Ozonia Hotel during WW2
Keith McQueen's Memories
Built in 1936, the Ozonia was a temperance Hotel of unique design. It was located on the south east corner of Seaview Road by the Seawall and Jetty. It was designed by Ernest George Trobridge who was an esteemed architect who lived from 1884 to 1942.
It consisted of three storeys, originally boasting a thatched roof, later replaced with something more conventional. The exterior of the first floor had a cedar shingle covering and the top floor had domer windows.
An artist was commissioned to paint some of the rooms with various themes, below are some very rare photos of his work there.
Being built just before War broke out, it got of to a bad start and was never very successful. After the war the hotel was used for housing until she became derelict. The Council aquired the building and demolished it, I believe sometime in the 1960’s? A large block of flats now stands where this great building once stood.
Here is a brief summary of Malcolm McQueen’s father Keith McQueen’s recollections of the time he spend at Canvey Island during the early part of World War II
Before WWII, Keith’s maternal grandparents – Henry & Hilda Goodhind – were living on Canvey Island. They owned two of the bungalows and one “hut” (the hut was a round, corrugated metal building). Henry & Hilda lived in one of the bungalows and rented out the other plus the “hut.”
Henry was hired to manage the grocery store at the Ozonia Hotel. It is possible other Goodhind family members from the Watford area also owned/rented bungalows.
Keith was eleven years old at the start of WWII and living in the Plumstead area as his father (Henry, but went by Harry) was teaching at South East Technical College in London. The staff at the college was soon evacuated to Robert’s Bridge. Harry went with the staff while Keith’s mother (Olive) went to Canvey Island to stay with her Goodhind relatives. Keith and his brother Malcolm–who were attending the Roan School– were evacuated with the other students to Rye and stayed with the Chapman family.
Harry wanted to reunite the family and so gathered everyone back to London. Very soon after, however, the Nazi bombing of London began. Keith and Olive went back to Canvey Island while Harry and Malcolm stayed at SE Technical College. On weekends, Harry and Malcolm took the train to Canvey Island. As it seemed this might be a lengthy stay, Harry bought a home on Long Road (Long Row?). In 1942, Keith returned to London to attend SE Technical College but Olive still resided on Canvey Island until the war ended.
The tourist trade, of course, was greatly diminished during the war years. Along with government restrictions of travel to coastal areas due to invasion preparations, this had a negative impact on the Ozonia hotel. As a result, Keith’s grandparents (Henry & Hilda Goodhind) moved out of their bungalow and into one of the rooms in the Ozonia to be caretakers of the hotel while operating the store. Henry died here in 1946. Following Henry’s death, Hilda moved back to London and stayed with Harry and Olive.
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Some specific memories Keith has of the Ozonia Hotel and Canvey Island include:
- The rooms at the Ozonia Hotel included a cooking area, sink and bathroom. The rooms were also “theme” decorated / painted.
- At various times, the lighthouse keeper at Chapman lighthouse would need to come ashore to get provisions. The timing of this was dependent on the tides. When the tide was out, the lighthouse keeper would walk across the mud flats, get what was needed, and walk back to the lighthouse before the tide came in.
- Keith often enjoyed playing billiards in the Billiard Room at the Ozonia.
If you can add information as to the Ozonia Hotels history (when was demolished etc) please add a comment below.
Click the Photos below to view the wonderfully themed rooms as described above and a Canvey 2000 plaque giving some information about the Ozonia Hotel: