Kursaal Amusement Park

historical maps,

We recently stumbled upon an intriguing set of maps whilst researching for a report.

The map, from 1950, shows the now abandoned Kursaal Amusement Park in intricate detail. Opened in Southend in 1901, the amusement park included rides such as the Never Stop Railway, Midget Mansion and the Wall of Death.

The park was hugely successful, however faced a brief closure during the Second World War as the water chute basin was utilised as a reserve water supply for South End’s fire brigade.

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Following the Second World War, The Kursaal really took off again with regular television and radio broadcasts.

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Unfortunately, in the early 1970s the amusement park slid into decline as holidays abroad became more popular.

Most of the land which was sold off in 1973 was redeveloped into housing. A map from 1993 illustrates, in fine detail, the Kursaal Amusement Park site as it now exists. The blocks were named to reflect the site’s history – Swingboat terrace, Skelter Steps, Coaster Steps. The Kursaal entrance hall and ballroom has been a Grade II listed building since 8th April 1994 and a multi-million pound restoration took place in 1998. The building is so remarkable and iconic that it featured on a stamp in 2011 as part of the Royal Mail’s A to Z of Britain series.

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