I normally refuse to use such a prissy word as 'quaint', but it seems the most appropriate adjective to use now.
It was the Dutch who drained much of the land around here (and indeed in other places in Eastern England), bringing with them their own style of architecture and ways of doing things. Many stayed and became integrated into the community. Even until relatively recent times it was not unusual to hear Dutch being spoken around here.
The Dutch cottage museum is FREE, but only open on certain days in the summer - ring ahead.
This virtually round house comes from the early 17th century, and must be the most pleasing building to look at on the whole island. It was lived in by one of Verymuden's (the Dutch Drainage expert) chief engineers. There is another one close by from a similar age. You will find other examples, but they are from a much later time.
The Lobster Smack is a rather wonderful pub right on one corner of the rougly diamond shape that is Canvey Island.
I used to eat there with freinds on quite a regular basis. The steaks, served of a sizzling skillet, were some of the best I have ever tasted. I suspect things may not quite be the same now.
Reports about the beer do seem to remain good and the ramshackle surrounding are a steeprd in history as ever.
Following the building of the sea defences, it now stands below an embankment, but you can still climb up it and look out over the muddy Thames estuary.
The pub used to sit right on the shoreline, and was known to have been to frequented by many a dodgy sailor who was involved in smuggling, or illegal pilots helpingbtraffic up the river.
It is even mentioned in Dickens book 'Great expectations' when was known as the 'World's end'.
A charming, yet earthy pub. Worth the detour.
Canvey island was a true island until 1931 when the first bridge was finished. It is now connected to the mainland via 'Canvey Way' which can get quite clogged up at peak times and a smaller road via Benfleet. This 'back route' runs off the island and up onto a river bluff known as 'Millionaire's road'. Where else would you want to live if you had made your millions in scrap metal dealing ?
The Island has no rail access, but Pitse Station and the nearer Benfleet Station are only a couple of miles away.
Be careful about what you might find washed up on the shoreline...this one should have made the X-files !
Back in 1954, a rather mysterious and ugly reddish-brown creature in a decomposed state was washed up on Canvey Island. It was said to be some form of marine life, with protruding eyes standing about two and a half feet tall. I say standing, because it had two legs, each with five toes arranged in a concave U-shape. The zoologists who studied it, not wishing to cause a panic are said to have cremated the poor thing.
The next year a local vicar found a similar thing, this time about four foot tall (bloody hell, their growing !). The wherebouts of this creature after it was handed over to 'experts' has never been brought to light. What are we to make of it all ?
You may notice a number of signs around the place with phrases like 'yellow route' on them.
I used to work at the place that was the terminus of one of these such routes.
The basic idea is that if something horrendous happens, then the islanders can get off the Island and deposit themselves in an alloted school hall or similar until the danger passes.
I believe these measures came in after the massive floods of 1953 which wrought havoc over the island. The local oil refinerys also present a slightly warmer risk.
In these days of global warming, who knows if these new sea walls maybe not quite up to the job