Photographs of Shirley Seeds at Southend Carnival c.1950s. Shirley remembers: "When I was a child Southend Carnival week was a big event. I was entered into the Fancy dress parade every year, and my Mum made all my costumes. I can remember going down to the carnival office (which was on the forecourt of Southend Central Station) to get my collecting tin. A van was in the procession so you could change the tins when they were full and heavy.
There were 3 processions during the week, each with a dazzling display of decorated floats, bicycles, prams, cars, marching bands and of course the Dagenham Girl Pipers, not forgetting the visiting carnival queens from all over the county. The main Saturday procession was from Leigh to the Kursaal. A shorter Wednesday procession (most shops closed Wednesday afternoon) and the Saturday Torchlight procession which started at the Kursaal and finished at Chalkwell Park. This was when the illuminations were switched on. Other events included a dog show, beautiful toddlers, a firework display at the greyhound stadium in Sutton Road and talent competitions at the bandstand, which I entered and my friend Janet and I won with a routine from the King and I (Shall we dance). The whole town seem to participate one way or another.
A big treat was to go to Chalkwell Fete with the family, usually on the last Saturday and I was allowed to stay up late and then walk home. You could win a goldfish in a plastic bag on many stalls.
I can remember going to the Southend Standard Office in Clifftown Avenue to look at the photos which they displayed in the window to see if I could recognise any body."