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09:00 HMS Leigh Introduction Film

This is a short video introducing and explaining the HMS Leigh Make Do and Mend project. Made by the Project Team, under lockdown conditions.

09:30 Commodore J.P. Champion

Commodore J.P. Champion was in charge of H.M.S Leigh, so he controlled the Thames Estuary during World War 2, which made him and his sub-commanders responsible for every ship coming in and out of the Port of London.  During WW2, thousands of convoys from all over the world were to rely on Southend Pier to be resupplied to go back into action.

10:00 – HMS Leigh Stories – Alan Patrick Herbert MP

Alan Patrick Herbert was an independent liberal politician who was the only MP to serve as an NCO during World War 2.  He was based at HMS Leigh and after the war, APH, as he apparently like to be known, wrote a book about his experiences and events on the pier during the war. It was published by Southend Council in 1946 and there are still copies in local collections. The opening lines suggests a love of HMS Leigh, “Walk this Pier with respect, Ladies and Gentlemen. Look respectfully at the waters and the sands about you.”


10:30 – History – Bygone Years 1932 – Children’s Costume Parade in Chalkwell Park

Written and presented by Chris Taylor, this excerpt from the Bygone Years DVDs takes a look at the children of Southend on parade in their home made costumes – some very elaborate – having fun in Chalkwell Park during the 1930s.

11:00: - Southend History – Southend’s Mulberry Harbour

The Mulberry Harbour was an important part of the strategy for D-Day. The idea was to create a floating concrete jetty from the beaches of Normandy to waiting ships to offload vehicles to support the operation that were far too heavy to land on the sands of the assault beaches. Many of the sections were made on the Thames and one broke away from its tow and ended up in a sandbank just to the East of Southend Pier.


11:30 – Remembrance – St Andrew’s, Shoeburyness Poppy Dedication

This is a short film remembering the remembrance dedication of children’s clay poppies made at St Andrew’s Church, Shoeburyness with children of Hinguar School and the brilliant members of the Shoeburyness and South Essex Branch of the Royal Artillery Association and also with thanks to Rector Louise Williams for officiating.

12:00 – Southend People - VE-DAY Essex Memories by Chris Izod and narrated by John Hayes.

The VE Day Essex memories programme was produced for BBC Essex to commemorate VE-Day. It contains the memories of Essex people who were active in the services. Working on the home front or evacuated.  There is also and interview with Emile Stein who was a prisoner in the Belsen concentration camp.  Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie who worked with Bomber Harris on bomber command. The programme ends with the children of Sacred Heart school in Southend singing a song written by a former pupil on VE-Day. The children share their thoughts about the war as they see it. Produced and courtesy of Chris Izod and presented by John Hayes.


13:00 – Southend Organisations – SoSlam Isolation Room Event

From 1300 today the Southend based SoSlam non-profit organisation is holding a series of streamed music and dance performances on the Isolation Room host that run hourly up to the national singalong at 2100 of We’ll meet again.

SoSlam  is a small non-profit community collective made up of a group of local musicians & volunteers. SoSlam aims to provide music promotion, management, advice and opportunities to local musicians and bands in the Southend-on-Sea area.  We are proud to be supporting them today at HMS Leigh.

13:30 – Southend Charities – Shoeburyness and South Essex Branch of the Royal Artillery Association


14:00 – Southend Art – Story Massage

Ceilidh Colston & Deanne Hensey show us how “Story Massage combines the benefits of positive touch with the fun and creativity of words – whether as story, rhyme or song.  Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it fully accessible for all ages and abilities.”


15:00 – Southend Music – Music Man Project – One Night At the London Palladium

The Music Man Project was established to meet demand for a permanent specialist music service that caters specifically for people with a learning disability. David Stanley would often hear parents exclaim “my child struggles to engage with most things but absolutely loves music”. He set up a weekly music school in 2001 and discovered that his students possessed the same musical instinct and same desire to entertain as he did, a classically trained musician. In 2018 the Music Man Project held an amazing performance at the London Palladium.  We are so proud to be supporting David Stanley and his musicians at HMS Leigh.


15:30 - Southend Music – Digby  Fairweather and his half dozen

Creator of the Southend UK Jazz Centre, Digby Fairweather and his Half Dozen have performed in some of the most prestigious Jazz joints in the world and this recording of Dixieland Jazz shows just why we asked them to be a part of the HMS Leigh Make Do and Mend event on Southend Pier – hopefully now in May 2021.

16:00 – Southend Music – UK Jazz Centre -Philip Achillie Interview

Philip Achillie is an amazing Harmonic musician who can pretty much play anything on his instrument. Classically trained and then switching to Jazz, Philip’s music is an eye opener for anyone who would discount the harmonica as a serious Jazz instrument and Philip has often performed at the UK Jazz Centre in Southend.

1630 – Southend Music - Take Five - Chromatic harmonica (Philip Achille)

Philip shows just how versatile the Harmonica can be in the right hands and lips with this fantastic rendition of the Jazz favourite Take Five.

1700: 1930s Blues – House of the Rising Sun, 1933

It’s well known that music is covered over and over again but this version of the blues classing House of the Rising Sun by Tom Clarence Ashley & Gwen Foster from 1933 shows that even what we think of as classics often have previous incarnations.

1730 – AJN825 – A Bus For VE-Day.

It is 81 years since she first entered service on 1st April 1939. This Bristol Double Decker was operated by Westcliff-on- Sea Motor Service and was a daily sight on the routes around Southend-on-Sea. In 1941 AJN 825 was loaned to Bristol Tramways where she served until returning to her hometown in November 1944. For the rest of the war this bus transported passengers from the battle for France right through to VE-Day when she was in service in Westcliff as usual.

Today she is looked after by the 825 Preservation Group, Harwich and will hopefully be joining us at Southend Pier for the 76th anniversary in 2021.

18:00 – Southend Pier Museum Video Magazine

Some time ago Southend Pier Museum produced a Video Magazine about their work and thanks to the producer Chris Taylor we are able to bring it to you.

Southend Pier Museum can be found in the Old Pier Workshops underneath the train station at the shore end of the Pier. To get there, go to the Pier Reception and then walk to the right of the railway entrance where the Museum entrance door has big sings on it saying Southend Pier Museum. Exhibits include many items of memorabilia such as an original restored working pier signal box, a restored ex-pier toastrack tram c.1890 and train carriages c.1949 together with extensive informative pictorial displays featuring the pier from 1830. 


Thank you all for joining us today, we hope to see you for tomorrows event 

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