The Storehouse building in Southend is an intriguing place, to me anyway. After spending part of my child hood climbing on its roof I got to know the building well. A few years later at the age of 15 I attended a so called youth centre that opened and closed within perhaps a few months. I remember the grand open evening with the delivery of a wobbly pool table under the gaze of flickering light bulbs that hung loosely by the door, and it wasn’t Christmas. It seemed that someone had made an effort to add light to the place, at last! In my late teens and early twenties I attended a wedding, two birthday parties and a Buff club celebration, and then it closed again. Throughout the years that building has opened and closed more times than I care to remember. The building, I guess, is about 50 years old and looks older. I on the other hand was born a few years earlier in 1960, just a few hundred yards away from this rather shabby old building.
Having been born in the area, I have over the years become familiar with most of the church halls, community projects and landmark buildings in the area. As a local urbanite I am interested in simple, and at times pointless buildings that appear to have limited purpose. Sad hobby maybe, but most would agree nevertheless that local buildings can hold sway if they are within reach of our own culture, and this Storehouse building is part of mine. Many other buildings in the area that were once gripped by my grubby finger prints have been demolished, like the old Greyhound Track and the sweet factory that were both a favourite haunt for any youthful sprout. The building which is now the Storehouse however, of course still stands. Hardly a land mark building, but to me it has a history having climbed over it, walked around it and through it a million times and over the years prior to my urbanite view point taking over I would have, like most people, hardly given the old place a second glance. Nevertheless, my interest has been reignited, particularly over the last few years. The lights have been switched on again and someone is definitely in. The place is busy, and to begin with I was sceptical, because it has never been busy before, not for long anyway. To be sure, all previous attempts to make the building a success have failed dismally. That building had never been a success in any way shape or form so why wouldn’t I think, “here we go again”. Ask the local council for evidence and you will be shown a list dating back decades of half-hearted attempts to add life to the old place. It has always been a white elephant, or mouse perhaps, in the local area. Okay, before starting this blog I found time out to research! “the storehouse”. About ten minutes to be precise. Continue reading