Posted: March 28, 2015 by BTP Liam in Case Study, Local Event
Tags: 1700s, 1953 Floods, 20th Century, Abandoned, Adventure, Beyond the Point TV, Boat, Castle Point, Hadleigh Downs, Industrial, Leigh, Liam, Other Coastal Defences, Pillbox/Bunker, Two Tree Island, World War, WW2
Two Tree Island was reclaimed from the Thames in the late 1700’s and was used as farmland until 1910 when a sewage works was constructed on part of the site. These sewage works were used for the majority of the 20th century. During the North Sea Floods of 1953 two of the sewage workers had to be rescued by boat from a shed roof on the Island. From 1936 the entire island was used as a landfill site and continued until 1974, when only a smaller section was used for landfill. It is believed the sewage works stood there roughly up until this time. Soon after it was capped and re-seeded with grass. Like Canvey Heights, once also a tip, and Canvey Wick, once an oil-refinery, it is land which saw former use by man which often becomes the most appealing to wildlife.
Little is known about the sewage works and its structure on the island, so please contact us or comment below if you have any useful information or even photographs.
Mallards in the old sewage works reservoir
Great tits at the feeding post
A vole scavenging fallen seeds
Geograph contains several photographs of the Island in 1987 when it first became a nature-reserve
For a long time, the site was known as Leigh Marsh, although more recently, the site has been known as Two Tree Island as it was less-commonly known historically. Today the site is a nature haven and country park. At the peak of the Second World War, a pillbox was constructed on the eastern edge of the island, looking out across the Thames. This survived the war and is still there today for fellow explorers to visit, although over the years it’s become a victim to severe weathering. Since our first visit in 2011 its roof has nearly entirely caved in.
The sewage works
Posted: February 15, 2015 by BTP Joe in News, Up-Coming Event, Website Update
Tags: Beyond the Point, Canvey, Castle Point, Introduction, Joe, New, News, Occidental Refinery/Jetty, Press/Media, Publicity, Website, Welcome, Your BTP
Hello Beyond The Point readers! Liam and I are excited to announce the launch of a new scheme called ‘Your BTP’. We recently released ‘iBTP‘ which allows you to follow in our footsteps and re-create the BTP visit yourself, by using our iBTP map and guide. ‘Your BTP’ connects you with Beyond The Point even more, although in a slightly different way.
Over the past three and a half years of running Beyond the Point, we have met so many people, all of which have an incredible passion for their local history – they might have been part of history themselves, or just hold a strong interest in it. We’ve been thinking for a while about how we can get people even more integrated with Beyond the Point, and Your BTP is the way forward. The scheme works by people writing their own memories and tales (or sending us some old photographs/video clips) on the area’s that we cover; perhaps you’ve grown up here, have some old family photos of the area or even worked at the one of the places that we’ve featured like the Fisons Factory for example. Then, you can send in your memories to us so that we can publish them on our website. A new tab will be created at the top of the website where we will publish the articles, allowing all of our website visitors to view and comment on them.
Beyond the Point is a unique community archive, in that our community is South-East Essex and is expanding further afield. We’ve covered so many sites across Essex and ‘beyond the point’ at Kent ;), including Runwell Hospital, Rainham Marshes, The Imperial War Museum, The Gherkin, Wartime Southend and many more. The amount of people that have passed through these places with their own unique story of the place is incredible, and we would like that archive those memories for the future. So whether you’re from Canvey, London, Tilbury or somewhere else – why not send us in your memories?
If you would like to write an article for our website or send us in any old photos or video clips, then please send them via the Contact Page, or email them to us at BeyondthePoint@mail.com
Posted: January 16, 2015 by BTP Liam in Case Study, Local Event, Other Websites/Organisations
Tags: 1700s, 20th Century, Abandoned, Archaeology, Archeological Finds, Greater Essex, Liam, London, Military, Museum
Purfleet Heritage & Military Centre is a museum set up inside Magasine No.5 from the Royal Magasine of Gunpowder. This MOD magazine (which means an explosives and ammunition store) was contracted in 1759, consisting of five buildings, plus a proof house for testing the explosive. Four of the magasines, which would have held up to 10,400 barrels of gunpowder, were left in a derelict overgrown state until they were demolished when Thurrock Council bought the site off of the MOD. The magasines were part of a larger Ministry of Defence site covering what is now Rainham Marshes Reserve. See our visit here: http://beyondthepoint.co.uk/historic-locations/east-tilbury-and-west/rainham-marshes-firing-range-ww1/
The remaining magasine – now the heritage centre
The centre back in the 70s, denoted by the painted ‘5’ on the front
The remains of the jetty for shipping the explosives
View down the display-packed interior
Original numbering on the US-imported rafters
A Spigot-mortar mount used bu the Home Guard in WW2
We decided to take the train down one Monday to see the museum. The 300 year-old timbers that line the floor and rafters still remain, and were imported from America because they were the only timbers long enough to be carved into the required shape. The museum does a commendable job of retaining the original look and feel of the building, such as the original painted numbers on the timber, whilst accounting for the modern-day appeal of the exhibits. There is still a huge attic spanning the length of the building used for storage filled with tons of original sand to contain an accidental explosion.
