About Us

S.H.I.P is formed of local residents, visitors and enthusiasts with one thing in common: WE LOVE OUR PARK!

We welcome support and assistance from individuals and other groups of all kinds. S.H.I.P will always commit to being a non-political community group.

S.H.I.P stands for Southchurch Hall Inspirational Parkers and our mission is to make the Gardens an attractive and safe place to visit. We are working closely with the local authority to keep the Gardens clean and safe. We litter pick regularly and have already started some small gardening projects, however there is much to be done. In order to bring the Gardens back to their impressive, former glory we plan to tend specific areas of the Gardens. 

Southchurch Hall Gardens is an important part of Southend-on-Sea’s rich history. The Hall itself is a Grade 1 listed building that dates back to the medieval times. It was privately owned and lived in right up until the 1920’s. Following renovation, the Hall and grounds were gifted to people of Southend. The land on which the Hall stands dates back even further when it was handed to the monks of Canterbury in 823 A.D.


In the recent past, the Gardens were locally known as the ‘Duck Park’ due to the vast and varied species of ducks and geese inhabiting the ponds. The Gardens were always beautifully maintained and many of us will remember being in complete awe of the flowing streams and the beautiful and enchanting setting.

There were many sightings of heron, wigeons and swans, however visitors today would struggle to spot a common mallard. Due to litter, pollution and the general neglect of the ponds the population of wildlife has dropped significantly. This year only a few ducklings were successfully bred compared to dozens in previous years.

Thankfully the egret returned again to the park this year and the terrapins can still be seen sunning themselves in the main pond (check out our Gallery).

One significant improvement that the S.H.I.P volunteers have been able to put in to practice is reducing the amount of litter within the park. We meet every second Saturday for 2 hours to collect rubbish from the Gardens, moat and ponds. You won’t believe how much and what we collect.

We are always looking for new ‘SHIPers’ to join our friendly group. So, if you care about Southchurch Hall Gardens and:

  • want to do something for your local community

  • want some exercise

  • want to share your gardening or wildlife know how

  • want to meet new people

  • want to get involved in local life and make a difference

why don’t you pop along and see us at our next meeting?