THE CLIFFS PAVILION EXPERIENCE
A large group of members of the Local Theatre Group, went on a tour of the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, organised by their Group Liaison, Carol.
The tour began with our guides outlining the history of the Cliffs, which apparently goes back to the 1930’s, when it was built. From the foyer, we moved into the auditorium upstairs, where we learnt about the options in the layout of it and how shows are organised and put on. From there, we moved downstairs to the hub of the building, where scenery is moved in and out, culminating in a visit to the dressing rooms, first class and second class you could say. The second class being very basic and the first class for the star of the show, was carpeted and had tea making facilities (a kettle and tea bags, a luxury in comparison.) The small narrow corridor made you wonder how the show participants managed, with large dresses and Tu Tu’s, when there is a ballet on. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go on the stage as it was being set up for the evening show, but a member of the sound team who was with the evening show, came to the edge of the stage and enlightened us on how he controlled everything from sound to lighting. I understand this was not a usual part of the tour, so it was a bonus! Throughout the tour, we were able to ask the guides any questions, which were duly answered. The whole tour made you realise the work that goes into producing a show and making it work for us in the auditorium, so everything runs smoothly, timing being of the essence.
After the tour, we all gathered in the restaurant for a well received, Afternoon Tea of sandwiches and a variety of cakes, with plenty of refreshment on offer.
An enjoyable afternoon was had by all!
A Great Day At The Opera
We spent an afternoon at the Royal Opera House Production Workshop at Purfleet.
Starting off at the tea rooms for a nice drink in the enclosed garden in the brilliant sunshine, we were met by our brilliant guides who took us over to the workshop to see how they made all the scenery for the different productions. For this there is a carpentry workshop and a metal fabrication shop. Next door is where they would do the back drops, these were so big that they would be laid out on the floor or hang from a gallery on a lift so it could be painted and decorated.
In another room was where they made some of the costumes some of them were on show and some were in the course of being made.
From the costume makers to the costume store room where there was a large warehouse full of dresses, boots, wigs, hats even the belly for a pregnant woman. A lot of time was spent in this room trying on the different paraphernalia.
This was a great afternoon out which was presented by our great guides.
It was a cold and blustery day when we all turned up to the Stow Maries WW1 airfield. We all assembled in the Canteen for a welcome drink and a talk on the history of the site, then split up into smaller groups and taken round the site to see the some of the Planes, some of them were real and some replicas, in the hangers. There was also on show some vintage vehicles and a tour of some of the other buildings such as the pilots rest room where they would hang out waiting for a call to action.
Back to the canteen where a delicious hot meal was waiting for use.
After dinner we went to the new history museum to look around the exhibits after which we all drifted home.
The Coalhouse Fort Project was set up in 1983 by a dedicated team of volunteers. Leased from Thurrock Council, with the aim of restoring the fort. The Fort is set within several acres of Green Flag parkland next to the River Thames and is currently undergoing refurbishment.
Constructed between 1861 and 1874, the Fort cost an estimated £130,000 and was built to defend the Thames from a potential invasion by France. Forts were also built on the opposite side of the Thames in Kent, at Cliffe and Shorenmead.
Coalhouse served as a coastal defence battery during WW1 and WW2. During WW2 it became a Degausing Monitor Station to help protect shipping from magnetic mines that were being deployed in the Thames estuary. It was closed following the abolition of Coastal Defence in 1956 and used as storage for Bata shoes until the early 1960's.
On a beautiful sunny morning the group met up at Coalhouse Fort for a special tour around the fort. It was a work day for the volunteers, so a lot of noise was heard from around the building, with a lot of banter between the work mates. The first part was a talk on the history of the fort as far back as 1540 when Henry VII had a 15 gun tower built to defend the Thames from invasion and as seen from the short history above has seen various modifications throughout it’s lifetime. Interestingly never has it fired it’s guns in anger.
The second part was to take us down all the connecting tunnels and powder storage areas. The Victorian military which worked this area would first have to don coveralls and hessian shoes to prevent any chance of sparks setting off a gunpowder explosion, where the gunpowder barrels were hoisted up and down through holes in the tunnel roof these were lined with wood, again to prevent sparks.
Important Information Concerning Paid For Visits
Any organised visit that requires payment must be paid for at the time of booking. Your money cannot be refunded if you decide not to go, but in the case of you being unable to attend, we will try our best to arrange for another member to take your place, if we are advised in good time.
Carol Revell is the Group Liaison.
To contact Carol please click on the 'send a message' link above.
Please be aware that you have to be a fully paid up member of Canvey Island U3A to be able to participate in this group
|Dates for your Diary|
|Wed Mar 4th||Rainham Hall and Gardens.|
Price to be confirmed.
Please contact Carol for details and bookings.
|Mon Mar 30th||Chelmsford Police Museum|
Cost £3 on the day.
For details please contact Carol