Detailed analysis on Canvey's paddling pools

compiled by Colin Letchford

Colin’s analysis is very comprehensive and gives a lot of food for thought. It should be noted that the ‘new pool’ is in fact another very old pool, but it is the pool the Council is in the process of refurbishing. I have added this birdseye view picture of the pools, which is from a different angle but I think it helps to show Colin’s views more clearly. The ‘Old Pool’ is on the left and the ‘New Pool’ is on the right.

Over to Colin.


The Old Pool … the children’s pool of choice To be demolished on the orders of Castle Point District Council [at present on stay of execution]

The New Pool Strictly for the birds!

More evidence of the dangers of the new pool

Study the aerial view of the pools below. When the tide comes in or out it sweeps along the remainder of the old sea defences groyne. The water on the sea side is clearly deeper than on the seawall side. This deep water sweeps along the steeply sloping wall of the new pool. Any child falling in would be swept up or downstream depending on if the tide is going out or coming in.

The old pool walls are not as high as the new pool. It lies a considerable distance back in shallower water which is to a certain degree protected from the sweep of the tide along the old groyne.  Any child falling in would therefore be subject to milder currents and shallower water.

The photos below were taken on the 14th February 2010

Comments about this page

  • Hi all! Nobody seems to remember the Canvey Island shaped paddling pool that was built high up the beach at Thorney Bay.It was shaped like Canvey looks like out the window of a plane.It even had a small bridge of concrete as if coming from benfleet.I don’t remember it bieng used that much.Eventually the water became stagnant and green.There was no drainage system to allow fresh water to be replenished,not to mention the broken bottles and glass that could have seriously hurt a childs feet.Eventually through lack of use and dangerous possibilities it was broken up and removed.Does anybody remember it? Happy new year too you all

    By Christopher poledniok (02/01/2024)
  • Christopher try looking at Thorney Bay

    By Janet Penn (02/01/2024)
  • I agree Jan, the description fits the Thorney Bay pool. We used to go in there a lot cleaner than we came out. I’ve never heard of Canvey Island shape before but if it appeared to be that shape it was clearly a coincidence .
    from Graham 👍🥳

    By Graham Stevens (02/01/2024)
  • Thankyou for replying Janet and graham.Janet I did what you suggested and dug up as much as I could about Thorney Bay.Unfortunately there were no pictures of any paddling pool at Thorney Bay.If my memory serves me correctly I didnt even see a mention.Iwill keep digging.Regards.
    Graham thanks for your reply.Ive been wracking my brain for a rough date regarding the decade.Approximately what year do you remember using a pool at Thorney bay as a child? Regards

    By Christopher poledniok (03/01/2024)
  • There are several pages with photos on the site showing the pool at Thorney Bay.

    By Janet Penn (03/01/2024)
  • Hi Christopher,
    The photo link provided by Jan is a very clear image of the Thorney Bay pool. As you can see not a paddling pool at all but was really in it’s deepest areas( close to the barrier) a swimming pool , anybody over 5ft could still touch the bottom! As can be seen by the depth of water it was filled and re- filled by the tide . The date is clearly 1957 but I remember it’s existence when I was 13/14yrs so that would be appx 1955. Can’t give specific detail on date of construction but it was generally assumed to funded & built by Col Fielder, owner of the adjacent holiday camp.
    The design fault was that at the base of the inlet/ outlet ( appx 4ft wide) there were 3 planks( about 3 to 4 ft high) so each incoming tide deposited a layer of mud and debris which was , of course, disturbed by human activity
    Yuk! The gap was at the centre of the barrier , out of shot in photo!
    Once more I cannot give a specific date re de- contruction but pretty sure it had disappeared by mid 60s.
    Also the comment by the author is wrong as you can see the northern perimeter of the Bay is the 1953 steel- pile wall which even after 70/80 s complete re- construction still today remains as the line between land and sea!
    Another point, I’m not sure about present time since present Evironmental Agency work but at the bottom of the steps on the east side there remained some wooden stakes from the barrier of the pool! 👍😀. Graham.

    By Graham Stevens (03/01/2024)
  • Thankyou for your comments,but that is not the paddling pool I refer to.The one that I have spoken about was on the sea side of the wall roughly where the benches on the sand are .Possibly 45 feet long by about 25 feet.Regards

    By Christopher poledniok (03/01/2024)
  • Sorry, I have to erase the last paragraph of my recent comment. On re- examining the photo the stakes at the steps were nothing to do with the pool but are/were part of a previous seawall. After over65 yrs and possible over concentration today my memory played a trick on me!🙂

    By GrahamStevens (03/01/2024)
  • I would have to disagree with you re the wall and grass area Graham. See the map and photos on this link.

    By Janet Penn (03/01/2024)
  • Yep, Jan, Ithink we have been through this before and your latest link, with maps is definitive proof of the progressive development of Thorney Bay. In my comments I somehow must have blanked out on that info and just referred back to teenage memory again. My only excuse is that during the 70/80s seawall construction I was very inbedded at the Leigh Beck end and not taking in the Thorney Bay development . However with Christopher’s most recent comment on the location of his memory of the Canvey shape pool ( first time for me) it appears to be relatively recent. So I have been digging up a lot of sand/ shingle, possibly rubbish without good cause,🥺. Let us hope there is somebody else out there with a bit more definite knowledge!!
    I hope to get to the Library on Sat 13th😰 My brain hurts! Graham.🙂

    By Graham Stevens (03/01/2024)
  • I know the feeling Graham. Btw some of the pool edging is still visible at Thorney Bay on the western side just off the beach. I have a photo somewhere. No idea where.

    By Janet Penn (03/01/2024)
  • I must of imagined it all then.Incidentally I worked on the seawall we have now.I didnt get as far round as Thorney bay though.Only from the lobster smack to just passed the gas terminal.regards

    By Christopher poledniok (03/01/2024)
  • I well remember the Paddling pool in the 1940s at Thorney Bay/ Fielders Camp. When the tide ebbed and flowed the water was changed. There was always enough water in the pool for paddling when the tide was out. Mum sometimes collected me from school at Hawkesbury Road, we walked down the old Fort Road which terminated before reaching the Beach.
    I seem to remember a little hut on the sand selling tea, I may be wrong but I think it was run by Mr Grout.
    The pool was quite popular in those days, being safe for young children to play/swim……. Happy days now long past, how Canvey has changed and is more like a Concrete Jungle now.

    By Val Court (05/01/2024)

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