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Great Expectations - Chapter 54 - Lobster Smack Inn
I have read several books and articles where the Lobster Smack is portrayed as the Inn in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and I have often wondered how true the tale was, so I decided to investigate. Thankful for the age of the computer, I managed to find an ebook of the great works and did a search to find the right part of the book, which is Chapter 54. I read it with interest but not being a sailor I had no idea whether the description o...
The History of a Marshland Community
Introduction “The estuary of the Thames is not beautiful; it has no noble features, no romantic grandeur of aspect, no smiling geniality; but it is wide open, spacious, inviting, hospitable at the first glance, with a strange air of mysteriousness which lingers about it to this very day.” (Joseph Conrad) Canvey Island lies on the north side of the Thames Estuary about thirty miles from London. The island is four miles long and two miles wide at i...
The Story of Hester's Canvey Island Developments
The Story of one of Canvey’s best known developers, Frederick Hester The Sea Front & Jetty taken from Augustus A. Daly’s ‘A History of Canvey Island’ At the end of the 19th century an entrepreneur had a dream of turning Canvey into an Island holiday resort. Frederick Hester was born in Fulham in 1853, the son of George Hester (reputed to be the last keeper of Putney Bridge) and Catherine (nee Potter) who had six children together. Old Putney brid...
Policing the Island and the Great Storm
It’s said that ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and after seven (‘loud, brash and busy’) years at Basildon, I felt that I was certainly ready for that ‘change’ – indeed just like with Cat’s and Dog’s (with their many years of life equal to each human year), I felt like my seven years at Basildon, actually ‘clocked up’ many more years, in comparison to being stationed somewhere else! The ‘experience exchange’ programme (brainchild of Basildon Divis...
On the evening of January 31st 1953 the three eldest Manser brothers went to the pictures. Ian 14, Christopher 12 and myself, Andrew aged 10 went to the cinema on Canvey Island to watch “Beau Geste”, an adventure film about the French Foreign legion and their actions against the Tuaregs in the north African desert. Gary Cooper, Robert Preston and Ray Milland starred as the three Geste brothers. They showed the close attachment to each other that...
William Read School- 85 years of History
The original school building The school now known as William Read Primary School was built in the year 1924, and opened on October 7th, to the singing of the official school song, ‘Play The Game’. Called ‘Long Road Public Elementary School’, it was brick built, rendered and painted white, in the shape of a square and enclosing an open air quadrangle with a fishpond in the centre. However, it was unfinished, and there were more children than the s...
1 - The History of the Society of the Good Shepherd
The following is an extract from the History of the Society of the Good Shepherd found in their records deposited at Douai Abbey in Berkshire. We recently visited the Abbey knowing the records were there but not knowing what we were going to find. Markhouse Road, Walthamstow The Society of the Good Shepherd was founded in 1909 by Sister Janet Mary (Catherine Jane Lisabel Cheeper) a former member of the Society of S. Margaret, East Grinstead, or r...
The Memories of Clary Swann
Do you remember The Casino, the amusement park on the on seafront at Canvey Island? Everyone that has visited Canvey up until the early 1990’s would remember passing or even visiting The Casino. Its seaside location and abundance of slot machines and fairground rides was a must for every child and even a lot of adults to visit, but how did it start and who ran it and why did it close? There can only be one person to ask – a man who started almost...
Leigh Beck Baptist Church: The beginning
God’s Blessing As we celebrate 100 years of Canvey Island Baptist church, Leigh Beck, this historic milestone is a testament to the faithfulness and sovereignty of God. It is also a tribute to many who have gone before; men and women, who laid a sound foundation for growth in this corner of God’s vineyard. How it all started In 1898, it is said that a gentleman named Ebinezer Howard held the view that all new towns should be built with more pleas...
Leigh Beck Baptist Church: War - Flood - Survival
1939 and the commencement of the Second World War. Canvey was bombed and people were killed. According to Vera Jones, she said they would stand and watch as the VI and V2 Doodlebugs came down on the Island. As so often in times of crisis, love rises to the surface and people are geared into action. Community spirit is fostered or even re-born. And so it was during the time of war on this Island and especially in Leigh Beck Baptist Church. The mem...
Thorney Bay Army Camp
In 1940 a six pounder Coastal Artillery Battery was constructed at Scars Elbow Point on Canvey Island, its purpose being to guard against enemy torpedo boat raids. Twin hand loaded 6 pounder gun turrets were installed that could deliver up to 100 rounds a minute. It never saw action and was dismantled soon after the war and later abandoned in 1956. Aerial photographs taken in 1946 and 1960 show two large gun Casemates 40 yards apart. Rare Photogr...
Leigh Beck Baptist Church: The Vision
Rev. Frank Brown Rev. Frank Brown came to lead the Church in 1960. The reader will remember that there had been a vision of a new church being built. It was during The Rev. Brown’s Ministry that this came to the forefront again. Rev. Brown gave an astounding speech in 1962 viz: ‘Next year, 1963, is the Diamond Jubilee of our Church and your Deacons lovingly and prayerfully bring before you the following suggestions for your brotherly consideratio...
