This year will probably be a year like no other for us! The many locations we have been to, awards received and of course the people we have met! It has been an AMAZING year and we are looking forward to another year of exploring, revealing and filming! We have put together a short video to sum up, what we think are the top 8 moments of 2013. You can view our WordPress summary here.

So what do we have planned for next year?

Well, one of the main things that we will be doing is interviewing local residents. We know that Canvey, Southend and around has many fascinating people with a story to tell! Whether you’re an athlete or a War Soldier we want to hear your stories and keep them as a permanent memory forever. We are also teaming up with Globlue Media Productions. Owned by BTP Joe, this will enable us to get involved in events that are not entirely historic and still film them, with the finished product being uploaded to their YouTube channel. This is a move we are keen to approach as we have engaged a lot with the community throughout 2013 including filming a promotional video for Spirited Encouters, news style coverage of the C.D.S charity concert and filming artists at the Canvey Christmas lights. The ‘Explore Your Archive’ campaign has just been launched (see photos here) and we will continue to support this.

With over 50,000 views on the website, 300 likes on Facebook and over 25,000 views on Youtube…..

Thank You!

From both Liam and myself, we hope that you have a happy and healthy 2014.

Merry Christmas BTP fanboys, fangirls, urbexers, local historians, photographers, and movie makers. If you’re at school or college, then its Sunday before we go back for one last week. If you’re not in education, then, well, it’s still Sunday.  Therefore, to cheer you up, we made this short movie to entertian you. It features the BTP boys reclaiming their lost presents, who a rather cheeky Father Christmas threw out of their sleigh. In doing so they visit several historic places around Canvey Island (BTP Headquarters), and even come into contact with local legend, a break from our usual historic documentaries.

On a more serious note, we had the pleasure of visiting the Houses of Parliament thanks to Marie Owens, organiser of the Community Archive and Heritage Group who awarded us Best National Heritage Group and Website of the Year. There at Westminster, London, was the launch of the ‘Explore Your Archive’ campaign, aiming to raise awareness of local history archives nationwide over the upcoming future. There, we mingled and dined with historians and MPs, and watched a film made about the project. We also were able to hear a speech from the various figureheads concerning the campaign.

Visit the campaign website here: http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/

NB: the video above is one of Beyond the Point’s earliest video productions, and quality of our videos has far improved since this video was made over two years ago.

The Canvey & District Bus Depot was built in 1934, featuring contemporary Art Deco hard-edged geometric architecture. It was vacated in 1974, by Eastern National, the major primary bus service of the era – now days First dominates Essex’ streets, with Arriva in second. It was taken over by the Eastern National Preservation Group upon closure, and was designated a museum in 1979. Whilst the buses there today hold a local trend, some rarities range country-wide. It was at its time the tallest building on Canvey, and can be seen for miles around to this day, sporting an excellent view inside too.

Now the Transport Museum (http://www.castlepointtransportmuseum.co.uk/museumhistory.htm), it is home to over thirty well-kept vintage 1940s-90s buses and coaches, along with other vehicles, such as military and emergency buses, and old commercials. There is also a vast selection of intricate details on the buses, such as original signs and adverts, which in my opinion make the buses superb. Within the glamourised warehouse lies other local history displays within the more conventional museum section, and an excellent trainset. Various bus memorabilia and uniforms can also be found.

The BTP Boys pre-haircuts

The BTP Boys pre-haircuts

 

 

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Happy Halloween 2013!

    Built in 1862 by the Reverend Henry Bull for his family, this Gothic Victorian red-brick rectory was placed on the site of an old monastery. Stories claim that a monk living at the monastery fell in love with a local nun. Planning to leave religious confinement behind them, and elope together, they were caught and the monk was sentenced to death, whilst the nun was imprisoned. Many of the paranormal incidents at the rectory have been labelled as fake, although much of the phenomena is yet to be disproved, especially with such a wide range of witnesses, who continue to report phenomena almost two-hundred years after the initial incidents.

