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10 interesting and quirky facts about Southend on Sea & Essex

Southend on Sea Pier

Essex is a vibrant county with over two thousand years of history and an economic powerhouse, Essex is a fascinating place to discover and explore – here’s some fascinating things about our county you might not know!

  1. Southend Pier, at 1.33 miles long, is the longest pleasure pier in the world.
  2. Southend pier was originally a wooden structure built in 1830. It has been rebuilt several times over the years.
  3. The 350 mile long Essex coast is the second longest coastline of any English county.
  4. The county has 35 islands, more islands than any other English county.
  5. In 1920,  the first ever radio broadcast featuring Australian Dame Nellie Melba, a famous opera soprano of the time, was made from Chelmsford, the Birthplace of Radio.
  6. Chelmsford was once the capital of England for a few days when the seat of Government was temporarily moved to the town 600 years ago.
  7. Northey Island is where the battle of Maldon took place in 991, making it the oldest battlefield in Britain.
  8. Did you know five US presidents hailed from Essex? George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
  9. Essex is one of the few places in the world where the “Little Scarlet” strawberry is grown, the perfect variant for jam making.
  10. The first crocodile to be brought to the UK was in 1701 by Richard Bradley who kept it in the lake and grounds of his home in Braintree.