Canvey has been inhabited since Roman times – allegedly the Romans farmed oysters on the island. When the Romans left, the Island was uninhabited until the 16th century when it was used for farming.
During the 19th Century Canvey became one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in Britain as well as a location for bare-knucle fighting which allegedly took place around the Lobster Smack.
On April 1, 1926, Canvey Island became an urban district and in 1931 a bridge joining Canvey to the mainland was opened. In the 1932-33 Ove Arup designed and built the Labworth Cafe – which remains to this day the only building soley designed by this internationally renowned designer.
In 1953, disaster struck. On the Evening of the 31stJanuary, Canvey was hit by one of the greatest surge tides ever to hit this part of the coast. Flooding all but the highest point of the Island – around the Red Cow pub – 58 people lost their lives. The story is commemorated by the fabulous play by Ray Knight, last performed on the 50th Anniversary of the flood by Cast and Crew.
Until August 31st 2011, there were three secondary schools on the island: Furtherwick Park, Cornelius Vermuyden and Castle View. Lucy and Mark went to one of them. Or maybe most of them. Who knows? 🙂