittlewell, the largest of the six medieval parishes which constitute the modern settlement. By the late C19 Southend had overtaken its mother parish in importance and in 1892 it became officially recognised as a town, when it was incorporated; ‘on-Sea’ being added the following year. The other parishes were absorbed and amalgamated from the end of the C19 through to the 1930s, to form the town as it is known today.
The name ‘Sowthende’ first appears in a will of 1481, although what is now known as Southend did not begin to become urbanised until around 1700, when oyster cultivation began in the area. Within 20 years the whole of the foreshore from Southchurch westwards to Leigh was leased as oyster feeding grounds and oysterman’s huts began to be built, followed by humble terraces of cottages. Visitors started to come in small numbers to Southend to bathe in the sea, and in 1791 a syndicate was set up to develop a resort at ‘New Southend’. Following this The Terrace was built, renamed The Royal Terrace in 1804, after Princess Caroline, wife of the Prince Regent, stayed there. The royal association helped to boost the popularity of the resort, and in 1829 the first pier was built. The coming of the railways in the mid-C19 stimulated growth and interest in the town, firstly in 1856 with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, which led to the development of Clifftown, followed by the Great Eastern in 1889. Southend flourished as a seaside resort from the end of the C19 through to the first half of the C20, but its popularity declined towards the end of the C20. In recent years however, major developments such as the University of Essex’s Southend campus and improvements to the pier and Esplanade, have helped rekindle interest in the town.
The cliff-top shelters are likely to have been erected at the end of the C19 to cater for the needs of the increasing number of visitors to Southend as its popularity as a seaside resort flourished.
MATERIALS: the shelter, which has a rectangular plan, is constructed from timber and cast iron, with a lead roof covering.
EXTERIOR: a lightweight structure of painted timber on a concrete plinth, with a hipped roof that is supported upon moulded timber corner posts with foliated cast-iron brackets. There is decorative ironwork to the eaves, and decorative iron braces at the foot of each post. There are finials at each end of the roof.
INTERIOR: the interior has back-to-back, slatted wooden seating, divided by a clear glazed screen along the axis of the shelter. There are additional screens between the posts at both ends supporting smaller benches with moulded arms.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.