Canvey's Modern Facilities - 1949

Canvey Island Guide and Chronicle

Railway. The railway station serving Canvey is Benfleet (British Railways, Eastern Region). The service to and from London is frequent, particularly during the peak hours, the distance of 29 miles being covered by most trains within the hour.

Omnibuses. The Canvey and District Motor Co., Ltd., equipped with 60-seater saloon buses of modern design operates a service from 5.15 a.m. until 11 p.m. Throughout the winter a 20-minute service is main­tained, augmented during peak hours, while during the summer season buses leave Ferry Road every three minutes at the busy times. The journey from Ferry Road to Leigh Beck takes 18 minutes.

Coach Excursions. The Canvey and District Motor Co., Ltd., has instituted a service of coach excursions to Ascot, Epsom, Newmarket, Brightlingsea and Felixstowe. All of the important summer race-meetings will be covered, while trips to the two famous Essex resorts will be a regular feature. Coaches will start from the Esplanade, and times of departure will be advertised.

Essential Services

Water. An adequate supply of proved purity is available to a large and steadily increasing area.

Gas. Gas is supplied via the Canvey re-compression plant to the larger part of the residential areas, and efforts are being made to cope with the ever-increasing demand.

Electricity. Available for both light and power, the current is 230 v. A.C. for lighting and 400 v. A.C. for power. Here again the present economic difficulties are making it hard for the suppliers to cope fully with the rising demand, but effective counter measures are rapidly overcoming difficulties.

Drainage. The installation of main sewers by the local authorities is proceeding on planned lines which envisage the ultimate inclusion of the entire residential area.

Refuse Collection. The house-to-house collection of domestic refuse was started in 1948 and is functioning very satisfactorily in the limited area, within which it is possible economically to carry it out. As more roads are laid down the service will be extended until it is available to all.

Rates. The general rate compares favourably with that of the average urban district. A small fluctuating rate known as the sea-wall rate and averaging 1s. 6d. in the £ on full year Schedule A assessment, is payable on both occupied or empty property, since it is levied solely to ensure the continued existence of all Island property.

Education. Primary Schools are situated one at Leigh Beck and one in Long Road, the scholars from which graduate to the Secondary School in Long Road. A highly competent teaching staff invariably secures for Canvey scholars their full quota of scholarships to high schools and colleges.

Private education is catered for by small but efficient private schools of long standing.

Recreations and Amusements

Visitors and residents alike are offered a wide range of activities, providing interest or amusement for all ages. It will be noted that almost every activity has its representative body, and it is by the support of these that facilities for one’s pet hobby can be improved.

Bathing. A long, almost flat beach of naturally powdered shell provides a generous area for safe and pleasant bathing, the extremely gentle slope rendering accident almost impossible.

The sea-wall makes a splendid natural wind-break for the idler and sunbather and gives a perfect point of vantage for watching the ever-changing river scene with its ceaseless procession of shipping of all kinds.

Fishing. Flatfish of various kinds are plentiful in the creeks, while from the sea-wall and groynes varied catches of considerable size have been made, including salmon-trout of more than average weight. Some rather unusual fish have fallen to anglers casting from the shore, among them an angler fish of some 80-90 lb. and a monster conger eel scaling over 56 lb.

For the more adventurous, excellent fishing grounds yielding- whiting, cod, pollck, flat-fish, etc., lie within 30 minutes sail and, given reasonable fishing weather, catches usually repay with interest the time and money spent.

Yachting. At the mouth of Small Gains Creek is the headquarters of the Canvey Island Yacht Club, an enthusiastic and enterprising body officered by yachts­men of very considerable experience and competing annually for many and varied trophies. Races for all types of craft are sailed throughout the season and the activities of the C.l.Y.C. add considerably to the enjoy­ment of visitors to the Island.

The creeks are a canoeists and oarsman’s paradise, and to glide along these little-frequented waters on an evening tide is an experience which will stay in the memory for many a year. Many rare birds are seen in and around the creeks and seals are quite frequent visitors unconcernedly basking on the mudflats or silently making their way through the placid waters.

Gardening. Canvey is an island of gardens and gardeners. Its heavy clay soil demands serious efforts on the part of the gardener particularly in its initial preparation, but it amply repays the worker by the high standard of produce resulting.

