Canvey's Model Village and Town in Miniature

The Mascot Gardens (Opp the Haystack)

In Susan White’s ‘The History of Canvey Island’ she talks about her Grandfather John Fenwick who was the designer of Canvey’s Model Village. In her book she says:-

“It was in May 1948 Lieut. Col Horace Fielder opened a history of Canvey in miniature, in the grounds of which was then “The Mascot Gardens”, Furtherwick Road. The designer of old Canvey was Mr. John Fenwick there were replicas of the old Village pump, The Red Cow, The Lobster Smack, St. Katherines Church complete with organ playing. The Catholic Church, models of the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, with the railway lines in front, with an electric train running when ever people  were viewing.”

St Katherin’s Church

Susan talks about John Fenwick giving some further details of his modelling ventures:-

“His first venture was in about 1929 when he had a model putting green next to Beach House and Sutherland’s Fair.

He later had miniature golf at the Labworth Car Park, and when the Casino first opened he had moving models of “World War I”. Before the second world war there was a model he made outside “Mascot” where people could put coins in for the hospital fund.”

The Pump and Dutch Cottage

Of the village she says:-

“The model village attracted thousands of visitors each season, also school parties, he made replicas for other seaside resorts, including Isle of Wight, Clacton and Cromer. He also had a model exhibition in the Festival of Britain, and a model of The Battle of Tewksbury at Tewksbury.”

The model Village was eventually moved to its site on the seafront (where the amusements are) at the junction of Furtherwick Road and Eastern Esplanade. John Fenwick died in 1978 at which time the Village was vandalised and never opened again.

Do you remember the Model Village?

Comments about this page

  • I was so pleased to see these pictures of the Model Village, I spent many a happy hour in there. I used to imagine living in the models and used to stand there and wish in earnest that I be made small. How Times fly

    By Margaret Day ne WILSON (17/10/2010)
  • I used to enjoy visiting the model village on day trips to canvey in the 1950’s, especially the railway. By the time of my final visit, circa 1960, the coaches (three only by then) had been relegated to a siding at the station, and only the engine ran. The owner told us about it. It was a Bassett-Lowke model of a “Tilbury Tank”, gauge 1. Due to its intensive use it had been through several motors. He used 24V government surplus motors designed for operating the gun cameras used in WWII fighter aircraft. Happy days!

    By Ronald Camp (16/12/2012)
  • I have very fond memories of seeing the model villiage as a youngster in the 70’s, on holiday each year with my grandparents. We visited Canvey in the early 80’s to find the model villiage had disappeared! sadly, I think we were told that some yobs had smashed it up one night, such a shame as it had been there for so long.

    By Paul Nash (18/09/2013)

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