Bicycle ridden by a soldier who lost a limb fighting
Weapons from the Zulu War of the late 1800s. The British standard-issue Martini-Henry rifle seen here preceeded the Lee-Enfield used in both World Wars
An anderson shelter restored nicely
Old radios, and lots of em
Replica bouncing bomb used by the ‘Dam Busters’
Into a WW1 dugout – one of the many impressive immerse exhibits at the museum
Alan Gosling decided to save the building, and I was fortunate enough to speak to him on our visit. He explained how the museum has to work the displays around the preservation of the listed building. It became a museum in 1992, housing an impressive collection of artifacts and displays relating to both the magazine itself and local history, as well as British military history from the 19th Century, such as the Zulu War, through to the two world wars and beyond. The scale of the interior is huge and it is entirely full with displays and artifacts; there is plenty to see! The welcoming atmosphere of the building was finished off with some appropriate wartime music and enthusiasts dressed in British infantry uniform from the Second World War who were stopping by.
Visit the centre’s website and check their opening times at http://www.purfleet-heritage.com/
Posted: January 2, 2015 by BTP Liam in Case Study, Event Review, Various
Tags: Adventure, Beyond the Point TV, First World War, First World War Centenary, iBTP, Liam, London, Maps, Other Coastal Defences, Pillbox/Bunker, satellight images, Thurrock, Tour, Transport, WW1
The Rainham/Purfleet area has been in use by man since the days of the so –called ‘Cavemen’. You can see some of the petrified tree trunks still remaining today from a 6,000 year-old Neolithic forest, opposite the very northern end of Wennington Marsh, in the Thames foreshore. However, much of Rainham came to use in the last few centuries by the Ministry of Defence on Aveley Marsh; this is what we investigated with guests Luke Baker and Michael Clark, paying a visit to the now RSPB-owned nature reserve.
The article following has been designed in manner which both documents our visit, informs readers on the location, and offers advice enabling you to make a visit yourself as part of our ‘iBTP’ scheme. If you do wish to visit, follow the numbers on the satellite map below which correspond to the places mentioned in the following article. We recommend you download and print our ‘printer-friendly’ trail-guide version of the article found below the map. Please note trail shown on map is not to be followed religiously. May contain errors or be subject to change over time. Please note the historic structures shown in the article are not accessible and are on potentially dangerous land. However, they can be clearly viewed at leisure from the footpaths.
Purfleet Train Station (not to be confused with Rainham Station further down the river) is part of the C2C train line. It will take you towards London or Southend-on-Sea. Trains only run roughly once an hour so make sure you plan a train. Alternatively you can drive and park in the Rainham Nature Reserve car-park next to the visitor’s centre. The reserve has been designed with nature in mind, although with respect to the sites heritage, so the marshes are well worth a visit if bird-watching or any other kind of wildlife enthusiasm is of interest to you.
- Purfleet Heritage & Military Centre is a museum set up inside 1759 Magasine No.5 from the Royal Magasine of Gunpowder Check opening times here: http://www.purfleet-heritage.com/pages/contact.html We took some video footage and photographs during our visit, and were fortunate enough to speak to founder Alan Gosling. We will release a short video and more in-depth article on the building in the near future which will be linked here.
- Rainham Marshes Visitors Centre was built around 2006 after the MOD land was bought and cleared by the RSPB in 2000. It has a café and toilet facilities, and houses views of the marshes as well as its own impressive architecture. We visited and the food/facilities were respectable and ideally located.
- The Anti-Submarine Blockhouse can be found at the end of one of the longest sections of the walk (around 10 minutes) which takes you to the western side of the central reserve. However, you can appreciate views of the Thames from here, also ideal for bird watching. This is a pillbox-type outpost made of brick and concrete, although much larger than conventional pillboxes, and is the first sign of the areas use during the First World War. It is said that in March 1916, decoy beacons were lit on Wennington Marsh, and the structure shot down a German zeppelin via the machine gun that would’ve been mounted on its roof. It remains in fair condition, but is water-logged and inaccessible.
The anti-sub blockhouse – very big!
Inside the blockhouse
Possible owl pellet or other bird
Metal shutter still intact
Rooftop access to where the machine gun once lay had long gone
- The Firing Ranges span across the green line marked on the map, and divide the two marshes. The war department created this rifle range in 1906, and the structures you see today were built in 1915. The firing range sheds (‘mantlets’) remain, which were where the target-mechanism operators would stand, as does one of the three ‘butts’ (the area in which the targets are set up). The target area (butt/backwall), made up of a brick ‘Aztec-looking’ plinth with wooden numbers on, is visible from path. Its size means it can be seen across most of the reserve. It is on private land and inaccessible to the public. The surface of the remaining butt is littered with quite sizable bullet-holes in the brickwork, probably inflicted by the standard issue service rifle of the time – the Lee-Enfield and its .303 calibre bullets. The firing sheds (mantlets) were on private land and are inaccessible. They were made of metal and still held original wooden seats and other decor, as well as a corrugated iron shed. The mantlet roof was covered with earth from the bank to protect the target-mechanism operators from fire coming at the back-wall overhead. They span the entire western side of the central reserve in two sections. The green line on our map above marks their location. They were highly impressive.
