TRADITIONALLY Southend would have spent this week gearing up for its ever-popular carnival.

With the event once again missing from the calendar, the Echo has delved into the archives to bring you the best pictures from the carnival’s heyday.

Echo: Busy - Southend Carnival in 2017Busy - Southend Carnival in 2017 (Image: Newsquest)

Southend Carnival was last held in 2019, with the pandemic the reason behind the cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

Then in 2022, the carnival again did not go ahead, with organisers blaming the decision on costs.

Echo: Parade - The Mushroom Theatre companyParade - The Mushroom Theatre company (Image: Newsquest)

But at the time, the events team were unable to disclose cost information to the Echo when asked.

Organisers of the Southend Carnival are also behind the popular Halloween Parade in Southend which will be returning this year.

The Southend Carnival has a lot of history since it first entertained crowds in 1906.

Echo: Excitement - The crowds clap for the carnival queen in the 1960sExcitement - The crowds clap for the carnival queen in the 1960s (Image: Ann Rugg)

In 1927, the town’s carnival offering was so spectacular it was hailed as “the finest carnival in England”. The parade was so big that floats stretched back for a reported four miles.

The first carnival queen wasn’t crowned until 1928, and the first recipient to wear the sash was Ena Bone who took her throne in a ceremony at the Floral Hall on Western Esplanade.

Echo: Memories - Carnival participantMemories - Carnival participant (Image: Ann Rugg)

In the 1970s, weather issues disrupted a number of carnivals. In 1971, freakishly high winds kept the expected number of crowds away from the annual summer event.

However, a staggering 300,000 people still turned out to watch the parade which stretched for two-and-a-half miles.

In 1972, the heavens opened at the Southend Carnival at the moment the 92-strong float procession began to move.

Echo: Return - Southend Carnival in 2021Return - Southend Carnival in 2021 (Image: Newsquest)

The popularity for the Carnival continued into the 21st century, with more than 20,000 people attending in 2018.