Post Cards of the Wintergardens area of Canvey Island

These Post Cards give a rare glimpse as to how the Wintergardens area was developed around 1900 by Frederick Hester. It included an indoor greenhouse ‘Wintergarden’ area with tropical plants, resturants and a railway. There was also a horse drawn mono rail that went from Wintergardens along Somnes Ave to Seaview Road. The Hester story will be featured elsewhere on the site in the near future.

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  • I was brought to Winter Gardens as a child at the end of WW2. We arrived on the back of a cart pulled by Farmer Lea, but had to unload at the concrete tank trap on the sea wall. We shared a timber house with another family and the earth privy under the high trees and the noisy rookery – we had no electricity. I remember having to walk to school along the top of the old Dutch sea wall. Then it was a rural paradise with the ebb and flood of tides, the saltings, wrecks of old boats and open vistas to the Essex downs over the water.

    By david wilson (20/09/2010)
  • We moved to Canvey in 1952, having previously holidayed there.  We lived in a little timber roughcast house in Winter Gardens, and although it was some years later, it looked very similar to these pictures.  ”The Path” as it was known, was our road into “town” or our walk or bike ride to Benfleet.  We  regularly shopped at Lunn’s stores.  I still recall the smell of paraffin and bacon!  When I was a teenager I used to go dancing at Victor Sylvestor’s Studio at the old Odeon in Southend.  Coming home I would get off the train in Benfleet and then walk home, along the road, then left onto “The Path”, and after a mile or so, cut across the sheep fields, climbing two styles,  bending down to try to make out the grass “bridges” over the dykes.This walk was always alone, as none of my friends lived in that part of the island.  I can just imagine kids doing that now! Canvey was a magical place to grow up, and I lived and worked there for 50 years, but saddened by the over development we moved to Suffolk 13 years ago.  We now live in a little village that reminds me so much of Canvey in its glory days.  

    By Anne Keys (04/11/2014)
  • We lived at 7 Oxford Road from about 1948 until the late 50s. My Dad, R. C. Foyster, was Deputy Engineer and Surveyor for Canvey UDC for 25 years from 1948 until he took early retirement – by then we lived in Thundersley. I attended St Joseph’s Convent until I moved to Sweyne School at 11.

    Dad also designed and supervised the construction of the Waterside Sports Centre, free, on his own time before he retired!

    I think he owned a rental house in the winter gardens area, it was called Goseles (not sure of the spelling) but I don’t recall visiting it, and it may well not have survived the ‘53 flood.

    I would appreciate knowing more – thank you!

    By Helen (20/01/2022)
  • Helen,

    Mr FOYSTER owned a property called “Gossellies”. I have seen it spelt with both one and two “L”.
    This was located down Essex Road, so not quite Wintergardens. I have seen the property on a 1968 map so it survived the 1953 flood, and looking on Google Earth I can see a modern construction in the same place, although it might be a garage built in its place. I can’t quite work out what is there and street view has not gone down Essex Road yet.

    By Martin Lepley (21/01/2022)

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