Canvey as glamour background location

Jo Wood née Karslake

Jo Karslake at Canvey Point

There have been some snide comments recently, not least from County Hall, about Canvey’s ambitions as a holiday destination, although that is a part of its development and history. Maybe this story will add a little spice to the argument?

In the early 1970s I helped one of the many young ladies with ambitions to become a model and, as usual, I sought out exotic/photogenic locations. Some of those sites were on Canvey Island. This particular young lady had barely left school and a local professional had already given up on her. Yet she was intelligent as well as enthusiastic and she had the backing of her parents, especially a resourceful, hands-on, practical mum, who provided costumes and outfits to my suggestions with great enthusiasm and talent.

Northwick Road, Canvey

The Karslakes lived in the Old Vicarage on Vicarage Hill in South Benfleet. Her father was a model maker – honest – by profession, with a complete scooter collection of practically everything Lambretta ever produced.

There was a black cinder path (Northwick Road?) running out to nowhere, with an old barn and farm machinery by the roadside, which made an interesting background.

Somewhere out there on the sea wall stood a crane, which appealed to me with the industrial background of Shell Haven. I had included the flame as a feature of interest. Jo’s father tried to help publicity by taking the picture across to the company – Shell? I believe – who turned it down because ‘the flame was too large’ for their image, but the picture did rate almost a spread in a photo magazine.

Comments about this page

  • Robert – these are brilliant!

    By Dave Bullock (09/02/2010)
  • Robert, I am so pleased you have put these photos on the site. What about the naked lady on the new Canvey Way?

    By Joan Liddiard (11/02/2010)
  • I second that request 😉

    By David Bullock (11/02/2010)
  • She can be found under ‘History’, then ‘Old Canvey’, then ‘Ferry Tales’… Alas, that’s not my picture and I did not photograph that young lady on Canvey. Going for older models these day. Watch this space…

    By Robert Hallmann (13/02/2010)
  • Clearing out our loft and found some old Amateur Photographer magazines, one for 1974 stood out from the rest, as it had photo on the cover with the magazine name, but nothing else! The photo was of Carol Starmer and by Robert Hallman (spelt with one ‘n’). I’m curious if this was you? Kind Regards, Cheryl Sanderson.

    By Cheryl Sanderson (23/11/2010)
  • My name gets misspelled quite often. Yes, I had a good few covers on a variety of magazines, especially photo mags. Is it a young lady in a black maxi, jumping outdoors in platform shoes? I never could remember names. At least one of my models from Amateur Photographer now lives on Canvey.

    By Robert Hallmann (23/11/2010)
  • Thank you, yes…thats the one 🙂 What struck me about the cover was that there’s just the image, and the magazine title! Usually there’s so much information on the cover about the magazine contents, etc, it makes it somehow stark, and very different. Kind Regards, Cheryl Sanderson.

    By Cheryl Sanderson (24/11/2010)
  • Thanks for the memories… That was the winner of a national cover competition. The model – Carol Starmer from Benfleet – got £250 and the photographer £750 plus what they called a ‘slap-up meal’ at the Wig and Pen near the Law Courts in London. The editor wasn’t sure he’d put it on the cover until I remonstrated with him that he was wasting his money if he didn’t…

    By Robert Hallmann (24/11/2010)
  • The old barn in your photo was indeed at the far end of Northwick Rd (Northwick farm), it was blown down in October 1987. My Grandfather was the tenant of the farm at that time, & I can remember playing in that barn as a child.

    By David Lazell (12/02/2011)
  • David, that’s where I used to work with Len and Pat Lazell, can you contact me in some way. Thanks Joe.

    By Joe Nash (27/01/2018)

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