WITH it set to be an incredibly hot weekend in south Essex, we have dipped into the Echo archives to find these eye-catching photos of when Southend’s beaches were jam-packed and social distancing was not a common term.

Easily recognisable by their shaved hair, Dr Martens boots and smart shirts, mass gatherings of skinheads were not a rare occurrence in Southend during the 1970s and ‘80s.

The subculture first emerged among working class youngsters in London, in the ‘60s, as a rejection of the decade’s dominant theme of peace and love.

It experienced a revival in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, which was largely associated with post-punk, ska and soul music.


Travelled from far and wide - skinheads gather on Southend seafront in May 1983

Skinheads regularly travelled in groups and they would pile onto the seafront.

Police were out in force in an attempt to defuse any tension and prevent skirmishes, but they were not always successful.


Defusing any violent situations - there was a major police presence when groups of skinheads descended upon Southend

In August 1982, police arrested a whopping 21 rampaging skinheads in one day.

Meanwhile, in 1980, a skinhead from London was fined £450 for urinating in front of families on the seafront.


Skinheads - the subculture first emerged among working class youngsters in the 1960

He bemoaned the fine in court, saying it was too much and he could not afford to pay.

“Up my way, people bash old ladies over the head and don’t get fined that much,” he said in court.

Astonishingly, Southend Magistrates actually lowered the fine to £350.


Enjoying time at the south Essex coast - a solitary skinhead relaxes on the beach after making the trip to Southend in May 1982

Although there was a heavy police presence on the seafront, these snaps show some of the teenagers who descended upon the south Essex coast were good-humoured and peaceful.



Being patient - hundreds of skinheads wait to enter the Kursaal in March 1970

Along with Southend, other seaside towns such as Brighton, Paignton and the Isle of Wight were a big draw for skinheads in the 1980s.

However, the coronavirus pandemic means the public are being asked to follow social distancing guidelines, so we should not see groups of skinheads this weekend!

Scroll down to see more of our retro skinheads snaps.


Quintet - five skinheads pose for a photo after making the trip to Southend


Making sure no trouble is caused - police dogs were also on hand to halt any violence breaking out


Giving some youngsters a talking to - a policeman speaks to a trio of skinheads


Busy - an abundance of skinheads enjoyed frequenting coastal towns such as Southend during the 1970s and ‘80s


Called to the scene - police stand watch over a group near Southend Pier in May 1979