A TRUST is celebrating the 30th anniversary of a historic museum’s opening.

The Southend Pier Museum Foundation Trust held a celebration for the museum’s milestone.

The museum, located next to the pier, in Western Esplanade, was officially opened by the late councillor John Armitage, the then mayor of Southend, on July 8 of 1989.

Amongst the party guests on October 25 were John Armitage’s widow, Barbara, and the present mayor and mayoress of Southend John and Pat Lamb, accompanied by councillor Derek Jarvis.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Pier Foundation Trust, Tim Watts, said: “The trust owes our founder, Peggy Dowie, and her fellow campaigners a big debt of gratitude; without them we would not have a museum today.

“Peggy in particular has been the heart and soul of the museum, researching and uncovering many of the items now in the trust’s collection, and it is a great shame she has been unable to join us today at this celebration.”

Peggy was first involved as a member of the organising committee for the 1980 Pier Festival.

Five years later, the Friends of Southend Pier Museum was created with the aim of establishing a museum and restoring some of the pier trains and other artefacts.

The former train workshops were renovated over three years and made fit to house the museum.

In 1989, the Friends became the Southend Pier Museum Foundation and the doors opened.

The museum has been welcoming visitors ever since, informing them about the history of the pier, its triumphs and disasters and educating many a school group in Southend’s history.

It is housed in the redundant pier workshops underneath the shore station.

It presents a story of innovation, tribulation and joy; the pier architect’s vision, colourful characters, penny slot machines, the trams and trains that rattled along the famous mile and the story of the World Wars.

Mr Watts added: “I think it’s good for everyone to take a moment to reflect on what has been achieved in the last thirty years, but looking ahead, the only certainty is change.

“We hope to be part of the proposed new pier pavilion but cannot rest on our laurels waiting for that to come.

“We need to invest in the museum today, to build on the legacy we have, and plan for the next 30 years to secure our heritage for future generations.”

Visit southendpiermuseum.co.uk to find out more on the organisation.