Southend Seafront Wartime Defences (1940s)


We started at a disguised pillbox next to an abandoned industrial area that is planned to be demolished and have a hotel built on its grounds – lets hope the pillbox stays! The brick wall appears to be of classic Southend Victorian origin, which appears to have later had a brick removed in order that the pillbox built behind it could remain covert, firing through the allegedly normal wall. The Germans would have been pretty confused! The pillbox was visible through a gap along from the wall, and the top of it peeped out over the top of the wall itself. Apparently the entrance of the pillbox is bricked up although we couldn’t get in anyway to the site.

Across the road were two ‘anti-tank blocks’ (a.k.a. pimples or Dragon’s teeth), embedded into the seawall. one featured a plaque (nice work) explaining the block’s purpose, stating over 1,000 of these blocks lined Southend seafront in the 1940s. Their purpose would be to block the shores from any German vehicles trying to drive into the mainland.


The two anti-tank blocks remaining out of the total 1,000+

Next we took a look at the industrial  site (‘Esplanade House’) which used to be behind the walls of the pillbox. A jetty existed, up until 2007, built for the original pre-1940 industrial site, and also used by the 1970s industrial site.  On the end of this jetty was a WW2 observation post, kinda like a big  pillbox which was used for watching for invaders, rather than shooting at them.


Industrial remnants of 70s building


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