Southend Central Museum is a free museum housed in a typically impressive Victorian building, designed to show off local civic pride and impress visitors. It was originally built as the town’s central library. When the library moved into a new building next door in the 1970’s, the Victorian building was turned into a museum. The library has moved on from the new building next door, which is now the Beecroft Art Gallery.
Once through the front door into Southend Central Museum we were rather taken by the displays in the main foyer, a grand high ceilinged room with display cases to the left and right, and a historic fireplace centre stage. We had a good look and then realised that this wasn’t a very impressive entrance to the main collection, but we were actually in the museum proper, and this was the main collection!
It’s a museum that is very special to many locals as its somewhere that many have visited as children, with their own children and then with their grandchildren. So they know and love the exhibits. There is an small, interesting display on EKCO plastic – who knew Southend was so important in the world of EKCOn unusual single man air raid shelter form the 2nd World War – not something to sit in if you suffered from claustrophobia.
There’s a good little gift shop and the staff were friendly and helpful.