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1972

New Museum -  The Historic Aircraft Museum in Aviation Way first came to the public attention with a grand opening on 26th May 1972 by Air Marshall Sir Harry Burton, KCB, CBE, DSO, RAF an important man in military circles as the Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Air Support Command, RAF.  The opening was a tribute to the few local enthusiasts who volunteered their time and a company pulled together by like minded business men.  The museum for one reason or another collapsed, in May 1983 the collection was either auctioned off or destroyed.

School Fire - During Guy Fawkes weekend St Christopher's (Special) School was almost completely destroyed by fire.

The Ritz Gets a Full House - 29 July 1972, The Ritz Cinema becomes a Top Rank Bingo Hall. It played its last film as a cinema this year, the film 'Doomwatch'.

 

The Ritz

Hamlet Court Junior School Flattened - The final years of Hamlet Court County School.  In 1972 the Junior School element, which was the section which faced onto the London Road and Hamlet Court Road junction was torn down, and in the July it was sanctioned to become a car park.  The infants school to the rear, continued on until 1984, when this went too. 

 Hamlet Court Schools

Many plans came forward for this site including an Adventure Playground, retirement flats and a YMCA hostel, fortunately for Hamlet Court Road as a shopping centre the car park expanded and houses shot up to the rear of the footprint.  The final school building on this site was claimed by the bulldozer in 1990.

Fire at the Kursaal - The Kursaal heyday was becoming a distant memory and key incidents during its decline made the decision to sell up a lot easier for the owners, not least when  a key fire took hold at the amusement park on 15th August, during the summer holidays.

A View of the Pier:

(SOUTHEND PIER)

Town's Musical Prowess Featured at the Royal Albert Hall - Nearly 700 performers took over the Royal Albert Hall in May.  They rendered a varied programme of choral and instrumental work before an audience of 3000.  The chief guest was Sir W D Pile, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and Science.  Involved were Southend's Youth Orchestra, Southend Boys' Choir and a Junior Youth Orchestra as well as the very popular Summer Music School. 

Southchurch Library opens - Southchurch library was not always at Lifstan Way. The new premises in Lifstan Way opened on the 9th September 1972.

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Fire at the Alex - November 1972 the Alexandra Yacht Club, perched up on the cliff looking out over Western Esplanade, suffered a dreadful blow when an electrical fault behind the bar caused the most terrible fire.  The steward saw smoke coming from the clubhouse and called the fire brigade, as they opened the front door the whole lot went up and it was very lucky that no one was hurt.  Many of the club’s treasures miraculously survived but it was a sight that anyone who saw it will not be likely to forget.

RBS set up operations in Southend - Originally called Access a credit card combinig the might of RBS, Nat West, Midland and Lloyds; brought about to challenge Barclaycard.  There home of choice was in the old Ekco building on Priory Crescent.  Of course now, the call centres in Southend look totally different, with Lloyds accommodated in a modern block in Southchurch Road, RBS are in modern facilities off the A127 although the Nat West block on Eastern Esplanade is in a state of demolition.  The Priory Crescent building too has since been demolished.

New Jazz Band Forms - The traditional jazz band, Ponjo's Stompers, was formed in 1972 by bassist, Peter Morris, from the ashes of the defunct Ray Elliott Jazz Band, and quickly gained popularity by combining 'hot' jazz with entertainment.  In 1974 the band started weekly Sunday night concerts at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea. These continued for over 10 years, to be followed for a further 5 years of Sunday nights at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea.  Many jazz luminaries played with the band : Digby Fairweather, Humphrey Lyttelton, Wild Bill Davison, Mike Cotton, Monty Sunshine, Kenny Davern, Charlie Galbraith, Bob Kerr, Kenny Ball, Hugh Crozier, Martin Litton, Maxine Daniels and Ken Sims, to name but a few.

New School Opens - The eastern area of the town welcomed a new school to take care of the younger students in the community.  Bournes Green Infants opened with a flourish in September, joining its older Junior school which opened in 1967.

 

 

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