Posts Tagged ‘Introduction’

‘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.


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.

Less than two months into 2016, it’s already looking like a big and busy year for Beyond the Point! We have many exciting things to show off in the coming months, ranging from our Secrets of Severalls documentary, to a completely new fresh look for Beyond the Point as we revamp our website.

So the first news update is that Beyond the Point getting a complete revamp. We’re a non-profit history organisation although we don’t want to be stuck in the past and as we approach 5 years since Beyond the Point was founded we’ve decided that this is an ideal time to modernise the site. We’re in the process of designing a brand new website, one that is much more user-friendly and easier to navigate. A large amount of the content is being tweaked, including some of older content which isn’t quite up to our current standards and many more locations will also be added to our website. This is a really exciting time for BTP and our biggest change to date. Our new and improved website will be going live later on in the year.

Secrets of Sevs UpdateAlso to be released later this year is our Secrets of Severalls documentary and news of its production is certainly getting out there, not just from a few likes on Facebook but from a television broadcast advertising the making of our documentary to a 6-page spread in the Digital FilmMaker Magazine (no pressure then!) Ever since we had the green light from the NHS in September last year, we knew that this was going to be quite a big project for us, one that would be quite a step up from our normal calibre. Since announcing that production has started, we’ve had tens of thousands of views online, hundreds of messages and a massive interest from a many people.

Earlier this week we headed back up to the Severalls site to be interviewed by ITV News Anglia for a report that they were doing on the future of the site. This was transmitted on Monday evening and got the word out that we were the last people to film there. If you have any memories of photos of Severalls Hospital then please contact us. You can see the ITV News report below.

All rights to the VT are owned by ITV News.

The Digital FilmMaker Magazine also snapped up this story. The Digital FilmMaker is a national magazine exploring the behind the scenes and the making of short films and features various articles on the latest filming equipment and projects. We are delighted to have a 6 page spread, offering an in-depth look at the planning and organising of this documentary so far. You can see a sneak preview below and can purchase a copy of the magazine in shops such as WHSmith.

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Hello Beyond The Point readers! Liam and I are excited to announce the launch of a new scheme called ‘Your BTP’. We recently released ‘iBTP‘ which allows you to follow in our footsteps and re-create the BTP visit yourself, by using our iBTP map and guide. ‘Your BTP’ connects you with Beyond The Point even more, although in a slightly different way.

Over the past three and a half years of running Beyond the Point, we have met so many people, all of which have an incredible passion for their local history – they might have been part of history themselves, or just hold a strong interest in it. We’ve been thinking for a while about how we can get people even more integrated with Beyond the Point, and Your BTP is the way forward. The scheme works by people writing their own memories and tales (or sending us some old photographs/video clips) on the area’s that we cover; perhaps you’ve grown up here, have some old family photos of the area or even worked at the one of the places that we’ve featured like the Fisons Factory for example. Then, you can send in your memories to us so that we can publish them on our website. A new tab will be created at the top of the website where we will publish the articles, allowing all of our website visitors to view and comment on them.

Beyond the Point is a unique community archive, in that our community is South-East Essex and is expanding further afield. We’ve covered so many sites across Essex and ‘beyond the point’ at Kent ;), including Runwell Hospital, Rainham Marshes, The Imperial War Museum, The Gherkin, Wartime Southend and many more. The amount of people that have passed through these places with their own unique story of the place is incredible, and we would like that archive those memories for the future. So whether you’re from Canvey, London, Tilbury or somewhere else – why not send us in your memories?

If you would like to write an article for our website or send us in any old photos or video clips, then please send them via the Contact Page, or email them to us at

Beyond the Landmark – V.I.P. Big Ben Tour

Posted: November 16, 2014 by BTP Joe in Event Review
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Big Ben (formally known at the Elizabeth Tower) is one of the worlds most iconic buildings, rating it as the 13th most iconic landmark in the world. Despite being one of the world’s most famous sights, overseas visitors aren’t allowed up due to security reasons as only UK residents can visit by booking the tour via your MP, months in advance. Liam and I headed into London for our tour of the tower and stopped off at the Tower of London first to see the poppies there. Wow. This was an amazing sight to see and is worth a visit. There are 888,246 poppies, one to remember each soldier who has lost their life in World War 1.
Moving on, we went to Portcullis House where we had to meet for our tour. We were joined by about 10 others and headed towards the tower via a tunnel under the road at about 2pm. The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. In 2012 it was renamed as Elizabeth Tower, from ‘Clock Tower’ to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee however it’s known by everyone as Big Ben, which is in fact a reference to the biggest bell at the top of the tower.