All original from 1915
Near the blockhouse in the ditch
The attached shed
The film crew and guest explorers
Markings in the concrete
The bullet holes
Guest explorer Michael Clark
- The Cordite Store was a large magazine building that once stood on the square area extant today. You can see the blast mound around the outside of this which would’ve contained an accidental explosion. We can imagine this must have been an immense building when it stood, more like some form of hangar or hall than a store-room.
- Only one of the eight Anti-Aircraft Ammunition Magasines remains today; ruined and overgrown just north of the visitors centre. The rest were demolished shortly after the RSPB gained the land in 2000. It lies off of the main footpath and is not accessible to the public. It was surprisingly large and had a small walkway between the blastwall and the exterior of the main structure. Window-frames inside were still present although no other features survived. You can see all eight magasines in the 1940 image at the bottom of the post.
The remaining AA ammo store and blast-wall
Filming the documentary
Inside the AA ammo store
The team; BTP Liam Heatherson, Luke Baker, Michael Clark, BTP Joe Mander
The marsh in 1940
That concludes the trail. If you decided to follow it you can now return to the Visitors Centre or go straight back to the C2C train station. Beyond the Point certainly enjoyed our visit and found it highly fascinating. First-time heritage-explorer Michael Clark said the trip was “thrilling; history meets adventure, and it really captivated me”, in the same way that BTP Joe and Liam were by their numerous adventures into remaining glimpses of the past.
The sign that inspired the BTP logo
The sign used for the BTP logo after photo-shopping. Our original logo by Alex Evans
BTP Liam and Joe wish you a very happy and healthy new year. In 2014, Beyond the Point probably found itself establishing the high quality of content it holds today. Joe’s television-quality video equipment was firmly introduced to make our documentaries as professional as possible. Liam has focused on ensuring a high quality of presentation of our photographs and articles. The top menu bar on the website has seen drastic improvement, with a ‘News’ and ‘General History’ bar added, as well as others in the ‘More BTP section’ to modernise of all our past content, by ensuring it can be accessed readily. Likewise, the ‘Local Heritage’ section, which is pivotal to our site, has been added to and filled out as it lay with many sections blank for quite some time, as well many of our visits now receiving a place on the main website. We also welcomed the introduction of ‘iBTP’ late in 2014 which enables you to discover first hand for yourselves (visit the ‘Interactive Map’ and keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow).
Regarding the future of the BTP boys, we have a prosperous year ahead. Joe will be taking up a lifetime-opportunity apprenticeship at ITN in January, to further his media expertise developed to a professional-level via trial and error in his time at Beyond the Point, and more recently at Canvey Island Football Club where he holds the position of Video Content Manager, creating and running their YouTube Channel. He also passed his driving test and got a car recently, meaning Beyond the Point will be able to have more trips to further locations during the next year. We celebrated this yesterday by taking a drive to visit the site of our very first explore, which was responsible for the creation of BTP months later in 2011. Myself (Liam) will be finishing my A-levels up to completion of the exams in May, and afterwards I hope I will have time for many exciting explores, tours, and more for the website, when I will have a very long Summer holiday indeed! In September I will be moving away and taking a History degree at University where I can further my fascination from BTP, focusing it on areas of interest relevant to the environment that surrounds me today. University life will be more suited for me to carry on BTP however as the longer holidays mean more time to cram in visits, which I can plan and write-up whilst away at the university.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for BeyondthePoint.co.uk.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Posted: December 25, 2014 by BTP Liam in Various
Tags: Adventure, Beyond the Point, Liam, Maps, Museum, New, News, Publicity, Website, Welcome
BTP would like to wish you, and your friends and family, a very merry Christmas, and all the best health and happiness. Check below for our Christmas Message giving a glimpse of what’s in-store for the new year…
What’s next for BTP 2015?
As for exploration, we have a visit to Rainham Marshes’ Ministry of Defence ruins on its way imminently. This will be continuing our partnership with the Imperial War Museum & the First World War Centenary. We will be visiting further sites relating the Great War such as an archaeological expedition to the site of Coryton’s thought lost munitions factory. We have recently visited Dover Castle and the abandoned former Castle View School; both exclusive permission visits, and are currently processing our content from these trips for release in Q1 of 2015.
Finally we would like to unveil a new innovation – ‘iBTP’. iBTP will be a way in which you can experience Beyond the Point first hand. Soon as Beyond the Point cannot house its archaeological exhibits in a museum (they might be a little too large!), we are going to be making it easier for you to visit the places we cover. Our Interactive Map has recently seen a major update, and now has a large portion of the places we have visited on, allowing you to find what treasures are nearest to you. Secondly, we will be publishing iBTP Guides with many of our articles; essentially printer-friendly versions of our articles, complete with a map and route plan. Due to the nature of some of the sites we visit, not all places will receive this special treatment, but those found within public, safe grounds will do. Whenever you see the iBTP banner next to our content, you know you can plan to follow in our footsteps with ease.