A flourishing Horticultural Society, sponsored by the “Canvey Chronicle,” works for the interests of its large and increasing membership, offering amenities denied to the individual. Seven shows are being arranged this year to cater for their competitive instincts, in addition to lectures, demonstrations and discussion group meetings.

Cricket and Football. With the purchase of the “Paddocks” an adequate opportunity is now open to the cricketer and footballer, hitherto confined to make­shift grounds of a rather low standard. The Canvey Island Sports Club is mainly concerned with the foster­ing of cricket, while the Canvey Island Football Club confines its activities to our national winter sport.

Boxing. With the New Year came the inception of the Canvey Island Kynoch’s Boxing Club. A first-rate band of enthusiastic instructors is engaged in instilling the rudiments into an equally enthusiastic band of youngsters. Those with a higher standard of proficiency find no shortage of opponents of equal calibre and rapidly improve under expert tuition.

Sponsored by the “Canvey Chronicle,” the Club will be staging competitions and exhibitions throughout the year and adding its quota to the drive for a brighter Canvey.

Tennis. There are as yet no public courts on the Island, but an active tennis club offers full facilities to the enthusiast. Privately owned courts are available for hire, and there is no reason for the tennis fan to be deprived of his favourite sport.

Cycling. Membership of the Canvey Island Cycling Club entitles the cyclist to the enjoyment of fine training facilities and the use of modern equipment; regular runs take place throughout the year, and an ambitious pro­gramme is already planned for the coming season.

Badminton. A sport providing the maximum outlet for surplus energy with the minimum expense. This has become a vastly different affair from the “battle­dore and shuttlecock” of days gone by. The control­ling body on the Island is the Canvey Island Badminton Club who offer all-weather facilities to enthusiasts.

Darts. Every hotel and social club on the Island provides opportunity for the dart-player, and almost all have their representative teams. Most of these compete under the rules of the Canvey Island Darts League for a splendid range of cups and shields (among them the “Canvey Chronicle” Shield for Pairs).

The competitions are run on strict championship lines and have become affairs of considerable importance attracting large audiences.

Dancing. There is no dearth of opportunities for this ever-popular amusement. Splendid floors and competent bands abound, special subscription dances are frequent, and a glance at the current issue of the “Canvey Chronicle” will ensure a date for almost any evening.

Music. For the instrumentalist the Canvey Island Subscription Band has a warm welcome and facilities for practice; singers will find the Canvey Island Choral Society more than glad to see and hear them. Both bodies are keen and well officered but still in need of more active support from the music-lovers of the Island.

The Theatre. There must be amongst us more than a few courageous spirits who feel the urge to appear on the stage side of the footlights. To these, that talented band of amateur actors ” The Pompadour Players ” gives both opportunity and competent assistance.

Canvey has benefited considerably from their perform­ances, and the coffers of the Island’s charities would have been far lighter had it not been for the efforts of “The Pompadours.” They invite all those interested to lend a hand in all branches of the “profession,” act­ing, producing, managing and “props” making are all undertaken by the company and more help will be appreciated.

Other Activities. If it be possible that the reader’s requirements have not been met by any of the fore­going, the opportunities for social service on the Island are almost unlimited, and he or she is certain to find his sympathies enlisted by one or other of the activities listed in the “Social Almanack” under the heading of “Social Service and Welfare.”

A lone “voice crying in the wilderness” attracts little interest in these days, if indeed it ever finds a hearing at all; but when that voice is reinforced by many others and becomes a full-throated roar, the powers that be are forced to afford recognition to what has become the voice of the people. Much has been done for Canvey in this way by the co-ordinated efforts of the interested, but much more remains to be done. Our social organisa­tions point and lead the way to progress; if you support them with your membership you will add interest to your own lives and help to secure for yourselves and others the conditions which are your right and heritage.

Canvey is favourably situated for the numerous day excursions that are available during the summer months from neighbouring Southend-on-Sea.

A few minutes ride by rail or bus from the Island connects the visitor with a service of fine steamers to a dozen seaside resorts in the Thames Estuary, and the attraction of a holiday at Canvey is enhanced by these opportunities.

The day may come when Canvey can boast a deep-water pier of its own, when handsome motor passenger ships such as may be seen passing along the Island’s southern beaches may be able to call and provide direct sea communication to and from other coastal resorts.

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