EARLIER this month, it was confirmed that Southend’s LuminoCity lights festival has been scrapped for 2024 as the council grapples with a £10.7million budget blackhole.

For a few years, hundreds of thousands of people have come down to the city to see the dazzling, colourful lights that shine brightly across Southend.

Echo: Event - LuminoCityEvent - LuminoCity (Image: Film Free Photography)

However, this is not the first time the south Essex seaside destination has had illuminations.

In the 1930s, the seafront had its own version of the world-famous Blackpool Illuminations, which started in 1879.

Echo: Amazed - Southend illuminationsAmazed - Southend illuminations (Image: Newsquest)

At one point, the Southend lights were judged third best in the world after Coney Island and Atlantic City’s displays in the USA.

For decades, day-trippers would come to the then town to see the spectacular lights that spanned across the golden mile.

Echo: Packed - tourists coming down to see the Southend illuminationsPacked - tourists coming down to see the Southend illuminations (Image: Newsquest)

Some celebrities were even given the role of turning on the seafront lights, including former EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite.

Echo: Smiles - Tamzin Outhwaite turning on the lightsSmiles - Tamzin Outhwaite turning on the lights (Image: Newsquest)

However, in 2007, darkness fell due to no cash being available for them.

As part of the City Beach revamp in 2011, Southend Council did install several illuminating lighting structures, but many traders have said it was the illuminations that brought in many tourists.