Queen Victoria was in the 42nd year of her reign, Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister while across the pond Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th president of the United States of America.

Closer to home in Southend, the first lifeboat station in the borough was also set up in this year. It was 1879.

The Southend Standard broadsheet newspaper from this year was packed with stories about local life and politics. But it was also full of adverts, which can give us a fascinating glimpse into what life was like at the time for Southend residents.

Our gallery shows genuine adverts from 1879 editions of the Standard. Among them are public notices, job listings, an advert for a local chemist (where you could also get your teeth pulled) as well as upcoming entertainment events.

The advert (right) was a public notice advising the public that a Southend widow intended to takeover her late husband’s chimney-sweeping business.

Back in Victorian times householders needed to have their chimneys cleaned once or twice a year. An act of parliament was passed in 1875 to ensure all chimney sweeps were licensed and the long established and dangerous practice of using ‘climbing boys’ was finally outlawed.

Another notice advertises upcoming entertainment at the public hall in Alexandra Street.

The hall had been built in 1872 and had become an important local landmark. The footprint of the hall was eventually taken over by the Empire Theatre.