History of Southend


When the station first opened at Shoebury East Beach near Southend, the lookout and observation post was an old caravan. Initially there were 6 watchkeepers who monitored the coastline on Sundays  and Bank holidays.

We then moved to the Old Shoebury Garrison where we had two porta-cabins, giving us a first class view of the Thames Estuary and the number of watchkeepers rose to 20. 

However in 2003, due to the continual development of the Garrison site into a residential area, there was no longer any space for us to remain so we were asked to move which we did in january 2004. 

We were very fortunate to be given a space within the perimeter of the Ministry of Defence site at Shoeburyness, and so in March 2004 we moved again to a position that is clearly visible from East Beach and gives us a commanding view over the Thames Estuary, an even better view than we had before.

Following a winter storm in 2018/19, during which part of the roofing was blown off, and, bearing in mind the cabins themselves were from pre 2000, investigations began to replace both. Inevitable delays occured owing to, amongst other issues, lack of funds and the COVI-19 pandemic however the new cabins were finally installed in October 2020 which provide added space and facilities.


Currently 57 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Fleetwood in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.








The words National Coastwatch Institution and Eyes Along the Coast and the NCI logos are Registered Trademarks of NCI.

Contact Details

0300 111 1202
[email protected]


0845 460 1202
[email protected]

17 Dean Street, Liskeard,
Cornwall, PL14 4AB