The Kursaal is a landmark feature in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, which opened in 1901 as one of the world’s first purpose-built amusement parks,The venue is noted for the main building with distinctive dome, designed by Campbell Sherrin, and which has featured on a Royal Mail special edition stamp.
The venue was opened in 1894 by father and son Alfred and Bernard Wiltshire Tollhurst, on 4 acres of land purchased the previous year, as the ‘Marine Park and Gardens’. In 1901, they opened a grand entrance pavilion, called the Kursaal, designed by Campbell Sherrin, containing a circus, ballroom, arcade, dining hall and billiard room.
In 1927 two Scotsmen named Jimmy Shand and Tom Wilson approached Southend F.C who played at the Kursaal, they agreed a deal to start greyhound racing on July 27th, The greyhound operation lasted only two years because Shand & Wilson refused to pay the increased rent demands.The football remained there until 1955.
The Kursaal declined in the early 1970s, with the outdoor amusements closed in 1973, and the main building finally succumbing to closure in 1986.
Although the outdoor amusements were redeveloped for housing, the main Kursaal building reopened in 1998, after a multi-million pound redevelopment, containing a bowling alley and other amusements.
Southend on Sea,