DOZENS of art lovers turned out to see Southend’s new civic gallery open in the town’s former central library.

The Beecroft Art Gallery opened in the building in Victoria Avenue on Saturday.

Clare Hunt, curatorial manager for the gallery, said: “The possibilities are endless with the exhibition spaces we have now.”

The gallery opened with an exhibition of bathing suits, a collection of paintings of local scenes and photographs of football stadiums, including Roots Hall.

An exhibition of Latin American art and portraits of descendants of people who sat for Van Gogh’s painting The Potato Eaters will open next month.

Southend Council opted to move the Beecroft from a crumbling former hotel in Station Road, Westcliff, to the empty Victoria Avenue building after a suggestion from pressure group Skipp.