On October 16th 1834, the old Houses of Parliament were largely destroyed by a massive accidental fire. A new Parliament building was needed and was built in a neo-gothic style. Charles Barry  was the chief architect of the Palace, however he turned to Augustus Pugin for the design of the clock tower, which resembles earlier Pugin designs, including one for Scarisbrick Hall. The design for the tower was Pugin’s last design before his death, and Pugin himself apparently wrote, at the time of Barry’s last visit to him to collect the drawings: “I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower & it is beautiful.” The tower is 315 feet (96.0 m) high and we climbed up the 334 steps to the top of the building stopping at 3 stops along the way.

Some unlucky people had this job! The clockface is cleaned every 5-7 years and costs "less than you might think"

Some unlucky people had this job! The clockface is cleaned every 5-7 years and costs “less than you might think”

The clock’s is famous for its reliability, always being within a second of the time, although when the tower was first commissioned, this was a problem. Clockmakers were very reluctant to agree to making the clock that precise, saying that they could get it to within a minute to the time although not a second, due to the hands being exposed to wind, rain, ice and snow however it was eventually settled with a new design being made which would ensure that it was within a second of the time. The designers were Edmund Beckett Denison, a company which still exist today. Construction was entrusted to clockmaker Edward John Dent however his stepson completed the work after his death in 1853. The pendulum is installed within an enclosed windproof box beneath the clockroom. It is 4 metres long, weighs 300 kg (600 pounds) and beats every 2 seconds. On top of the pendulum is a small stack of old penny coins; these are to adjust the time of the clock. Adding or removing a penny will change the clock’s speed by 0.4 seconds per day.

The main bell is known as the Great Bell or Big Ben and is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. It’s not known who exactly is ‘Ben’ although it’s most likely an MP or Boxer at the time however nothing officially says this. The original bell was a 16 tonne hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees and was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested as a hammer was made too big and hence a replacement had to be made. This original bell was knocked down and melted into metal for the new bell.

The bell was recast on 10 April 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13½ tonne bell. This was pulled 200 ft (61.0 m) up to the Clock Tower’s belfry by several strong men lasting 18 hours. The bell is 2.29 m tall and 2.74 m in diameter. This new bell first chimed in July 1859 although in September it too cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service due to a hammer being used that was more than twice the maximum weight specified. For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was reinstalled. To make the repair, a square piece of metal was chipped out from the rim around the crack which can be seen today.

Moving to the present, the clock has become a symbol of the UK, particularly in TV shows or Films, with Big Ben being another name for London in addition to a red bus or black taxi passing the tower. The sound of the clock chiming has also been used this way. Big Ben is a focus of New Year celebrations with the BBC filming from London live at new year to show the spectacular firework display and in 2012, the clock tower itself was lit with fireworks that exploded at every toll of Big Ben. Similarly, on Remembrance Day, the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and the start of two minutes’ silence and if you live within a 5 mile radius of Elizabeth Tower – you’ll hear it! On 27 July 2012, Big Ben chimed 30 times, to mark the start of the Olympic games. And a final fact for you – the gold decorations at the top of the clock are real. It is genuine 23 carat gold as as fake gold would wear off more easily, so this is actually a cheaper alternative.


Radio Caroline, one of the most famous radio stations in the UK was launched 50 years ago today, just off of the Essex coast. Founded in 1964 by Ronan O’Rahilly, it is considered the first proper kick-start of popular music broadcast however Radio Caroline was unlicensed by any government for most of its early life which became formally illegal in 1967.


