Labworth Café

Early (1933?) image

The seaward side of the Labworth Café c.1933
Peter Jones. (2006). Ove Arup: Masterbuilder of the Twentieth Century. ISBN:0300112963.

I recently discovered this image of the Labworth Café in a book about the engineer Ove Arup (view book online) while I researched the building for Wikipedia (article here). The photograph is interesting because it appears to be a very early image of the new building; perhaps taken while a section of the scaffolding (top of the picture) is employed prior to the Café’s completion; this may be important as a small visual historical record of the Café and of the means of construction of the early Modernist (the “International Style” of architecture in this case) concrete buildings in England. The photograph also shows the Café’s lost features – the seating, and shelters under the wings, and the steel canopies on top of the wings.

Comments about this page

  • What a fantastic find

    By Janet Penn (19/11/2009)
  • This is brilliant. I wonder what that structure is on the roof!

    By David Bullock (19/11/2009)
  • i used to go courting on a winters evening on the seats in the left wing ….out of the wind and rain!!

    happy memories

    By Colin Letchford (26/11/2009)
  • Great Picture of a building that is still relevant today. I remember in the 80s seeing a Pet shop boys video shot in front of that fine building.

    By Sean O'Brien (29/11/2009)
  • I first encountered the building as a child in the late 1970s, but cannot remember the seating, wooden shelters or canopies being present. Can anybody (maybe Colin?) recall when these features were removed?… or perhaps the reason(s) for their removal?

    By Oneb Lackline (03/12/2009)
  • My father worked for the then Canvey Island Urban District Council in about 1947/8. He looked after the Deckchairs and the Gents Toilets which were beneath the Labworth Cafe. A lady named Frances did the Ladies toilets. In the winter months my father repaired the broken Deckchairs which were stored in the small bungalow next to the Ozonia Hotel at the bottom of Seaview Road.

    By harry court (16/07/2013)

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