The Constituency

The constituency incorporates the town of Rochford, the eastern wards of Southend-On-Sea, the villages of Great Wakering, Little Wakering, Barling and Foulness.

The Constituency

The constituency covers an area of 9325 hectares and has 72454 registered voters. The Parliamentary constituency covers, as the name implies, areas covered by Conservative-controlled Southend Borough Council and areas covered by Rochford District Council of which combined there are eleven wards. On 5th May 2005 James Duddridge was elected with a majority of 45.3% of the vote, following the retirement of Sir Teddy Taylor who had represented R&SE for 25 years. 

Rochford is essentially a market town steeped in history. Evidence of a Roman settlement has been found and the English Edmund Ironside fought the Danish Canute for the English throne in 1016 at a site between Ashingdon and Canewdon. It was the Boleyns however, who really put Rochford on the map. Anne Boleyn spent some of her formative years at Rochford Hall. Nearby, in the tower of Rochford Church, smugglers hid their illicit brandy and 'baccy'. This history has contributed to the atmosphere of the town and Rochford has long been considered one of the prettiest and most interesting towns in Essex.

Southend-On-Sea meanders for seven miles along the north coast of the Thames Estuary, punctuated only by the town's famous landmark, the nineteenth century Pleasure Pier. Like Rochford, the town has a rich historical past. The town began life as part of the Prittlewell settlement, which can be traced back to Saxon and Roman times. The remains of a Saxon Prince Burial were found and it is hoped these artefacts will eventually be exhibited in a museum in the town. For many centuries, the settlement existed as a fishing community. Southchurch Hall and Porters Grange, two manor houses, date form the middle ages and are steeped in local history. It was in the late eighteenth century, however, that the visitors began to arrive. Princess Charlotte and Queen Caroline set a trend in early nineteenth century for taking the waters, but it was the arrival of the railway that set Southend on the map as a tourist resort.
 
Population numbers quadrupled between 1900-1920 to 106,000 and since then the amenities have multiplied to make the town a thriving and busy place to live. There are five award winning parks and gardens including the clifftop gardens that stretch for nearly two miles along the seafront. Sporting activities are numerous, including tennis, golf and a variety of water sports. There are plans for the development of an Olympic Swimming Pool at Garons Leisure Centre. The estuary is excellent for windsurfing and jet skiing and there is a wide range of sailing courses run by the Southend Marine Activities Centre. The home of Southend United FC can be found at Roots Hall but is to move to Fossetts Stadium planes still to be approved. Musical entertainment and two theatres cater for all tastes. There are many nightspots and clubs with stage entertainment suitable for all ages.
 
The European Union has recently funded a number of developments to improve the appearance of the town, including the regeneration of the Pier and the High Street. Southend-On-Sea is an exciting place in which to live and work, and will benefit from the growth, development and regeneration of the Thames Gateway, South Essex over the next two decades.