The Legacy Today

With the Rectory long burnt down, the associated church, dating from the 12th Century, is said to have passed on the hauntings. Mysterious lights have been sighted on the grounds, as well as strange sounds in and outside the church. We was able to speak to the man responisble for maintainign the church out cutting the lawn (very well kept). He told us his wife saw the lights in the church swinging in the window, and also that once he threaded a 2-4 metre power cable through the church window, only to find it coiled back up again on the floor only seconds after going round the front!

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Simon Basham, with his friend Ian Sales, camped in the churchyard on Halloween, exactly 27 years ago today. Its one of his most classic vivid life stories, and had clearly a large impact on him. Watch him explain a detailed story above. In brief, he heard scratching on his tent, and upon fleeing saw two white emotionless figures within metres of him which did not react to his frantic, half-naked escape, as they crashe dinto bushes runnign blind. The tent was found to have red stains on it the following day, to the point where it had to be disposed of even though new.

History of the Rectory

The First Era:  Revd. Henry Bull

With construction complete in 1883, the Bull family moved into the fine house, erected on ground on which the floating ‘Borley Nun’ had been sighted. In a time before plumbing or electricity was widespread, or installed in the rectory, all that made the occasional clank in the house was the water pump.  One day, two of the Bull daughters and their nursemaid, noticed a woman in white following behind a pair of girls in an opposite field. When the girls were questioned later, they said they were unaware of anyone else being with them whilst in the fields.

Soon, the servant’s bells began ringing constantly to the extent where the wires were cut just to silence them.  Yet still, they persisted. Ethel Bull was in the house on afternoon when all the bells rung simultaneously, followed by the strange sound of a gush of water. One evening when the Bull family were dining, they noticed a nun staring sadly in at them through the window, following a sudden drop in temperature. This happened on many occasions, and always disappeared in seconds before anyone who ran outside, could greet her. In the end, Revd Henry Bull had the window bricked up, visible in this photograph below, along with a similar view today. The nun was frequently seen floating down what was named ‘the Nun’s Walk’ leading to an octagonal summer house.

One of the Bull Daughters was frequently awoken at night by being slapped in the face mysteriously, and would hear rapping sounds on her door, as clatters rung throughout the whole house. Every night at 10:30pm, heavy footsteps were heard outside the Bull girls’ door continuing to stop at the night nursery, as well as three taps. Strange lights were also witnessed outside and underneath closed doors – oil lamps alone were used to light the rectory, so this cannot be explained. Many guests at the rectory would hurriedly leave and refuse to stay any longer. Items were also found to be moved around unexpectedly. A phantom horse-drawn cart was also seen and heard. A dark-skinned man was seen in the upstairs corridor, and a ‘strangle-looking’ man sighted at Ethel Bull’s bedside.

The ‘Borley Nun’ was sighted several times again by the Bull daughters, at times vanishing in front of their eyes. Revd Henry Bull unfortunately fell ill aged 59 and died in the ‘Blue Room’ (main bedroom), like his son Harry who took over but too died of illness in 1927.

The Second Era: Revd. Guy Smith

The Reverend and his wife Mabel accepted the post at Borley, despite many other vicars refusing the role. Mabel was cleaning the house alone and found a box on the library’s shelf, containing a skull identified as female! The Revd Smith, on one instance, heard a mumbling voice which increased as he approached the Blue Room. Upon nearing, he heard a woman cry out ‘No Carlos, don’t!’. The phantom footsteps also continued. Mabel saw a ‘grey wispy figure’ leaning against the gates, vanishing on approach. Household objects were smashed by a poltergeist, and the bell-ringing once again resumed.

The aforementioned phenomena is not yet disproven, and is considered to be legitimate nor subject to great publicity, unlike following events – note the change from the nun’s ghost, to that of Henry Bull, and their more violent explicit content.

Revd Guy Smith placed an advert in the Daily Mirror for help, and the famous investigator Harry Price came in to investigate along with secretary and a reporter, on the 12th of June, 1929. that night a seance was conducted in which a ‘planchette’ (roller-board with a pencil inbuilt, used for ‘spirit writing’) was used.  The Revd Henry Bull was allegedly contacted, claiming to have died not of illness, but murder! he appeared apparently in physical form and the Reverend ordered the seance to end. Nine months later, the Smiths quit the rectory and their post. It lay empty, and villages noted furniture being thrown about. In March 1930, The Smiths heard ‘the most horrible sounds coming from the house’ when checking up on the empty building.

