Southend VCH Group

The Southend group was formed in the Spring of 2016 with the specific intention of carrying out research towards the writing and publication of a VCH Short on Southend-on-Sea. The team, which now consists of a core of six members, looking into a range of topics covering principally the 19th and 20th centuries, but with an eye on the late medieval origins of the settlements that were eventually to make up the Borough of Southend.

The Group's Work

The team members, all of whom are volunteer researchers, come from a range of different backgrounds. Some have already published widely on local history topics while for others this is a relatively new and exciting venture, involving a steep learning curve. For all it has been a very rewarding experience, and we are all still learning. Research by the team has encompassed fieldwork, particularly an analysis of parish boundaries and their history; several visits to the National Archives particularly examining company records and Local Government Board archives and a seemingly constant presence at the Essex Record Office and Southend Library (The Forum), together with archives held by Southend Museum and the Leigh Society (Leigh Heritage Centre). Throughout, our work has been guided by the VCH County Editor, Dr Chris Thornton.

Publicity for our project, in the form of talks and exhibitions was being planned to take place during 2020, but for the foreseeable future we are relying on a 'virtual' presence. Hopefully, 2021, will see both publication and the ability to hold a book launch and other events.

The Old Post Office, Southchurch, which, in the 1840s was a Dame school
The Old Post Office, Southchurch, which, in the 1840s accommodated a Dame school.