Student visit to Canvey

Focus on the Island's history and development

Outside the Dutch Cottage Museum

On Sunday 24th January myself and fellow Archive member Rod Bishop were hosts for the visit to Canvey of a group from the Dept of Architecture of the University of Westminster, London. Led by lecturer Anthony Engi-Meakin and his colleague Giles the majority of the sixteen students hailed from many countries; Bahrain, China, Columbia, Poland, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Montenegro, to name but a few. The purpose of the visit was to give them some insight into development outside the London area.

We met up at 1.30pm on the seawall by the Labworth Café and naturally the first topic discussed was Ove Arup the designer and engineer of this iconic Art Deco structure and his work and influence on Architecture worldwide i.e the Sydney Opera House. Also we mentioned other Art Deco style buildings from the 1930s such as the Casino, Monico and Bay Country Club which were built in the vicinity and designed by local architect Eugene Lawrence and others.

We then adjourned to the Canvey 2000 Memorial Garden where the students looked at the information boards to gather more info on the Island’s history. After this with Rod driving in front a small convoy of 5 cars set off from the Labworth car park on a round-trip of the Island.

First to the Seaview Jetty (Chapman Lighthouse and early development of Leigh Beck) then to the Small Gains hall car park (the 1953 Flood) and from there onto the Dutch Cottage Museum where many photos were taken. From the Cottage we drove through the Charfleets Industrial Estate (all forms of architecture were covered on this trip!) and so to our destination the Lobster Smack and up onto the seawall very pleasant in the unseasonal mild and calm winter’s afternoon.

Finally into the pub for a well deserved drink where we parted company at about 4.30. Just hope they went straight up Haven Rd and saw the Village on their way off the Island. Altogether a success I think. Well we enjoyed it, I hope they did too.

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