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The Cliffs Pavilion - geograph.org.uk - 734107.jpg
The Cliffs Pavilion above the Thames Estuary
Westcliff-on-Sea is located in Essex
Location within Essex
Population21,108 (2011 Census. Chalkwell and Milton Wards)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ865855
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSS0
Dialling code01702
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°32′09″N 0°41′49″E / 51.5359°N 0.6970°E / 51.5359; 0.6970Coordinates: 51°32′09″N 0°41′49″E / 51.5359°N 0.6970°E / 51.5359; 0.6970

Westcliff-on-Sea (often abbreviated to Westcliff) is a town located United Kingdom in Essex in the south east of England.[2] It is on the north shore of the lower Thames Estuary, about 34 miles (55 km) east of London.


View south-east over the Thames Estuary to the Isle of Grain, Kent from the shore at Westcliff-On-Sea

The cliffs formed by erosion of the local quaternary geology give views over the Thames Estuary towards the Kent coastline to the south. The coastline has been transformed into sandy beaches through the use of groynes and imported sand. The estuary at this point has extensive mud flats. At low tide, the water typically retreats some 600 m from the beach, leaving the mud flats exposed.


The southern area of what is now known as Westcliff, south of the London Road, was known as Milton or Milton Hamlet until the period 1860-1880[3] when the Milton Estate and surrounding land was sold to speculators who preferred the name Westcliff-on-Sea.[4] By the time the station opened in 1895 it was named Westcliff not Milton.[5] The area between Milton Road and Hamlet Court Road was named The Hamlet by the original developers Brassey, Peto, Betts & Co. when they developed it as a "high class suburban retreat".[4] Milton Hall (demolished 1900) was on the site of the what is now Nazareth House[6] on the London Road. Hamlet Court was a large house in the area between Hamlet Court Road, Canewdon Road, and Ditton Court Road and was demolished in 1929.[5]


The London, Tilbury and Southend Railway route passing through the suburb was completed to Southend in 1856 but the Westcliff railway station in Station Road was not opened until 1895. It is now managed by c2c.


Several areas of Westcliff have been classified as conservation areas: Clifftown bordering Southend town centre and including Prittlewell Square gardens, Shorefield and the Leas towards the sea front, and Milton focused on the Park Estate between Park Street and Milton Road. The Milton Conservation Area includes the Grade II listed building which was formerly the Wesleyan Chapel (Park Road Methodist Church)[7] it was completed in 1872 to the design of Elijah Hoole (1837-1912)[8] and was Southend's first permanent Methodist Church.[9]

Westcliff contains a number of other Grade II listed buildings, Our Lady Help of Christians and St Helen's Church in Milton Road, the Church of Saint Alban the Martyr in St John's Road, the former Havens department store in Hamlet Court Road, Marteg House in Annerley Road, Westcliff Library in London Road and the Palace Theatre.[10] The official list entries for these are available from Historic England on the National Heritage List for England.[11]


The main shopping area in Westcliff-on-Sea is Hamlet Court Road, where the department store Havens, established in 1901, remained the anchor store until its closure in 2017. Hamlet Court Road took its name from a manor house called the Hamlet Court, which stood on land now occupied by Pavarotti's restaurant and adjoining shops, facing towards the sea with sweeping gardens down to the rail line. The road later developed into a strong independent retail area and quickly became famous outside the area as the Bond Street of Essex.[12][13] There were many haberdashers and specialist shops, and it was not too unusual to see chauffeurs waiting for their employers to emerge from the shops.

The economic recessions of the 1980s and 1990s saw the area decline. The road underwent a £1 million regeneration in the early 2000s and a further regeneration in 2010.


The Parade at Westcliff-on-Sea (1903)

The two main theatres in Westcliff are the Cliffs Pavilion, which overlooks the seafront, and the Palace Theatre.[14]

Westcliff-on-Sea is also home to the Thames Estuary Yacht Club and the Westcliff Casino.

Notable people[edit]

A large white house, partly with pitched roofs, and one section being surmounted by a tower-like structure with windows set in.
Matcham's house in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex


  1. ^ "Southend Ward population 2011". Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 178 Thames Estuary (Rochester & Southend-on-Sea) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2014. ISBN 9780319229675.
  3. ^ Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 1. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  4. ^ a b Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 41. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  5. ^ a b Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. pp. 46–49. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  6. ^ Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 35. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  7. ^ Holmes, Katherine. "Milton Conservation Area". www.southend.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  8. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1954). Essex. Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 326.
  9. ^ Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 56. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  10. ^ Nelson, Rob. "Listed Buildings". www.southend.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  11. ^ "National Heritage List for England". Historic England.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Hamlet Court Road street party filmed for BBC show - Evening Echo p.6 June 2013". Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  13. ^ Cohen, Philip; Rustin, Michael J. (January 2008). London's Turning - The making of Thames Gateway - Edited by Philip Cohen & Michael J. Rustin page 219. ISBN 9780754670636. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Southend Theatres". www.southendtheatres.org.uk. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  15. ^ a b Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 46. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  16. ^ a b "Southend Timeline". Southend Timeline. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Obituary - John Barber". aronline.co.uk. 13 November 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  18. ^ Pearce, Marion. (2000). Milton, Chalkwell, and the Crowstone. Romford: Ian Henry. p. 47. ISBN 0-86025-510-7. OCLC 46570209.
  19. ^ Webster, Richard; Clement, Dick; la Frenais, Ian (2001). Porridge The Inside Story. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7472-3294-6.
  20. ^ Robert Skidelsky, "Jean Floud obituary", The Guardian, 3 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Edward Greenfield Writer Obituary". The Telegraph. 3 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  23. ^ "Wilko Johnson - ARU". aru.ac.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Guitar legend Wilko back home after operation". Echo. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  25. ^ "Mr Frank Matcham Dead". Western Daily Press. 19 May 1920. p. 10.
  26. ^ "Player profile: Hugh Sells". CricketArchive. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  27. ^ Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Sir Bernard Williams, 73, Oxford Philosopher, Dies", The New York Times, 14 June 2003.