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The future of the iconic Kursaal building could be a huge boost for Southend.

For those of us lucky enough to live and work in Leigh-on-Sea and the surrounding areas, we know that there is no shortage of small businesses, charities and individuals ready to provide inspiration, and to offer a creative outlet to those who have a passion for arts and crafts. 

At Create98 we never get bored of hearing our students talk about the thrill of learning something new, of creating something they never thought possible, or of finding like-minded people who enjoy a craft just as much as them.

We think that everyone deserves the opportunity to invest in their creative journey, whether that’s learning an entirely new skill and working hard to perfect it or making use of a free hour here and there to relax and take a break from the day to day. 

So, you can imagine our excitement at hearing there were big plans underway to transform a local landmark into an arts and community space.

The Kursaal

A little bit of history

When it opened in 1901 as a purpose-built amusement park, the Kursaal – situated on Southend seafront – became the largest fairground in the South of England. Over the years it became home to many things, including Southend United Football Club, and in the 70’s was a prominent rock music venue hosting acts such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Queen! However, since the bowling alley and casino, which most recently resided in the building, closed in 2020, the grand landmark has been sitting empty.

But now, thanks to Southend’s new arts co-operative Concrete Culture, there’s a real possibility that the venue could once again be home to something great. 

What Next?

Concrete Culture have their sights firmly set on transforming the building into an arts and community space, believing that this is just what the local area needs – and we definitely agree. 

Knowing that the local people are some of those best placed to shape the future of the venue, the team at Concrete Culture offered everyone the chance to have their say. Whether they had a fond memory of the venue and want to relive it, an idea for the types of events they would like to attend there or if they have a business that could inject some life into the building and benefit from the space – everyone was welcome to submit their ideas and be part of the consultation. And the Phase One results have just recently been published!

For our business, this represents a possible opportunity for us explore offering more of the classes you love in a new venue, and expanding the creative reach of our local community!

To follow Concrete Culture and see the latest developments visit their website.

What People Say…

“We all wanted to say a huge thank you for the really super sessions over the half term. The children thoroughly enjoyed them all - the pottery, illusion art and graffiti art. The classes made a real difference to our week so thank you to all the teachers, Christine and all of you!”

Anne-Marie -

“The tutorial was total escapism for a little while, first time in ages I've just switched off from everything else!”

Katie -

“We absolutely adore your Create98 studio workshops so thank you for bringing it to our community during lockdown!”

Linda Higgins -

“Highly recommended by me! I loved the 'Contemporary Hand-Stitched Quilt Making' course so much I'm doing it again!”

Hannah Arrowsmith -

“Thank you so much for making such a great cheeky vase kit, I can't wait to see the final results. Will deffo be looking into more :)”

Marney Dobson -

“Really enjoyed the online 'Instagram Photography' workshop. I learnt so much about the camera functions of my phone that I was unaware of!”

Deborah Weston -

“The beautiful kit from Create98 includes all the essential items for the PERFECT candles. They lift everyone's mood and the kit really makes you feel like you're creating something magical.”

Fran Hounsom -

Thanks to the Virtual Write Club and Create98 I’ve got plenty of momentum now!!

Adrian Lacey -

“If you haven't been to a Leigh-on-Sea Supper Club event at Create98 - go! The food was delicious, and even though they've had to make some adjustments due to Covid-19, the atmosphere was lovely and what better way to sample a different culture on your doorstep.”

Natasha Kwakwa -

“Susan is a talented Artist and Teacher. I wish I'd had her teaching me years ago!”

Lou -