Leigh Beck Baptist Church: Modern Times
1990 – again the church was in interregnum, but not for long! In September 1990 the Church called Chris Newton to become Student Pastor, with the task of preparing the Church for full time ministry at the end of his contracted four years. Chris studied at Spurgeon’s College and preached every other Sunday. His Induction took place on 10th November. Chris quite radically, for Leigh Beck Church, modernised our style of worship. The redevelopment of...
Canvey Island Made History
During the 1950’s it became apparent that there was a need to find new energy sources. The ever-increasing demand from industry and the domestic market, for both gas and electricity, required larger, more efficient plants to be built. Using mainly coal and oil products to produce gas and generate electricity, both of these products were becoming more expensive and supplies less reliable. One commodity which was plentiful, but largely wasted, was...
Canvey Island Memories.
1939 Goodmayes Lodge Audrey with my grandmothers dog Tony I was taken to Canvey for my annual fortnights’ holiday each August from my first year until I was 12 years old. In the war there was only my mother and myself, and as I have no memory of that time, I can’t be sure we went every year, of course. Here is a photo of me in 1939 on the front lawn of Goodmayes Lodge with my grandmothers dog Tony. After the war I accepted without question that ‘...
Kelly's Directory of Essex 1937
CANVEY ISLAND , which is united to South Benfleet by a bridge opened in 1931 at a cost of £20,000 across Hadleigh Ray, and originally part of the parishes of Bowers Gifford, Hadleigh, North Benfleet, Laindon, Pitsea, Prittlewell, South Benfleet, Southchurch and Vange, was formed into a civil and ecclesiastical parish 4 March, 1881, but under the provisions of the Canvey Island (Constitution of Urban District) Order, 1926, the parish was converted...
A shopping basket full of memories of Leigh Beck
As there seems to be quite a lot of interest in this small shopping area (which has been, literally, the centre of our universe from 1947 to the present) my sister Jenny Stacey and myself decided to put our heads together and come up with as close to a definitve history as we can. Chronologically we’ll start in the early 50s (cos that’s as far as our memories can stretch) and add as much previous history as we can. Geographically, we’ll start on...
Memories of Canvey Island
Thameside Crescent I’ve lived on Canvey Island all my life and have many friends here. I was brought up in 2 Thameside Crescent and was one of 12 children. I had a very happy childhood, most of which was spent outside in the street. We played hopscotch and skipping and knock down ginger, hide and seek and of course with our dolls and pushchairs. In the summer we all used to go over the nearest field to the farm and when the farmer wasn’t looking...
Margaret Payne's Memories of Leigh Beck School
As part of my Summer Challenge –“History on our Doorstep” – I decided to write something about my old school Leigh Beck Infants and Juniors. I was lucky enough to interview Margaret Payne, a well known and well liked figure on the Island. She was a pupil at Leigh Beck and later a teacher there. I really enjoyed talking to her. Leigh Beck School photo. Margaret Payne aged 5 Margaret was always tall for her age and had floppy hair which she would t...
The Boys Brigade at Leigh Beck Baptist Church
This is an article written by Doris Flaherty in 2001 to celebrate the 118th anniversary of the Boys Brigade. Great Oaks from little acorns grow This year we celebrate the 118th anniversary of the Boy’s Brigade by William Smith. He was later Knighted. From its small beginning as a Bible Class in a Glasgow suburb, the Boy’s Brigade (BB) spread rapidly throughout the country and through the world, and its membership included men who rose to places o...
Memories of Doris Scullard
On a recent visit to Canvey, Doris Scullard born 1922, my father’s cousin, (Aubrey Stevens whose father, Oliver, started the Stevens Bakery on Canvey) presented me with her autobiography written in 1984. Offered here are excerpts from some of the chapters covering her memories of her visits to Canvey from a very early age. Notes: Doris writes in the third party Her parents she calls by their Christian names Harry and Gwennie. For ‘called Home’ or...
Round about three
This eloquent and subtle record of childhood was written a few years ago by Dudley George. Enjoy! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Once upon a time, when I was very small, there were no winters. Well…not that I recall. There were sparklers on November nights, Christmases with presents and Easters with eggs – but no winters to remember. The mountainous summers of my boyhood were composed of long, lazy, wasp-dodging days, when grasshoppers re...
The Canvey Island Urban District Council
We have recently been loaned a copy of the ‘Urban District of Canvey Island 1926-1974 Official Guide’. This was produced in 1974 after the amalgamation of the Council with the Councils on the mainland. This is just part of the information contained in the guide, a potted history of the Council from 1926-1974. Other interesting pages will be added soon. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Urban District of Canvey Island Official Commemorative Guide The...
Publicity photos for Linda in the ‘sixties It may not have been the only pivotal moment in Linda Kendrick’s singing career but the abolition of the Lord Chamberlain’s power of theatre censorship in September 1968 certainly created an enormous opportunity for the young up and coming singer. For that change in the law enabled the Shaftesbury Theatre in London to throw open its doors the very next day and stage the American rock musical, Hair. The m...
Canvey Island Rotary