HMS Leigh

Guardian of the Thames

Join us on Southend Pier 6th-9th May 2021 to celebrate the 76th Anniversary of VE-Day as the quest to bring the secret history of HMS Leigh back to light continues. 

HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames is a community lead heritage and arts project that aims to connect people of all ages with the history of Southend Pier, also known as HMS Leigh, during World War 2.  Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Arts Council and Southend Borough Council, this project was created as part of the VE 75 celebrations in 2020.  Due to the pandemic, the planned event was replaced by an online festival, HMS Leigh Make Do and Mend.                                  

Over 140,000 people engaged with HMS Leigh Make Do and Mend during May 6th-10th 2020. This overwhelming response generated a wonderful outpouring of largely unknown Southend WW2 archive.  The HMS Leigh Steering Group believe that this offers a huge opportunity to teach local history at a completely different level and inspire younger generations to follow in the footsteps of those resourceful men and women who together turned a pleasure pier into a naval battle station during WW2.   

Over the next year, the HMS Leigh Team will be working to bring people together to celebrate the best of Southend’s WW2 history, exhibitions, inclusive art activities, performances, and engaging with local charities as part of the HMS Leigh Guardian of the Thames VE76 Event on the Pier 6th-9th May 2021.   


Please do sign up for our newsletter or visit our Facebook page or Instagram where details of all the ways that people can be involved can be found.  Otherwise, to find out more about the HMS Leigh project – please do explore the website, it will be updated regularly. 

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These photos were kindly shared by Southend Museum

Main image courtesy of Dean Trotter

© 2020 Blade Education

Blade Education is a not for profit company registered in England and Wales. Company No. 06228254. Registered office 43/SS93DT.