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Post Info TOPIC: Tank Joy Rides, Southend on Sea 1920


Colonel

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Tank Joy Rides, Southend on Sea 1920
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Hello Landship-members!

I found this unknown newspaper cutting last year. I wished I could join on one of these rides! But I was born many years later ....

What was left for me ...... I had to make it as a model in 1:35th scale

 

seaside attraction tank joy rides.jpg

 

(source: http://www.southendtimeline.com/wartimenewspapers.htm)

There is also a nice piece of film from this tank rolling through the streets: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/latest-holiday-attraction-tank-rides/query/+HOLIDAY+CHEER

The Tank Joy Rides were at the Kursaal at Southend on Sea (Essex).  The tank pictured is a British Mark IV Female. It was bought by a syndicate of ex tank crew. A second tank, this time a Mark V was also used but it was operated by a different group of investors. The Mark V's passenger deck was smaller. I have found no pictures of this Mark V yet.

 

The tanks were used during the early 1920's. 

Landships.jpg

 

The model:

I used a Takom Mark IV, some evergreen plastic, bolts and nuts from Meng and lots of wood from my local hobby shop. This is the result. I noticed on a picture i found at a later stage of building that the left-hand sponson is one made of thin sheets of metal; not the original. But I have not altered it on the model.

 

P1070433.JPG

P1070449.JPG

Next step is painting; the sign on front would have been a white background but those letters? The tank could be any (dark) colour. 

 

Best regards,

Willem

 



-- Edited by Willem Visser on Sunday 6th of November 2016 06:33:44 PM

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Sergeant

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Cracking idea & a cracking build, love it Willem, cant wait for the next instalment

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Legend

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Nice idea and you've done a good job with the platform and seating. I suggest you take a closer look at the left hand sponson in the photos though. To me, it looks like it's made from wood and isn't a proper Female sponson.

Gwyn

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Commander in Chief

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Realy nice idea!

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Commander in Chief

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www.youtube.com/watch

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Colonel

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Hello Landships-members!

Thanks for the replys, Topoff, Gwyn Evans, Elbavaro and Pzkfw-e.

They are much appreciated.

Gwyn; as stated in the first message, I only found out that the left sponson was different after I had finished building the Mark IV. I found the clearer picture of the left side afterwards. First I convinced myself that I would leave it the way it was ..... Your reply made me think over again and the "pressure" of my wife Betty and friend Ronald pushed me to remove the sponson.

On the picture I see that the hole that was left after removing the sponson and doors was filled up with wood, running from top to bottom with some wood at the top and the underside. The dummy-sponson was another thing. I think that it was made of thin steel formed to look like a sponson. The finish on the real thing is very smooth, so for me it was clear: no wood but plates of some sort of steel......

So, I have finished the model again and pictures will follow in the next message.

 

Thanks and best regards,

Willem



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Colonel

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And this is the "new" Joy-rides Mark IV

New wooden left side with steel dummy-sponson and a fold-up-stairs at the back (like the real thing).

Best Regards,

Willem

CC4D4EE7-1297-494C-91FB-19B5DCD7F78B.JPG

 P1070464.JPGP1070458.JPG



-- Edited by Willem Visser on Friday 11th of November 2016 11:15:17 AM



-- Edited by Willem Visser on Friday 11th of November 2016 11:16:06 AM



-- Edited by Willem Visser on Friday 11th of November 2016 04:33:59 PM

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Private

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Another little detail that the video shows is that the 'Tank Joy Rides' banner on the front of the passenger deck is translucent - the letters are visable from behind - so is presumably painted on a streatched canvas...
Is the solid bit of the front corner of the left hand rail perhaps a draw bridge for boarding from alongside a staging...?

mike

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Colonel

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Hello Mike,
thanks for your message!
The banner will be painted on both sides. In that way I will try to get the translucent looking. Well noticed!

That solid bit looks indeed like a draw bridge. I have made it to look like one. I wondered if it was made to enter the vehicle from the first floor of a house or building or maybe there was something made in Southend to let the joyriders enter the deck in an easy way? The stairs at the back is a little steep.
I have not yet found any proof of that.

Thanks and best regards,
Willem

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Corporal

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Loving the build Willem!

 

 

I’ve been gathering images of this subject for a little while, with the intention of producing something similar in paper, and recently came across the following two images, which give an indication of the reasoning behind the wooden panelling over the port sponson...

 

 

The first, from ‘The Sphere’ dated April 1920 is interesting inasmuch as the description below states that the machine was to carry 40 passengers – mainly on the platform, but including 8 inside the tank – presumably four either side of the engine.

