In what is turning into a series of “good news for Victoria ward” blog posts, I can now confirm that the new home of the Beecroft art gallery in Southend is pretty damn awesome.
When Ash and I moved into our flat, it was a source of annoyance that the library had closed just before our move in date. I rather liked the old Southend Central library, with its multiple levels and wide selection of books. The new Forum which replaced it, more centrally to the town centre, has amply provided for library coverage, but the move left a big, well-placed building going begging in the town centre.
The new Beecroft Gallery opened at the weekend, but it was only on my lunch break today that I actually managed to get down to have a look around. And I was impressed. It’s still a bit on the empty side, but I’m confident that it will fill out given time. There are already a few exhibitions there, one a photography exhibition on football stadia across Europe, and another exhibition of swimwear of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Both are well worth a look, alongside the Beecroft’s own collection of Southend-related artwork.
I spotted a few excellent maritime paintings, which appealed to my own tastes.
The new gallery sits alongside Southend Central Museum — also well worth a visit — on Victoria Avenue, down the road from both the courthouse and the civic centre. This is what I mean when I talk about the potential of this area; with the regeneration of the other side of the road which is now very much on the cards, Victoria really does seem to be taking steps towards fulfilling its potential as a cultural hub.