Once dubbed the Bond Street of Southend, Hamlet Court Road has changed significantly over the years.

Long gone are the likes of the Queen’s Hotel, which was a hugely popular live music and function venue as recently as the 1980s, and much-loved independent store Havens.

Unique boutiques once lined the Westcliff street, but they have been replaced over time by retail giants such as Sainsbury’s, Boots and Tesco, while there is still a smattering of local businesses which were favourites among residents until the Covid-19 pandemic forced many to temporarily shut their doors.

A large number of outlets will reopen for the first time since the turn of the year today, following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Cheryl Nevin, Labour councillor for the Milton Ward, has many fond memories of the bustling Hamlet Court Road during her childhood.

She said: “I used to live in Anerley Road when I was being brought up, so I have so many fantastic memories of Hamlet Court Road back in the day.

“One of my favourite places to visit was the Queen’s Hotel. It was a popular music venue and I saw a number of bands there, including Dr. Feelgood.

“There were some great independent businesses as well and I enjoyed shopping in Havens.

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“Hamlet Court Road evokes a lot of memories for me and although it is a lot different today when you compare it to when I was growing up, I still enjoy going there.

“Places like the Queen’s Hotel and Havens may have gone, but there are some fantastic shops, pubs and restaurants along the street now.

“I still view Hamlet Court Road as our second high street.”

Ian Gilbert moved to the south Essex coast two decades ago.

Despite not living in Westcliff during what many deem to be the street’s heyday, the leader of Southend Council understands its history.

He said: “I have lived in Southend for 20 years and I have always known how important Hamlet Court Road is to the community.”