London Press On Canvey

Pleasant Rising Holiday Resort

Canvey Island is within 30 miles of London — 40 minutes’ run from Fenchurch Street—and in spite of the fact that it is most beautifully situated at the mouth of the Thames and is practically surrounded with water and commands fine views of the hills of Essex and Kent, it is as yet little known to Londoners. During the past few years, however, strenuous efforts have been made to acquaint the outside world of the attractions and healthy nature of the diminutive island, which is seven miles in length, four in breath, and twenty-five in circumference.

Canvey Island is, however, destined to become in the near future one of the most popular, select, and thriving health and pleasure resorts on the Essex coast. At present it is full of interest to those who desire a quiet, restful holiday within easy distance of town. The numerous bun­galows which have been erected all over the island at first strike the visitor as a series of Noah’s Arks or dolls’ houses. Some are artistic enough to please the most trained eye, while others are anything but attractive in appearance. Some are built of wood, some of brick, some of lime, but all are roofed with corrugated iron.

The craze for bungalows here was started so lately as 1901, when Mr. F. Hester, who is one of the largest holders of land in the district, and who has devised much to popularise and “open up” the Island, arrived on the scene with a few of these comfortable little summer residences, and pitched them on plots of ground. These he rapidly sold to City merchants as they stood on their own freehold. He frequently holds sales.

Necessary Outlay

Most of the land is owned by two worthy farmers, the only form of industry visible in the Island, named Clark and Cole, and, of course, Mr. Hester. Most of it is laid out in plots ready for the thousands of people it is hoped will in­vade the Island, buy sites and erect bungalows. A plot is 15 ft. by 60 ft., and the prices range from £5 upwards. Most of the owners of bungalows purchase at least four plots. The prices have increased considerably of late, in fact it is said that plots that used to sell for £5 are now fetching £15, so it would appear to become a land-owner at Canvey is a profitable as well as enjoyable business. For the informa­tion of readers who are contemplating taking this step we will add that the three-roomed bungalows can be built from £60 upwards. It may be taken as a general rule that wooden structures cost £20 a room, and brick ones £30. At South Canvey there are at present about 70 bungalows. This is undoubtedly the most interesting and attractive point of the Island. The bungalows are built right on the edge of the beach, within sight of the lighthouse and the structure which at present does duty for a pier. It was erected three years ago for the purpose of unloading barges, which still bring the rails, sleepers and road materials necessary for the con­struction of the tramway lines from the sea front to the Winter Gardens. The track is now com­pleted, and as the electric power is not yet to hand, it is proposed to commence almost at once using a traction engine. The pretty little cars have arrived, and the natives are all agog and full of hope that this easy means of transit from Benfleet will work wonders in the way of ” opening up ” the Island.

On The Beach

The view from this part of the place is truly panoramic; the beach is covered with shells, and the children can disport themselves to their hearts’ content without fear of danger, and bath­ing is splendid. Many ladies walk out of their bungalows robed simply in bathing costumes and a long coat, have their “dip” and run home. Ships of all classes, powerful gunboats, little torpedoes, handsome and palatial liners, passen­ger boats and sailing craft are ever passing, and one never tires of sitting on the banks of the strong wall which surrounds the Island and view­ing the seascape while inhaling the health-giving and pure native air.

It is stated that a Major A. D. Gillespie Addison has taken over the Winter Gardens, and intends to bring the structure more up-to-date. add a theatre, and cater in a more liberal style for the visitors. — Vide Hackney Standard. August 26th, 1904.

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