 

 

The ‘artist’s impression’ differs considerably from photographic evidence, but does at least provide some idea of the seating arrangement!

 

 

The article also states that the Joy rides were to begin on Good Friday 1920.

 

Joyride Tank 1.jpg

 

The second photo, from the ‘Illustrated London News’, date February 1920 shows a photograph of the tank prior to the construction of the platform but does show that the machine had no sponson in place even then...

 

Joyride Tank 2.jpg

 

Perhaps, after initial ‘uncomfortable’ experiences by passengers travelling inside the vehicle it was decided (or was forced upon the owners) to dispense with the eight interior seats?

 

 

Hoping these might be of some interest Willem.  You build has prompted me to make a start on my version now too!

 

 

Kind regards

 

 

Shawn

Both photos copyright Illustrated London news Group.

Apologies for large size of photos!



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Shawn


Colonel

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Shawn,

Those photos are great! Thank you very much.
I thought that everything about those Mark IV's was known as far as photos or articles...... you surprised me.
Great finds and fun to read for me.
😀
Best regards,
Willem

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Sergeant

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I found this, www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw000443, an aerial view of the Kursaal in April 1920. Not sure if there is enough detail see the tank driving area.

jh

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jch


Colonel

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Hello John,
Great find. Looking at the known pictures, the film and the recent two from Shawn it looks like they started at the beach, went up the town and then they were riding across some rough terrain. But where on this picture?
Great puzzle,
Thanks,
Willem

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Colonel

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All this is most interesting. THank you!

The black and white postcard shows a distinctive house with a bay window on one side and a specific pattern of chimney stacks and roofs. If you register for Britainfrom theair (free - it is an academic/institutional site) you can blow up the photo which Jch in UK found. The house - or an identical one - is visible on the top edge of the photo about 3/4 of the way along the top edge. The fence and terrain match the postcard. There is a mention elsewhere of the tank in the Kursaal grounds - plenty of space, it had not been fully developed. I assume that the tank kept within the grounds for common sense and income maximisation.

Good Friday 1920 was 2 April, so the April 1920 date of the air photo does not constrain us as to whether the tank was or was not there. However the photo is very grainy and even a tank gets lost very easily in such a photo. One possibility is visible in the top of the photo, almost in the middle, between the pylon thing and the white control tower thing and much closer to the former. This doesn't show enough detail to be conclusive, and I would normally want to see either the rhomboidal shape, or the distinctive shadows of the front and rear horns and sponsons to confirm an ID. But the location is suggestive. (a) it is in about the right sort of location between a clearly public area and a restricted one for controlled access; and (b) it was only after I noticed it that I spotted what could be the track marks of a regular run up and to the left, behind the big dipper, and back again.

However, there are plenty of other places/shadows in which the tank could be lurking - and blobs which could be tanks ...

I'm not sure if the tank went on the beach - or at least not when the photo was taken. It was high tide and the tank would have gone all over the fishing boats and their piers.

Here is another photo from the same period:
www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw000444

Alas it doesn't show the presumed tank training area ...

Others on the site eg EPW024887 show the Kursaal area in 1928 - far more developed by then.

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Corporal

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Guys...

The attached newspaper article gives a clearer indication of the type of route/terrain, sadly no actual route is given and one wonders if the course planned was actually kept to or found to be just a little to rough for pleasure passengers!

Report taken from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 24 Feb 1920

Untitled-1.jpg

Have just found a couple more previously 'unseen' photos - one of them was a bit of a surprise to me!  Will post in a few minutes (after I've resized the images!!)

 

Shawn



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Shawn


Corporal

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Here's the first of the two pictures - taken from 'The Graphic', dated 10 April 1920.  Nothing new or revealing in this one, but one I certainly hadn't seen before...

1.jpg

The next picture is a little different.....



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Shawn


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Finally (unless I unearth any more!)

A very revealing image and the only one I've seen in a totally different paint scheme - even the wooden platform, rails etc have been painted in the same camo pattern.

Dated a little later than most of the other known photos - from 'The Graphic' - May 1920 (the majority of the others date from Feb/Mar/Apr 1920), indicating the paint scheme was added after the Easter launch OR it's the second MkIV that was converted, and used by, I believe, a rival group.  Any thoughts?

