SOUTHEND has a wealth of culture that is illustrated by the worth of its heritage assets being valued at nearly £40million.

The borough is most famous for the pier, which is the longest pleasure pier in the world and much loved assets include the Saxon King artefacts, the statue of Queen Victoria and the Porters building.

In the latest valuation with is dated 2015/2016, the town’s heritage assets were valued at £37,383million.

Heritage assets are broken down into different categories by the council, and consist of historic seaside assets, heritage land and buildings, antiques/collectables, museum collections and memorials and statues.

Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, said: “Our historical assets are vital to the very fabric of Southend-on-Sea and contribute to the sense of local pride, attract tourists and visitors to the town and also provide historical and well used venues for educational purposes and activities for example.

“These assets go a long way towards making Southend the very desirable place that it is to live, work and visit. The council is certainly proud to run them on behalf of the town and its residents.

“Along with the physical buildings and structures, we also have a great collection of art, antiques and collectables on display across our museums and galleries.”

The Council’s Heritage Assets consist of historic seaside assets, heritage land and buildings, antiques and collectables, museum exhibits and memorials and statues.

Mrs Holland added: “We are also very fortunate to have the internationally significant finds that were unearthed from the tomb of the Prittlewell Prince, as well as other nationally important finds such as those from the shipwreck of the London that was recently excavated.

“A new Cliffs Museum will be a game changer for Southend, helping to transform the town into an all-year-round visitor destination and providing a home that is fitting for these finds.”

The historic seaside assets are made up of the pier, the cliff lift and the cliff bandstand. These assets are considered to be part of the fabric of the town as an historic seaside resort.

The heritage land and buildings assets consist of the official mayor’s residence, Porters, and Southchurch Hall, a grade I listed medieval manor house.

These assets are considered to be part of the heritage of the town and are intended to be preserved for future generations because of their cultural, environmental or historical associations.

The antiques and collectables that belong to the council include the millennium clock, which was taken down after it was damaged. The clock is now in storage and there are no immediate plans for it, but the council have said they are happy to consider suitable areas within and outside of council ownership.

Museum collections are a big part of Southend’s assets and because of the “diverse nature of the assets held and the lack of comparable values” valuations have not been completed and are therefore not included in the financial figure of assets.

The Saxon King artefacts form part of the Council’s heritage assets and have been valued by a specialist in archaeology.

Mrs Holland said: “We do not currently have a full valuation of the Saxon Prince material. However, a small partial evaluation on a small number of objects that we loaned to the Diocesan Museum in Paderborn in 2014 was undertaken.

"These are valued at £748,000 and are in storage within the Borough. The remainder reside in Museum of London Archaeology pending the completion of condition reports and research.

“We hope they will be transferred to us in 2017, when it will all be moved to our new storage facility which will provide controlled conditions suitable for the storage of such items.

"Plans for display prior to the building of a new museum are currently under consideration. At the current time we are concentrating on the safe storage and care for the objects initially before any displays or exhibitions are programmed in."

Not all heritage assets have gone over well with the public, with a few being put into storage shortly after being displayed.

A bronze statue depicting a mythological rape had to be moved from being on display outside the courthouse in Victoria Avenue, before being moved to the Civic Square and then to the courtyard of the Palace Theatre, in Westcliff.

Later, it was moved to the Civic Centre when it caused outrage among staff and again moved to Porters, in Southend. The controversial statue of Leda and the Swan was criticised by the public as the "rape" statue.

In 2006 Southend Council were given £390,000 by the Arts Council for an art installation - Lifelines.

The 54-metre-long installation depicted a wave in a clear acrylic box fell victim to vandalism and condensation also became a problem before it was removed and put into storage.