Posts Tagged ‘Canvey’

Newsitepreview2

The BTP boys will be showcasing our exciting pillbox-themed display stall at the Paddocks, Canvey Island, this Saturday (25th) for Armed Forces Day 2016. Come down and see us from roughly 11am to 2pm, alongside many of the other interesting community groups in the area which all have something to share, such as the Bay Museum which specialises in hands-on militaria, or the local community archives which focus on cataloging history online much like ourselves.

There we will be unveiling the first look at our upcoming brand new website which we have been wracking our brains on for the most part of the year so far. It will allow you to explore historic sites for yourself using its centrepiece interactive map, as well as search the multitude of places we have covered by historic era, current and past use. It also has sections dedicated to exciting topics in general history, guides to our equipment and adventuring the outdoors, and a neat way to view all of our videos in one place. Stay tuned, or come and see it this Saturday!


As well as a new website, we have some news regarding the BTP boys themselves and what they will be doing over the future months years. Joe has been offered a year’s staff contract at ITN, working on ITV News London, carrying on as the skilled camera man he has trained to be over the course of his apprenticeship there. Our recent and upcoming videos reflect this quality. As for myself (Liam) I will be commencing an exciting new chapter heading off to the University of Exeter in September. Unsurprisingly, I will be studying history, and I hope that as well as having a very good time in the process I will be able to develop my interest in the past on a professional level looking at a wide variety of topics. Over the past gap year I have been able to put a lot of work into Beyond the Point and the local area; starting last Summer with filling out the current website with lots of unused content, through to adding all the incredible places we have been to our upcoming upgraded site. In the process I have strengthened links with the local community, such as painting murals which you may have seen around Canvey Island, and in the wider archiving community doing work for the Family History Show and the history of my secondary school. There’s my words of advice to take a gap year if you ever need them, but now I am looking forward to starting afresh somewhere new. In someways it will be nice to leave Essex knowing you all have a great new website to explore whilst I focus my time on something different, but it will be shame to temporarily leave behind the beloved River Thames! Hence why I shall still be continuing to write for Beyond the Point whilst away, and you’ll be able to catch me when I return in-person over the Winter, Easter, and Summer as I cling onto the community spirit I am lucky to have grown up with. Of course BTP Joe will still be living in Essex, travelling to London for work, so he will be representing Beyond the Point at the Thames Eastury Festival 2016 where we have been asked to speak, and at other exhibitions and talks including at the Transport Museum later this year and at the Canvey Island Dining Club in 2017. Watch out for updates on these!

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‘Canvey 2000’ was an attempt to rejuvenate Canvey Island’s seafront in 1997, hoping to restore it to reflect some of the glory as a tourist resort, centered around Thorney bay holiday camp and beach, which it had seen from the 1900s up until the 1980s. It saw some success and definitley revitalised the seafront into the more developed place it is today, although it did encoutner difficulties prior to the folding of the charity in 2010 meaning some of the developments have been left to ruin. However, the spirit of Canvey 2000 has picked up again with the excellent Friends of Concord Beach who have focused on making the sea-side of the wall, and the beach, something to be proud of once again.

Vincent Heatherson was a driving force behind the project, amongst many other individuals, and became chairman during the lifespan of the charity, and being a local gardener he was responsible for the manual labour required in installing the gardens in the field behind the Labworth Cafe, and the brick-paving along the seawall. He passed away at a young age in 2012 and his nephew BTP Liam arranged the installation of a plaque in the gardens to commemorate his efforts, with the help of the Town Council. The photographs of the Canvey 2000 project seen below were found in Vince’s collection. Many of the photographs were actually taken by Alison Love but Vince may have taken some himself as well. James Heatherson designed the Canvey 2000 logo used on the t-shirts at the time, still seen on many plaques in the garden.

For two years the iconic Art Deco village inn on Canvey Island has ceased serving pints. Beyond the Point was fortunate enough to be allowed to photograph the interior shortly after closing, and the cellar last year. The building has been unable to reopen as a pub or as an indoor market as planned after it was sold in 2014 due to licencing issues, and difficulties with listing the construction as a historic building has presented itself in-light of plans to build on the site. It is still in use as a makeshift shop only to secure the status of the building whilst its future is formulated. However a new plan has recently been passed – to use the building as a museum to commemorate the North Sea Floods that hit Canvey in 1953. Fittingly enough, the building was used as an Army base when they came to the Island to repair the damaged seawalls and save civilian lives.