2.jpg



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Shawn


Colonel

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Mike and Shawn,
Great info and really great pictures. I think it is the same tank, looking at the missing pistol port cover on the right side sponson, see my first pictures. But that can be a coincidence. That first picture revealse a detail that I missed; the two wooden beams that support the sign, making it hang like it hangt. Good to see the front without the sign.
They have done a good job painting the tank and seats with that camo-scheme, But what must it look like? Any known camo?
If there is anybody with more info, Please share it 😀,
Best regards,
Willem

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Colonel

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The tank in the bright camo scheme is at the Kursaal, a little bit along from the location of the postcard photo. It is opposite a road junction. On one corner the house at the corner has a rounded roof. On the other corner the building has distinctive gable ends and a party wall between the houses which comes up through the roof. This matches one location precisely in the air photo, very near the pylon thing.

Of course that doesn't prove it is the same tank (though the missing pistol port cover is very useful) or the same commercial firm operating it.

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Colonel

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Hello Mike,
So it is at the top of the picture, in the middle, at that junction?
That is for me what i understand about the discription. You've got sharp eyes!
Thanks again!
Best regards,
Willem

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Sergeant

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packard wrote:

Finally (unless I unearth any more!)

A very revealing image and the only one I've seen in a totally different paint scheme - even the wooden platform, rails etc have been painted in the same camo pattern.

2.jpg


 It looks like at least a three-colour scheme, which seems a little extravagent for a novelty ride?

As similar enterprises did not spring up around the country, I assume the venture was not a commercial success?

jch



-- Edited by jch_in_uk on Saturday 31st of December 2016 02:22:40 PM

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jch


Colonel

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Hello John,
Maybe ocre, brown and green with black outlining, so basically a german camouflage pattern?
Best regards,
Willem


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Colonel

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Hello Mike,

I have taken an other look at the picture and your description.

is the position in the red circle below?

Southend on Sea.jpg



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Colonel

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Yes, Willem, that's just it. It seems to be the only one that fits, and the fence is much the same as in the postcard. It is also on the line which I think shows tank tracks in the aerial photo - but others may disagree.

The air photo is very early in 1920. We know it was in April. Whether it was taken on 1 April, or after the Easter holiday weekend, which was 2-4 April, I do not know. However, I suspect the area would have been quiet again after that weekend - there are not many people about and hardly any in the Kursaal itself so the busy holiday season has not really started. There are (I think) plenty of bathing machines (the English term of changing rooms on wheels which you could hire when you went swimming in the sea). They are visible at the top of the beach on the bottom right - effectively huts on carts. The Kursaal looks in close up as if they are still getting some attractions in it built or tidied up for opening. So there is still plenty of time for the ground around the tank ride to be modified with 'shell holes' and 'trenches' as time went on. In any case, unless there is the right kind of shadow, air photos tend to flatten out the unevennesses in the ground.

To be sure, it could be on the side of the Kursaal site out of view of the photo and on the right in the photo, but a look at the 1928 and later air photos should show the houses there, which would resolve that if it ever becomes necessary.



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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Interesting work

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Colonel

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Thanks Mike!
And Kamil, it becomes more interesting with every little detail filled in by all the members here.
I like it very much.
Thanks!


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Sergeant

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Lothianman wrote:

Yes, Willem, that's just it. It seems to be the only one that fits, and the fence is much the same as in the postcard. It is also on the line which I think shows tank tracks in the aerial photo - but others may disagree.

The air photo is very early in 1920. We know it was in April. Whether it was taken on 1 April, or after the Easter holiday weekend, which was 2-4 April, I do not know. However, I suspect the area would have been quiet again after that weekend - there are not many people about and hardly any in the Kursaal itself so the busy holiday season has not really started. There are (I think) plenty of bathing machines (the English term of changing rooms on wheels which you could hire when you went swimming in the sea). They are visible at the top of the beach on the bottom right - effectively huts on carts. The Kursaal looks in close up as if they are still getting some attractions in it built or tidied up for opening. So there is still plenty of time for the ground around the tank ride to be modified with 'shell holes' and 'trenches' as time went on. In any case, unless there is the right kind of shadow, air photos tend to flatten out the unevennesses in the ground.

To be sure, it could be on the side of the Kursaal site out of view of the photo and on the right in the photo, but a look at the 1928 and later air photos should show the houses there, which would resolve that if it ever becomes necessary.


 'Bathing Machines' is the right term, the idea was to allow bathers to change in private and to convey them to the water's edge, though knowing Southend fairly well (I live about 20 miles away) when the tide is out it's over a mile from the shore to the water's edge.

jh



-- Edited by jch_in_uk on Sunday 1st of January 2017 06:27:44 PM

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jch


Major

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Willem Visser wrote:

Hello Mike,

I have taken an other look at the picture and your description.

is the position in the red circle below?

