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1915

New Splash Opens - Western Esplanade saw an exciting development in the shape of a new Swimming Pool opened on 6th May.  Built in the style of a Lido this popular attraction provided the solution for trippers when the tide was out to still swim.  The pool survived into the late 60's when it was formally closed and for a brief time turned into a Dolphinarium

Peggy Mount is Born - born Margaret Rose Mount, was an English actress of stage and screen. She is perhaps best known for playing a battleaxe characters, though her real personality was said to have been far removed from such roles. Peggy Mount was born in Leigh-on-Sea. Her love of acting had begun with the dramatic society of the Wesleyan Chapel which she attended in Essex. She first worked as a secretary and took lessons from a drama tutor, Phyllis Reader, in her spare time.

Kursaal Occupied - With the war raging it was necessary to find emergency accommodation for troops pouring into the area.  The Kursaal was a natural choice but only for a short period of time, the Kursaal Gardens reopened on Saturday 23rd May, admission was 1d but free for soldiers and sailors.

Overcliff Hotel Commandeered -  It was not hard for the businessmen of the town to recognise this war demanded all to assist.  One obvious area would be the use of large hotels as hospitals.  The Palace had already been turned successfully into a medical station for the war wounded.  The Overcliff situated on the Leas in Westcliff became another target and in January 1915 it too took up a war role as a Red Cross Hospital. It would not take long to turn the once much loved holiday hotel in to the latest hospital of medical standards could afford at the time; with x-ray suites and operating theatres at hand to assist the war wounded.  Mr James Tabor headed the committee that controlled the finances of the hospital.  The Matron Mrs Earle (above) would extend a welcome to the man visiotrs from the local community that would come into the hospital to raise the morale of her patients.

Westborough Bomb - May 1915 an unexploded bomb was discovered in the playground of Westborough School, the year was blighted with bomb drops from Zeppelins.

 

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Zeppelins Attack Southend - First major Zeppelin air raid of WW1, bombs fell on Southend and Westcliff, this image shows the damage done to a butchers shop in Hamlet Court Road.  It was reported the shock of the events made a horse panic and bolt through the window of Boots the Chemist. On 12 May 1915 in response to the raids two days earlier, there were anti German riots in Southend and five shops in the High Street and Queens Road, alleged to have been German or Austrian owned, were wrecked.

Mrs Agnes Whitwell - As a result of the bombing above Mrs Whitwell became a victim of the attack and died at her home in Ashburnham Road.  Her funeral drew crowds to watch the funeral procession, and enraged the locals enough to attack the homes and businesses of German or Austrian association.

Summer Gymkhana - The summer Bank Holiday would see Chalkwell Park host a horse show and gymkhana.

Southend's Arms Crest and Supporters - Formalising Southend's stature George V granted the Arms and Crest along with the Supporters at the beginning of January 1915.  The design is by Mr E A Ebblewhite.

 

 Queen Mary's Visit - It had been rumoured for several months that a Royal visit was likely to be made to Queen Mary's Naval Hospital (Palace Hotel). On Wednesday 16th June 1915, Queen Mary visited her hospital.  She toured the wards made up mainly of military patients.  Although the visit was supposedly secret, word did get out and several thousand residents assembled outside the hospital.  When she had completed the tour of the wards she made her way out to the balcony and the waiting crowd outside.  The Queen stayed for over 2 hours and was most gratified with everything she had seen, and was most pleased with the views across the estuary.

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