The building originates back to 1905, when the site was first opened as the towns first free library. The Grade II listed site remained as a library until 1974 when it moved to the brutalist-style concrete-faced building to the left of it. Much of its early Edwardian Victorian-style architecture both inside and out remains relatively unchanged. It houses both recent and ancient historic artefacts, including some found locally such as pottery from Hadleigh Castle. Dotted around are various displays and an exhibition room hosting many different displays over time. Various historic room layouts are also on site, something like a time-capsule into the past. The planetarium upstairs was built in 1984 by astronomer Harry Ford. It also features a bee-nest upstairs that has been there for as far as we remember – even since visiting as a young child! The museum is owned and run by Southend Museums, with open times and more information on exhibitions on their website.
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