The Third Era: Revd Foyster

On October the 16th 1930, he moved in with his very young wife Marianne, and adopted daughter, Adelaide. On the first day of arrival, Marianne heard her name being called, saw the ghost of Henry Bull. the footsteps were heard by other inhabitants too, as well as objects being moved. Later, the Revd Foyster found two chairs littered with upright pins! Objects were also flung at the new arrivals.

Harry Price and his Council for Psychic Research were invited to the house, and brought two wine bottles as presents. the wine in the glasses took form of ink and perfume, whilst remaining intact in the bottles. However, eventually Price fell out with the reverend and his investigations ceased, as he said the most likely culprit for faking the events was to be Marianne. Terrible writing was found on the walls saying ‘Marianne please help get’ and ‘Get light mass prayers’ – some was so poorly formed it was indecipherable.  It became a written conversation between what could’ve been the Borley Nun, and Marianne. In October 1935, Revd Foyster developed crippling arthritis.

auto writing from borley

The Forth Era: Harry Price takes over

Price took the opportunity to buy up the property and summon a range of skeptics via the newspaper to investigate, giving them a set of pointers and rules to place in the thorough investigation. Many findings were apparent, and a seance gave contact to a woman named Marie Lairre, a woman murdered in the 1600s – the Borley Nun?

Harry Price and his team left the residence in 1939, and a Captain William Hart Gregson bought it and suspiciously insured it for £10,000. The property burned down in 1939, claimed to have been when an oil lamp ‘mysteriously’ overturned. It is likely that Gregson caused the fire to claim the insurance. Remains were demolished in 1944. Now, nothing but a green remains in it’s place.

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The mysterious ‘floating brick’ spotted amongst the ruins

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Finally, take this excellent virtual tour of the rectory, explore this long-gone wonder for yourself! Thanks to KevWorldProductions who owns the 3D model, carefully crafted using computer technology, and filmed in an excellent tour.

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Hello everyone! Halloween is soon approaching which means that we will be releasing our Halloween special which is different to last year! We will be focussing on …… wait and see! As you may remember we won the overall award of Best National Community Archive this year, (the picture of the left is a bit of a hint!) and we are getting involved with a project called ‘Explore Your Archive’.

Explore Your Archive

“The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) and The National Archives have come together to create a new campaign to raise awareness of archives, their value to society and the impact they have, every day, on individual lives. We want more people to understand and value archives of all types local, university, business, specialist, private and national archives. We also want to reach a more diverse audience and to strengthen our relationships with current archive users. Many people indirectly benefit from archives without realising.

Archives are amazing because without them we wouldn’t know if this summer is the ‘hottest on record’, we wouldn’t have such historically rich novels and films, we wouldn’t know about the lives of our significant artists, and we wouldn’t be able to revisit controversial and compelling legal cases from years gone by.”

As me and Liam won the award, we have been invited to the Houses of Parliament next month to the launch of the biggest ever public awareness drive in the community archive sector! We’re really getting a feel for the what I call celebrity status!

If you would like to support us and other community archives then please share the link for the campaign, http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/

34

The pre 2005 Lakeside logo

The pre 2005 Lakeside logo

Although this article is a dramatic change to the usual content of Beyond the Point, I hope it will be of interest. Whilst not necessarily of historic focus, this article will investigate Lakeside’s history and its modern architectural significance, as well as relating to themes of urban exploration and the infrastructure of this social hot spot, within Essex, today. It will also shed light on the ‘unseen’ cultural, architectural, and natural features of the Centre, like much of what Beyond the Point covers. Lakeside is in a way the ‘history of tomorrow’.

What is the history of Lakeside?

With construction completed in 1990, Lakeside was erected on the site of a former chalk quarry – many of which spanned the area throughout the 20th Century, leaving gorges. Many of the gorges filled with water and became lakes, such as the lake next to ‘Lakeside’ itself. There was also a large cement industry present nearby. Now, neither industries remain, but other industrial activity is greatly present. In 1993, the West Thurrock Power Station also present there, closes for demolition. This image (not property of BTP) shows a rare shot of Lakeside whilst under construction. The glass dome’s frame, in yellow, can be seen before the glass was put in.