Southend on Sea.jpg


 Hi, I think it may be the next road along - the junction of Leamington Road / Woodgrange Drive (rather than Cheltenham Road / Woodgrange Drive).

Also, the postcard is numbered 1; so it is probably part of a series.

An interesting choice to model.



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Colonel

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Yes, of course - you are right, my mistake. (The next road along to the right from the red circle.) Thanks for correcting me.

This does assume that the photo is printed the right way round, but I don't see any way to check that.

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Colonel

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... I mean, the photo of the tank in the spotty scheme is printed the right way round!

The only asymmetry I can think of is the way in which men's suits button. The waistcoat on one chap looks all right, however, as does the chap in the light jacket, so perhaps it was printed OK anyway.

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Major

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I've now rediscovered a couple of images in my postcard collection.

The first is No 3 in the series I mentioned.  There's nothing much new here other than another house appears in the background.  Both it and the other house we've seen before still exist and can be seen on Google Maps street view, though the house on the left looks as if it has had an extension to the side.

The second is most interestig.  It was very faded and the picture of the tank was tiny.  I hadn't really studied it carefully.  But on enhancing it shows the tank with its camo scheme!  It also gives an impression of the course.  The house on the left looks the same as the one in the other card.

Enjoy!

(Pictures in reverse order!)



-- Edited by Runflat on Tuesday 3rd of January 2017 10:58:25 PM

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Colonel

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Fascinating stuff, Runflat!

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Colonel

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Hello Alan,
thanks for sharing those pictures!
Another one of the camouflaged version.
Great finds.


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Colonel

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And Alan, ........
so there is a number 1 postcard and a number 3 postcard ...... see the numbers in the left corner at the bottom.
Any chance that you might have the number 2 postcard in your collection?

Tank Joy Ride 001.jpgCC4D4EE7-1297-494C-91FB-19B5DCD7F78B.JPG

Best regards,

Willem



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Major

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Sorry, no.  I only have No.3.  There may be something like four or six in total.  It would be interesting to see the others.



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Colonel

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Hello Alan,
thanks and no problem, I was already happy with your input!
Four or six in total?
Well maybe, maybe someone else is also going to surprise us.
Best regards,
Willem

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Colonel

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Looking closer at the new pictures from Shawn I noticed two things. I hace seen mystery brackets at the early Joy Rides mark IV. A question about it was placed elsewhereon the forum.

Another thing I noticed..... On the left hand side there is a piece of the upperside that looks like an emergency-exit. Looking at the picture from Shawn I noticed that the emergency-exit has some sort of railings attached. Look at the picture: in red I have marked them. Any ideas about their purpose? Emergency exit or anything else?

IMG_1136.JPGIMG_1136 a.jpg

Best regards,

Willem



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Colonel

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John, Mike and Alan,

I want to know ....... so to be completly sure:

the red circle is the junction and the blue square might have been the area where the tank made its Joy Rides?

location.jpgBest regards,

Willem



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Major

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You can see the Kursaal site in this map from 1923 (on the sea front to the east of the pier): http://maps.nls.uk/view/102342314

If you look at the picture of the camo tank I posted you can see a fence running down the hill.  The question is whether that fence goes along the inside edge of what is shown as the football ground or along Arnold Avenue?  Unfortunately, we don't know (yet) when the football gound was built.  Assuming the house in the photo is the same then the the fence may well be inside of the football ground.  But it could be a house further along, in which case the fence is along Arnold Avenue.  Sorry, that doesn't help much!

(I've edited my previous conclusions!)

 



-- Edited by Runflat on Wednesday 4th of January 2017 11:37:10 PM

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Major

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Well, this suggests the football ground was there in 1920 : http://www.shrimperzone.com/vb/showthread.php?66527-Introduction/page5

There's also a map of the park from then.  Perhaps the fence line in my photo is along what looks like the north entrance to the football ground - assuming that leaves enough room for the tank to do its thing.  Either that or or it is the furthest north-eastern corner of the site.

Some later aerial photos here:

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw024877?name=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&gazetteer=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&POPULATED_PLACE=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&ADMIN_AREA=Southend-on-Sea&ref=43

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw032918?name=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&gazetteer=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&POPULATED_PLACE=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&ADMIN_AREA=Southend-on-Sea&ref=63

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw032922?name=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&gazetteer=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&POPULATED_PLACE=SOUTHEND-ON-SEA&ADMIN_AREA=Southend-on-Sea&ref=66

 



-- Edited by Runflat on Thursday 5th of January 2017 01:06:16 AM

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