03 May, 2007

Southend and Rochford

A visit to Southend. Southend is an Essex seaside resort with the usual facilities, including the longest pier in Britain. The pier is so long there is a railway on it to take visitors to the end. I didn't go on the pier but I walked along the front, although it is a River Thames estuary front rather than a sea front. On the front there was a party of girls from a girls school who asked me if I could answer some questions. I was desparate for the loo at the time so I couldn't oblige.

However I did speculate on the nature of the questions: Are you in Southend for business or pleasure?
For pleasure.
Are you having any?
I don't think I should answer that one.

I wasn't having any pleasure at the time. Westcliff on Sea was a higher class part of Essex with the Southend Art Gallery (closed for lunch).


In Rochford there are many old houses including Lord Riches almshouses built for poor folk in Shakespeare’s time. Rochford hall was where Anne Boleyn was born, but that house has been demolished and the present house, once a refuge for displaced puritan ministers is now a clubhouse for golfers. Penelope Devereaux was loved by Philip Sydney, one of the cavalier poets but she married Robert Rich who followed the puritan way of life. Rochford old church owes its grandeur to the hall and its tower is a fine example of early Tudor brickwork.

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