Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

The Kursaal at Southend

722 of 1160 nominations

PREVIOUS NEXT


The Kursaal at Southend

Is this an icon?

or

The Kursaal at Southend

The domed Kursaal Amusement Park and Gardens in Southend’s Eastern Esplanade was built in 1901, and instantly became a much-loved fun palace for residents and visitors alike. Southend was the nearest coastal resort to London’s East End, and it became a popular destination for day-trippers and workers’ outings, with the Kursaal a major draw. At its height, the amusement park had its own ice-cream and rock factories, greenhouses and laundry. The Kursaal popped up in a number of films and TV shows in the 1960s and 70s, including The Avengers, The Prisoner and Nearest And Dearest.

From the mid-sixties onwards, in common with many English seaside towns and attractions, Southend and the Kursaal suffered declining visitor numbers, coinciding with cheap package foreign holidays. In 1994, the derelict Kursaal was bought by the local council and, after a £12 million restoration, reopened in 1998. Its attractions now include 30 lanes of state-of-the-art ten pin bowling, themed bars and restaurants, and a casino.

NOMINATION 722 OF 1160

Your comments

It's so popular

billy moore


I remember family trips to Southend as a child in the sixties. I recall sitting on the beach across from the Kursaal while pitched battles took place between Mods on their scooters, and Rockers on the motorbikes! I also remember going to my first live rock concert in the seventies, Staus Quo live at the Kursaal! I am pleased to read here that since I left the UK for California, the Kursaal has been reborn!
Andrew Witham


I've seen the Kursaal time and again when visiting Southend, a place that's grown on me over the years. The social history of such places is precious and I'm glad it's been saved. I hope it's not too late to keep many other sea side places, loved and visited by working people, for time within and beyond living memory.
Angela Picknell


View All Comments (6)

Nominate

Nominate

My nomination is the garden shed.

FELICITY HAGUE

Nominate