The Radio Caroline name was used to broadcast from five different ships owned by three different owners from 1964 to 1990, and by satellite for over a decade up to 2013. Radio Caroline currently broadcasts 24 hours a day via the Internet and by occasional Restricted Service Licence.  Ronan O’Rahilly was an Irish musician manager and businessman. Encouraged by the presence of the Scandinavian and Dutch pirates, Ronan O’Rahilly raised the capital to purchase a suitable vessel and in February 1964, he obtained a former 702-ton Danish passenger ferry, Fredericia, which was converted into a radio ship at the Irish port of Greenore, which was owned by O’Rahilly’s father. Financial backing for the venture came from six investors, including John Sheffield, chairman of Norcross, Carl “Jimmy” Ross owner of Ross Foods and Jocelyn Stevens of Queen magazine, with which Radio Caroline shared its first office with. O’Rahilly named the station after the daughter of US President John Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy. On a fund-raising trip to the US, O’Rahilly reportedly saw a photograph of Kennedy and his children which inspired the name “Caroline Radio”. In the photo, Caroline Kennedy and her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., are apparently dancing in the oval office as their father looks on, an activity which O’Rahilly reportedly interpreted as a playful disruption of government

With the decision made, The Fredericia was renamed MV Caroline and was anchored off the cost of Felixstowe, where it began test transmissions on Friday, 27 March 1964, 50 years ago today. radiocaroline460The following day it began recording regular programming at midday with the official opening being conducted by Simon Dee. The first programme was pre-recorded and was hosted by Chris Moore. The first theme of the show was ‘Round Midnight’ by Jimmy McGridd which was a jazzy tune. Band The Fortunes, recorded a song in March 1964 called ‘Caroline’ which later became the main theme song. The theme can be listened to on YouTube here. The slogan of the station was “Your all-day music station” with tunes being broadcast from 6am-6pm, 7 days a week, to avoid competition from Radio Luxembourg. The station did however return at 8pm ad continued until after midnight to avoid direct competition with popular TV programmes. The target audience of Radio Caroline was housewives however they later targeted children and without serious compeition, they quickly gained a daytime audience of over 3 million listeners.

Only July 2nd 1964 the station was merged with Radio Atlanta, which closed that day at 8pm. The new station was called ‘Radio Caroline South’ and whilst MV Mi Amigo remained off Frinton-on-Sea, MV Caroline would broadcast as ‘Radio Caroline North’.  BBC Radio 2 newsreader Colin Berry and Classic FM’s Nick Bailey started their careers reading the news on Radio Caroline South.MV Caroline sailed from Felixstowe around the coast of Great Britain to the Isle of Man, broadcasting as she went with the only broadcast staff on board being Tom Lodge and Jerry Leighton.  The two stations were thus able to cover most of the British Isles and some programmes were pre-recorded on land and broadcast simultaneously from both ships.

In October 1965, O’Rahilly bought Crawford’s interest in the MV Mi Amigo and engaged Tom Lodge from Radio Caroline North to make programming changes and regain the audience from Radio London. Tom Lodge hired a new group of DJ’s and introduced a free-form style of programming which, by August 1966, had succeeded, creating an audience numbering 23 million.

Radio_Caroline1In 1967, the UK Government introduced the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act 1967, which outlawed advertising on or supplying an unlicensed offshore radio station from the UK. In an earlier House of Commons debate (in June 1966), the government had claimed that the pirate ships were a danger because of radio frequency interference to emergency shipping channels, and to overseas radio stations and the pirates were paying no royalties to artists, composers or record companies. Furthermore it was stated that the pirates’ use of wavelengths also broke international agreements. The Manx parliament (Isle of Man) attempted to exclude the North Ship from the legislation, appealing to the European Court on the legality of the act being applied to the Isle of Man. Two of the stations, Radio 270 and Radio London (out of 4 offshore stations) were closed, but the two Caroline ships continued with their supply operation moved to the Netherlands, which did not outlaw unlicensed ship based broadcasting until 1974.

When the act become law on 14 August 1967, Radio Caroline was renamed Radio Caroline International. Six weeks later, the BBC introduced its new national pop station Radio 1, modelled largely on the successful offshore station, Radio London, and employed many of the ex-pirate DJs. The BBC Light, Third, and Home programmes became Radios 2, 3 and 4.On 3 March 1968, the radio ships, Mi Amigo and Caroline, were boarded and seized before the day’s broadcasting began. They were towed to Amsterdam by a salvage company to secure unpaid bills for servicing by the Dutch tender company, Wijsmuller Co.

So there you are, a brief oversight of the ‘Boat That Rocked’. In 2009 a film was released about it called Pirate Radio starring Nick Frost (you can see the poster and UK trailer in this post). If you remember listening to the radio station then drop us a comment below!