At the foot of Grosvenor Road in Westcliff, this is part of the seafront where the high tide covers the beach and comes all the way up to the sea wall. You usually get onto the beach, slipway and steps by a number of concrete structures but here is a much more recent wooden contraption, almost the same thing except it’s for pedestrians only; you couldn’t launch a dinghy from it.
This high tide, at about 2.45am, it was quite windy, and where the slope entered the water the waves were rolling underneath but also being forced up through the gaps between the treads; these are at right angles to the river and the waves comes in at a slight angle, left to right, so you might be able hear a quick, drrrr.
You used to be able to go onto the lower deck of Southend Pier at any time, just before it flooded. When the waves rolled in they’d go under the deck and water would jump up between the gaps; the decking is parallel to the river so the jets would come towards you in sequence, more distinct than Grosvenor Road, the planks and the gap between them are wider, it sounds like a cross between a slap and a whoosh. You have to be there. This isn’t a lost sound of Essex, it still goes on but hasn’t really been heard for more than 40 years.