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Lakeside & Its Infrastructure Today
The new graphical change due to 'intu'

The new graphical change due to ‘intu’

Since the shopping centre’s construction, it has seen the construction of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Opened shortly after, and possibly in unison with, Lakeside, it was built in 1991, and opened by the Queen herself. Lakeside itself has seen several extensions, including the large VUE cinema block, the Boardwalk restaurants area, and the large ‘anchor’ stores (M&S, Primark, Debenhams, House of Fraser). Recently, due to the anme change of it’s supermarket chain owner, it has been renamed ‘intu Lakeside’ and featured a minor graphical overhaul.

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Top Ten ‘Secret’ Things to do at Lakeside

At Beyond the Point, our aim is to highlight the unseen side to the wonders of Essex. Whilst not specifically historical, here’s our list of the top five things to do at Lakeside Shopping Centre, in which you can better understand the infrastructure, architecture, and natural surroundings, of Lakeside:

5. The Shopping Centre Chapel
The inside of the open-all-hours chapel

The inside of the ‘open-all-hours’ chapel

Although there’s not much to do here, it’s certainly secret. Denoted by a single sign on the corridor on the left of the Food Court (very top floor), rather than going down there to the toilet, you’re gonna head straight onto the end. There will be an unattended, convenient chapel room. You could probably hold a rave there and no-one would ever know. Still, whether you want just to poke your nose in, or show your devotion, this place is at least worth seeing whilst you’re at the Shopping Centre. Read the full ins and outs here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/essex/content/articles/2009/01/28/sacred_spaces_lakeside_feature.shtml

4. Walk around the outside!
Google StreetView of one of the gardens with sculptures, from the road in

Google StreetView of one of the gardens with sculptures, from the road in

Although you’ll usually find yourself navigating the shops and hallways inside the building, take a step outside. The immediate outskirts around the edges of the building make for an interesting urban walk. With the feeling  that at times that you’re going where you shouldn’t, you will walk past the loading bays and climb the steps linking these areas to the main courtyards. the various courtyards also uncover various small gardens, dedication plaques, and gardens. The whole greatness of this is purely discovering areas to Lakeside you never before would have thought existed.

3.  Alexandra Lake
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A standard view of the lake

Built next to the Shopping Centre, it features as the centre for the view at the Boardwalk restaurants. Of man-made origin, this lake provides a natural haven of beauty among the site of the shopping centre. Boat rides can be taken out onto the lake, whilst it’s also home to a local diving and water sports centre, whose ‘house’ can be seen opposite the centre. It makes for a great walk, with signs highlighting the various nature visible around it.

2. Chafford Gorge + Davy Down Nature Reserves
The Victorian viaduct at Davy Down

The Victorian viaduct at Davy Down

Transformed from chalk industry giants of the 20th Century, these huge craters in the landscape now form nature reserves due to the mineral-rich soils. What’s more, is that water collects in the bases of them, forming lakes. One of these can be walked to after ten minutes, as soon as you cross the Lakeside c2c railway footbridge. Davy Down is not a former gorge, remaining untouched since the Victorian era. North of the main road above the shopping centre, this reserve is home to a large brick viaduct and ornate pumping station.

1. Rooftop Carpark Views
One of the the multi-storey car parks

One of the the multi-storey car parks

Providing excellent views across the Thames, and to the QE2, this legal-yet-unconventional viewpoint requires finding any of the multi-storey car parks which are relatively vacant (not essential) and therefore at a quiet time of year and day (if you want to enhance the experience by having the roof to yourself). Simply climb the stairs until you get to the top. It really is spectacular, and free – plus, it feels like you shouldn’t be there to heighten the fun (even though it’s fine!).

What’s In-store for Lakeside? (pardon the pun!)

The future of Lakeside, and new ‘intu’ re-branding, sees a number of plans for future upgrade. this includes a foot-bridge across the lake (trust me that would be handy!) and lakeside hotel. Numerous new stores will also be on the near-future’s horizon.

An artist's rendering of the lake hotel

An artist’s rendering of the lake hotel