Canvey Point Finds

Bear Grylls has battled nature in some of the most challenging environments and now we can say that we have! BTP Liam and I had planned to visit the beach today, near the jetty at Seaview road but, after getting the tides wrong, we had to cancel. But as we are BTP boys, we don’t give up that easily! We decided to go and explore by the sailing club and Canvey Point. We didn’t take any special equipment, only a large and a small shovel.  Walking out there we kept our eye’s open for any fragments of pottery or glass that could be of interest. We found about 5 pieces of interest, which can be seen below. Any information of them will help a lot!

Glass 1. It reads ‘Tel. Leigh 7448’ This gives us an indication to when it was made, but no precise date.

You can see the telephone number in this picture.

Glass 2. This one reads ‘SOUTHE’ probably referring to Southend-on-Sea.

Glass 2 again, but on the other half it reads ‘A LEDIG’ or ‘A LEDIC’.

Glass 3. We’re not sure what this is but it has the letter’s ‘CD’ on it, in a way that it is probably representing an initial.

Glass 4. This red glass was probably a small pot, due to the size at the bottom. It has no markings or words on it.

Glass 4 in the light.

Our last find is some flit. We wouldn’t really think much of it but it has a strange shape. Is it a coincidence or is it really old?

Once we had found these, we found quite an unusual find; a giant thermometer. You’re probably thinking, “wow, big deal a thermometer” but this once is quite unique. When we last went out to the point (we got soaked this time and covered in mud in the last one on the 13/02/12) we saw it lying in the mud face down. We thought nothing of it and left it. This time however, we picked it up and we were quite surprised as we thought that it was just metal. The top of the thermometer reads ‘Stephens Inks’. Below is the research that we found out followed by the images of the thermometer.

Dr Henry Stephens was at medical school with John Keats, but later (in 1832) invented his famous ‘Blue-Black Writing Fluid’, which he developed into writing ink. It was in about 1834 that he began manufacturing what he described as a “carbonaceous black writing fluid, which will accomplish the so long-desired and apparently hopeless task of rendering the manuscript as durable and as indelible as the printed record”. Stephens set up a family firm to manufacture the ink and the family’s fortune was on its way to being made. It was his son, Henry Charles Stephens, who turned it into big business, building a factory in Finchley, north London. He later became an MP and fought several battles over issues local to Finchley where he bought his home, Avenue House, in 1874. It was he who was given the nickname locally of ‘Inky’ Stephens. Stephens’ ink was indelible and the British government made it the mandatory ink for legal documents and ships’ log books, which it is to this day. In its day it revolutionised office life – much time previously had been spent mixing inks and cleaning nibs.

Thermometer 1

Thermometer 2

On our way back the tide came in surprisingly quick so we had to dive and swim at time. It was literally life or death. We had to abandon the sign and leave it there. I returned the next day to retrieve it (and find as we couldn’t recognise the area from when it was covered in water!) Luckily I found it and bought it back. We have plans to clean it up within the next week. We’re still discussing what we’re going to do with the sign, whether to sell it and use the money for BTP, keep it as it is, make a replica out of wood, we could do a lot of things! If you have a comment about this post or want to tell us something, why not let us know in our forum post? If not, why not watch our mini documentary?

You can watch it at

Let this be a word of warning – never venture out to marshland, especially Canvey Point, if the tide is high or cming in in any shape or form.You may dismiss this, but so did we until we ended up having to wade back through water exposed to the sea, going up to our waists at some points.


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