Hamlet Court Road Conservation Area was designated in 2021. It is a busy retail street located in the Westcliff-on-Sea area of Southend, which first evolved in the late 19th century. The street was a fashionable retail area with a number of decorative buildings constructed. The Conservation Area consists of: 127-211 (odd) Hamlet Court Road, 128-186 Hamlet Court Road (even), 190-194 Hamlet Court Road, 354 London Road, and 356-364 London Road.
The character appraisal for the Hamlet Court Road Conservation Area can be viewed on our democracy webpages.
The history of the Hamlet Court Road conservation area
Hamlet Court Road is located in Westcliff-on-Sea, a part of Southend-on-Sea which emerged in the late 19th century when the town’s development was booming due to its popularity as a seaside resort. The road developed as a retail hub with residential streets surrounding it.
Before the development of the Hamlet Court Road, the area was relatively rural, situated west of the parish of Milton. Hamlet Court Road, which was known at its northern end as Sallendines Lane, was shown on Chapman and Andres’ Map of 1777. By the mid-Victorian period, the road remain relatively undeveloped, with two large house continuing to be the main focus (Hamlet House and Hamlet Lodge) along with Hamlet Cottage to the north. Westcliff station, to the south of the area, opened in 1895, promoting a more rapid growth. Maps from 1897 showing some development in the northern section of Hamlet Court Road and residential streets to the east. The area rapidly developed over the next 30 years, the northern part of Hamlet Court Road establishing itself as an up-market retail area for Westcliff - it is thought to have been known as the ‘Bond Street’ of Southend.
Hamlet Court Road conservation area’s special interest
The northern part of Hamlet Court Road is significant as the purpose-built retail heart of Westcliff since its creation and the centre of its rapid expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The line of the street has earlier origins, shown on maps of the eighteenth century, and the original dwellings of Hamlet Court and Hamlet Lodge were the source of its current name.
The up-market shopping street was originally highly fashionable, attracting retailers that created large department stores with names still known today - including Havens, which retains an online presence, the former store building at 138-140 Hamlet Court Road being Grade II listed. The retail use has remained for over 100 years and this consistency of use is significant. Though there have been unsympathetic changes over time, the impression of the historic high street remains.
Reflecting its original function as a popular retail location, the buildings at the northern end are noteworthy, three storeys with a high level of architectural detailing creating grander facades that the later converted buildings at the southern end of the road and nearby residential buildings. The junction with London Road was designed as an impressive approach to the sweeping, curved street that originally was planted with trees. Within the Conservation Area, buildings were often designed in groups, with long ranges of individual units having consistent designs on the upper floors, which adds to the group value of the buildings and consistency of character in this part of the street as well as contributing to the sense of grandeur.
Development in the conservation area
All development in the Conservation Area, including alterations such as changing windows and roofing materials, should follow guidance set out in the Conservation Area Appraisal, the Conservation Area’s Do’s and Don’ts Leaflet, and the Design and Townscape Guide (in particular Section 9: Historic Buildings).
It is always advisable to check with the Council if planning permission is needed before undertaking works to the exterior of a property or any works to a listed building in the Conservation Area.
A copy of the full Hamlet Court Road Appraisal document is available on request please email email@example.com