The conversion work will commence on April the 1st next year – exactly a year from now, whilst plans and propositions are drawn up. The historic structure is to be incorporated into the refurbished facilities. Below are some of the initial plans to be suggested. We can see a variety of space allocated for 1950s vehicles in the plans; could these be some that survived the flood?

Only time will tell when emerges from these plans but it would be great to see the building not only saved from gradual decay, but truly recognized for its historic importance.

NOTE: This was our April Fool’s Joke 2016 and Beyond the Point is not aware of any such plans.

We all know Easter as a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ. However it is believed its customs originate in ancient paganism that the Saxons worshipped, with eggs symbolizing new life at the dawn of spring. The word Easter derives from the pagan goddess of spring; ‘Eastre’. Of course they also came to originate Jesus re-emerging from his tomb. People have decorated eggs probably since the 13th century, presumably because they were forbidden by the church in the week leading up to Easter, so any eggs laid were saved and decorated often given as gifts to children, or eat them on Easter as a mark of celebration.

By the Victorian era people were making eggs from cardboard, filling them with gifts or sweets, and wrapping them in fabric. Around this time the first chocolate eggs emerged in France and Germany, but they were hard and bitter. In Britain Fry’s chocolate were making solid Easter eggs in 1873. In the 1930s, jelly beans too became associated with Easter for their egg-like shape.

Unlike eggs, the significance of the Easter bunny is shrouded in mystery. Religiously symbolising everything from rebirth and fertility, to innocence and purity due to its white colour in Christian art, it has no clear Christian meaning. Instead the Easter bunny may emerge yet again from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Their spring goddess Eastre signifies fertility and personifies a rising sun. Due to fertility and its relationship with new life, Eastre could change her pet bird into the form of a rabbit to please children, which would bring them brightly coloured eggs as gifts.

So believe it or not, the customs surrounding Easter probably have more in common with paganism – considered almost derogatory in a time when Christianity was so pivotal to society.

Walking past these bungalows you wouldn’t think anything of them – they’re just someone’s average home, but the buildings are far from average, they were actually built to withstand an atomic explosion.

Hiroshima-after-blast_1945

This photo, taken by the United States Air Force, shows how deadly an atomic bomb can be. This community, Hiroshima, was the victim of an atomic bomb on August 5th 1945.

Following the end of the Second World War, in 1946, plans were submitted to build atomic proof bungalows on Canvey Island.

A plan of the houses - find more at CanveyIsland.org

A plan of the houses – find more at CanveyIsland.org

What was planned?

The plans show that they were to be made of 9” brick or 9” Concrete Hollow Blocks and waterproof cement rendering with bitumen felt flat roofs. The houses were either to have a flat roof or a pitched one. The floor on the first floor states 5” ‘Hyrib’ or 9” Hollow Concrete Blocks.

The single bungalow to the west of Miramar Avenue was originally supposed to be a pair and further west, stretching to Maple Way, there were plans for three sets of four three-bedroomed terraced houses with a balcony over the doorway, built on similar lines to the bungalows.

The Atomic bungalows, at the junction of Long Road/Miramar Avenue were originally going to be the start of a large estate of houses and bungalows spreading all the way to Maple Way to the West and North for A. De Angelis Esq but, for an unknown reason, the estate never materialised.

Today

The bungalows that remain today would not be strong enough to cope with a modern day bomb (and most likely one from the 1940s either) although they are a fascinating historic relic. It is possible that they were merely built in a design similar to that of American ‘ranch’ style houses of the time, hence their association with being ‘atomic proof’. We will never know if they would’ve stood up to a 1940s Russian atom bomb or resulting radiation, but it is unlikely.

 

Read, watch, and explore the historic building then and now here: http://beyondthepoint.co.uk/historic-locations/canvey-island/the-red-cowking-canute-pub-1800s-present/

Recently BTP Joe and I were allowed an exclusive glimpse at the hidden cellars of the King Canute pub on Canvey Island. The current owner was keen to let us photograph and explore the building, respecting the history of the building himself. He told us a new sign is in the making which suggests the dormant pub; currently a temporary ‘market’, might see rejuvenation in the future. However the cellar itself was water-logged and very damp – will the mould and structural deterioration bring the unused historic structure down before it sees a new life?

Inside the cellar we could see that much of the walls were painted original brick, probably from when the building was constructed in 1937. A more recent breeze block section had been added at a later date inside what would’ve been a large basement which extends to the span of the building. Various traces of the cellar’s former use were visible, from beer pumps under the bar to fizzy drink labels. It would have been used pretty regularly right up until the pub closed in early 2014, judging by the recent signs and other furnishings scattered around.