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Southend Central Museum
is to undergo extensive repairs after walls, windows and sections of
the roof were found to have seriously deteriorated.
The council applied to make improvements to the central museum on Victoria Avenue through a planning application which describes parts of the museum as being “in a poor state of repair”.
It goes on to describe “crumbling stonework” and falling roof tiles that need replacing. Several windows are also noted as being “close to collapse” and in need of urgent replacement.
A detailed survey of the building’s condition carried out in June also highlights serious concerns about the building’s condition and estimates that the cost of the repairs will be £195,136.
It states that “masonry is in a deteriorating condition with little evidence of repair or maintenance” and the windows are “in need of repair and refurbishment”.
Councillor Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “The Central Museum was originally a public library, gifted to the town thanks to the generous sponsorship of Andrew Carnegie in 1905.
“In 1981 it was transformed into a museum, with the Planetarium added in 1984, and the current Prince of Prittlewell exhibition and newly opened temporary exhibition ‘Wild Estuary’ are both proving very popular with residents and visitors alike.
“The building is an important part of Southend’s rich history and as a Grade 2 listed building, it is vital we carry out repairs so the museum can continue to serve the residents in Southend.”
Ward Councillor and leader of the council, Ian Gilbert, said: “The central museum is an important building that is in itself part of Southend’s history. It is vital that this building is maintained properly.”
One of the museum’s biggest exhibits features priceless artefacts from the burial chamber of a Saxon King which were found during excavation for a road widening scheme in Priory Crescent in 2003.
Among the items on display is a 1,400 year old painted wooden box, plus a set of sixth century dice.