Canvey Island has had its up and downs. Archaeologists suggest in Anglo Saxon times it may have been five separate islands. The creek that it shares with Benfleet was certainly deep enough for the keels of the Viking invaders.
Once a malarial marshland it was won back from the sea by the enterprising Sir Henry Appleton and the financial and engineering support of a Dutchman Joas Croppenburg. Some Dutchmen stayed on as farmers and became an important element of the new community, but it remained isolated.
It was not until the 20th century that the ferry and the stepping stones (used to cross to the mainland at low tide) were replaced by a bridge.
In 1953 Canvey island was hit by the disastrous east coast floods that left 58 people dead. In this book, now 30 years old, the islands entire past is reviewed in a profusion of remarkable photographs.
By Geoff Barsby
This edition hardback published 1992