After 35 years heritage centre finally set to open in Shoebury Garrison

A £1 million heritage centre which will celebrate Shoebury’s history as a key military establishment through two world wars is finally set to open.

The Cart & Wagon Shed at Heritage and Community Centre, in Warrior Square Road, will open in September following a string of setbacks and long delays.

The centre, in Shoebury Garrison, was due to open in 2020. But the COVID pandemic, plus problems in getting a lease agreed with Southend Council, ensured the shutters stayed up.

The new heritage centre will also include a new café for visitors to enjoy.

John Budge, David Hadjicostas and Brian Sandford are the directors of the Shoebury Coastal Community Interest Company behind the heritage centre and are over the moon at the announcement.

Mr Budge said: “At the beginning of May this year we finally took possession of the newly refurbished cart and wagon shed building, having completed all of the necessary legal negotiations and obligations with Southend Council, including the lease.

“The original concept of a Heritage Centre on Shoebury Garrison was first aired in 1987, so it’s only taken 35 years.

“We are well on our way now to achieving what we know will be a first class facility and visitor offer in the heart of historic Shoebury that will enable us to tell the story of an Iron Age settlement, that became inhabited by Vikings, that dwindled to a few farms, that became the centre of a Worldwide arms race, that grew into a thriving seaside town.”

The directors, along with volunteers from the Shoebury Residents’ Association, Shoebury Society and the Royal Artillery Association, have made several visits to the centre to clean, mow, tidy and get on with preparation for opening to the public.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for culture and tourism, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve got to the stage where the heritage centre can open and all the artefacts about Shoebury can be accessed and people can learn about Shoebury history.”

Once all the work is complete there will be an official opening, most likely in autumn 2023.
The café is set to open in early September from 9am each day.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter