This film is part of Free

The Best Place Under the Sun

The eloquent voice-over, lively music and fifties fashions set the scene in this promotional film for the holiday resort of Southend-on-Sea.

Promotional 1953 18 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


In this locally produced film we see holidaymakers enjoying the ‘longest pier in the world’ with its electric railway, pier orchestra and cafes. From Cliff Gardens we move to the crowded beaches with rows of beach huts and sailing boats. At the Westcliff open air pool there is a 'water ballet', and the 'Miss Lovely' beauty competition. Southend Carnival scenes are followed by bowls, putting, tennis, cricket and finally a night sequence of the town's illuminations.

Richard Pike was not a commercial filmmaker but he did produce semi-professional films for various organisations and made family and personal films, many of which are preserved at the East Anglian Film Archive. Frank Phillips, credited as the narrator, worked at the BBC as a newsreader between 1935 and 1963 and would have been well known to the Germans as he was the first BBC presenter to announce his name before reading the news during wartime. The Kursaal (a German word that translates literally as ‘Cure Hall’) opened in 1901 and was the largest fairground in the south of England. Many of the traditional rides have now gone, but the building remains a major centre for entertainment and leisure in the town.