Things to do in Shoeburyness, Essex
Shoeburyness is a small town of 20,000 residents and a peninsula, or ness, which juts out into the sea at the estuary of the River Thames. This Essex town is 3 miles east of Southend and 44 miles from London.
Legend has it that it was once the site of a fortified city which was washed out to sea, with the remains buried beneath the sands at Maplin. Many Roman urns have been uncovered in the area showing Roman settlement at one time.
St Andrews Church was built between 1100 and 1140AD and has a flint tower, a spire and excellent stained glass windows. By 1831 the village had a signal station and a coastguard station staffed by a lieutenant and seven men.
Historically, the area was marshy fenland and the locals suffered dreadfully from malaria. In the 1840s it was still a small community of fishermen's and farm labourer's cottages along with South Shoebury Hall and Suttons Manor House.
Once the home of the Shoeburyness Gunnery School, the coast is littered with old gun emplacements, one of which is a listed building. The remains of gun barrels which were used as a pivot for artillery still remain peeking from the ground along with several cartridge and shell lifts.
Shoeburyness is still one of the main Gunner towns and is home to a major branch of the Royal Artillery Association.
Present Day Shoeburyness
Shoeburyness has two Blue Flag awarded beaches: East Beach and West Beach, also known as the Shoebury Common Beach. West Beach is lined with colourful beach huts along its promenade with cafés for refreshments. There is a coast guard station at the eastern end of the beach to keep watch over the sands and mudflats and monitor shipping.
East Bay is a small sand and pebble beach. A defence boom was built there in 1944 to protect the River Thames from enemy shipping and submarines and a stretch of it still remains in the Thames Estuary. Overlooking the sands is a grassy area which is popular for local picnics and sports.
Many of the houses in Shoeburyness are built of local yellow and grey bricks as the area was known for it brickmaking until the 1890s.
The active community has a good shopping centre of local businesses. There is a Model Railway Club, a Youth Football Club and is home to Shoeburyness High School. Along with the parish church, it has an active Baptist Church.
Things to do in Shoeburyness
Hire a bike or walk along the cycle path which skirts around the sea-front linking the East Beach to Shoebury Common Beach, and runs on into nearby Southend. It is a great place to see local shipping coming and going.
Visit Southend-on-Sea Museum to see the interesting Roman and Saxon remains which have been excavated from Shoeburyness.
Shoeburyness was mentioned in H.G. Well's famous science fiction thriller, the War of the Worlds and Douglas Adams' work of fiction, The Meaning of Liff. It was also the fictional historical setting in the Victory of Eagles where Temeraire sets the climactic battle between Napoleon and Nelson.
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