Building of the Month August 2018: Royal Terrace, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Building of the month - August 2018

The Royal Terrace in Southend-on-Sea (Photo: Eveleigh Photography)

The Royal Terrace was merely The Terrace until 1804, when Princess Caroline, wife of the Prince Regent, stayed in nos. 7, 8 and 9. That’s according to Pevsner; he does not say whether three houses were knocked into one for her, or if they were built that way, in the 1790s, and later divided. Nos. 7, 8 and 13 are currently vacant, and in need of new occupiers, royal or otherwise. Two of the houses, of course, have the special royal cachet, but the entire row is special, being both the earliest phase of the development of the fashionable resort of Southend-on-Sea and the only surviving Georgian terrace. It has lovely iron balconies overlooking the sea and all the elegance you might expect. It is all Grade II listed.

At the High Street end of the terrace is the Royal Hotel, built contemporaneously, and recently revamped and reopened, with great ambitions. No. 6 is already a boutique hotel, and no. 15 looks to be taking a turn for the better.

The hoped-for early resort did not quite take off, because of diffi culties simply getting there, before the railway came in 1856. Today, there are no less than three stations and a frequent train service from Southend Central to Fenchurch Street – the journey takes a little under an hour.

So a bolt-hole from the rat race or a business opportunity with seaside air, this is a chance to play a part in the revival of a piece of royal history.