Unearth, Explore, Enlighten
Beyond the Point is an award-winning visual media and historical organisation dedicated to recording lost and overlooked structural heritage within the landscape, based in Essex but covering London, North Kent and beyond too. Our mission is to capture disappearing historic remains and to enlighten residents on their fading local history. Our direct and hands-on approach sees Joe and Liam adventure out and about to film, photograph and research. We also have a keen interest in going behind the scenes and covering unique perspectives of more well known historic sites. Our work is best described as a mixture of local history, landscape history, outdoor adventure and urban exploration. We try to use these interests to develop a professional resource where others might remain informal, hopefully creating an archival record which is genuinely useful for both enthusiasts and researchers. We are non-profit and entirely self funded.
Beyond the Point was founded ten years ago in 2011 by Canvey Island born and bred teenagers Joe Mander and Liam Heatherson. Aged 14 at the time, we enjoyed discovering and learning about our local history and wanted to share our discoveries with others. Within two years of running the site, we were awarded with the prestigious titles of ‘Best Online Community Website’ and ‘Best National Archive 2012′. Four years on we have done numerous presentations for community groups, held stalls at several community events and have even been involved in the campaign launch for ‘Explore Your Archive’ which was held at the Houses of Parliament.
Ten years on and we’re still thriving on discovering and exploring historic sites and work hard towards documenting and promoting our local heritage. We produce professional documentaries and hands-on vlogs to get younger people involved within their local history and in recent years and have upgraded our camera equipment and invested in a drone to achieve this.
From BTP to work, you’ll likely find me with a camera in my hand! I work across London filming the news, covering everything from murders and terror attacks to red carpets and sporting events. Over the past year I have been lucky enough to travel to Chicago and Madrid for work.
It was Beyond the Point which really started to excel my skills, photographing and filming the sites on our trips. Since an early age I have always been inspired by videos and films, in particular documentaries. Since getting my hands on with a video camera, things have grown massively. Beyond the Point started with a cheap and chunky camcorder and we have now upgraded to more professional kit, from a drone to a 360 degree camera.
Most recently I invested in a drone and passed my Permission for Commercial Operations exam, meaning that I am able to use my drone commercially.
Joe’s website: www.JoeMander.com
I love BTP because its the resource Joe and I always wish we had when we first started our adventure. It’s great to share these neglected parts of our surroundings which defined our youth – this is a diary of our playground.
I studied History at the University of Exeter, writing my dissertation on wartime defences in South Essex’s landscape which you can read here. I have worked to record WWI sites for Southend Museums and was awarded ‘Home Front Legacy Champion’. I currently work as an unexploded ordnance researcher checking military activity within the landscape for developers – very interesting stuff!
I enjoy photography and hiking and have a strong interest in the outdoors and local culture and tradition. More recently, I have developed my videography skills often learned from Joe. I am also a musician and artist in my free time, and have even painted some of Canvey’s seawall murals. I see all my creative outputs as one big reflection of my surroundings.
Liam’s website: www.LiamHeatherson.Wordpress.com/
Over the years we have collaborated with many other excellent historical explorers across our part of the country and further. Here are some of the photographs we have taken with them. We also work with local museums and archives. We hope to feature the work of like-minded individuals more soon.
Beyond the Point Founded
17 July 2011
It’s a date that we celebrate every year with a big slice of cake. July 2011 was the start of this ongoing adventure for the BTP boys. After setting off on a bike ride, we decided to create a blog to record our expeditions. From this day onwards the site grew and grew and has gone on to pick up awards and also make a real difference in the local heritage sector.
First Canvey Island Monster Spoof Released
31 October 2011
Don’t have a clue what we’re on about? Let’s leave it there…
Interactive Map First Launched
24 December 2011
The end of 2011 marked the launch of our interactive map. We wanted a more creative way of allowing people to explore their local history and this was the solution. People could navigate around their local area and learn what remains are left; reading about the history of them and seeing old photographs.
Canvey Island Documentary Released
5 May 2012
Pushing the limits of our video production, we went all out to produce a comprehensive 60 minute feature on the history of Canvey Island. The DVD was released with acclaim from local residents who It’s fair to say that our video efforts have come a significant way since but this event marked a big change in the quality of our future productions. Janet Penn from the Canvey Island Community Archive said “As 15 year old school boys they have outdone themselves. They have left no stone unturned in their quest for the history of the Island and the final DVD is well worth a look.”
Beyond the Point’s First Community Engagement Event
3 June 2012
We are always very keen to attend community events and June 2012 marked our first one which was in celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Since then we have had numerous stalls at the Essex Records Office and beyond.
Beyond the Point is named the ‘Best National Community Archive’
10 July 2013
It was announced at the Community Archives and Heritage Group annual conference in London, that Beyond the Point was the best community archive, nationally. In addition to winning this overall award, we were also named the Best Online Heritage Site. There were 35 submissions to the Community Archive and Heritage Awards for work done in 2012 and this award was a real statement to our hard work.
‘Explore Your Archive’ Campaign Launched in Parliament
21 November 2013
The Archives and Records Association and The National Archives teamed up to create a new campaign raising awareness of archives and their value to society. Winning our Community Archive Award the same year, we had the pleasure of visiting the Houses of Parliament to speak with MP’s and historians about being apart of this sector.
Imperial War Museum Partnership – WWI Centenary
28 July 2014
For the centenary of the First World War, Beyond the Point enlisted on the Imperial War Museum’s community partnership program to recognise groups doing their bit to remember the Great War. This marked the start of a focus in our dedicated effort to document remains of the conflict on the home front.
Improved Website Launched
17 June 2016
Our biggest overhaul since we founded Beyond the Point in 2011 saw many changes. Our website had a complete revamp with a whole new look, enabling people to learn about their local history much more easily. Many new features added such as a ‘then and now’ tool and also an update location search feature. Dozens of new historic locations were added and a lot of the content was modernised.
We Reach 1,000 Subscribers on YouTube
23 August 2018
Whilst our YouTube channel began back in 2011 shortly after our website, it wasn’t until 2018 that we began a dedicated effort to upload on a fortnightly basis and introduce vlog-style videos to compliment our documentaries. As a result, our audience doubled and reached an impressive 1k subscribers.