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Central Museum and Planetarium in Southend on Sea

Say Southend to any one and they will immediately think of a loud noisy and slightly tacky promenade of beach and establishments all offering beach related paraphernalia, mostly fish and chips shops, arcades and sweet vendors selling those sticks of rock that you always dread being given as souvenirs (who eats that stuff?) but of course like any old town that's endured this is an old town with more to it than that. We don't intend to write a whole critique on this place now but instead over then next few weeks just to shine a light on Southend's alternative diversion. With spring not far off most of Grays residents will find themselves in Southend at some point so we figured why not pack you off with a bit of knowledge of or destination that isn't promenade related.

This week we shine on Southend museum. They have a number of these all interconnected but today its the turn of Southend central museum. If you are driving to Southend you will actually pass it on the way as its right next door to the train station. As museums go this is a small edifice but it should be viewed in conjunction with its three siblings. Here you are greeted by an actual bomb case that landed but evidently didn't explode on southend during the war. In deed the museum, while making much of its long past with Roman settlers and its pre-historic basis (a modest display of sharks teeth are in-cased here testifying to its past), really this is a museum about the rather troubled times Southend suffered at the hands of the Germans.
Very few people realise that the Germans actually perfected the technology of the long range missile - known as the D2 developed by the German scientist Von Braun, (a man who went on to work for the Americans and help win the space race to the moon). But his connection to Southend is a tragic one. Other elements on display are of course the development of the area through history, its industry and the local wild life (stuffed and displayed) but we recommend a visit here to get a taste of the tough times that Southend has endured at the hands of the Nazis. In a way this museum's depiction of the devastation it suffered can certainly help in justifying the some what tackiness of the promenade. Who would care how stylishly your pleasures were packaged if you were in some way dealing with a war and its aftermath, this is the history out of which south end has grown.

Postcode: SS2 6EW (You can park next to Victoria station, parking is not free)
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