The Essex Coast in watercolours #1 : Canvey Island

We share a love of Essex and the Essex coast with artist Tim Baynes, and we’re delighted to be able to post some of his watercolours on Essex Days out.

Tim-BaynesThis is the first – Canvey Island, where one half of the Essex Days Out team has family, and memories of childhood days out on the beach. And an adult memory of being on the beach with the children looking out over the estuary, at the same time as the other half of Essex Days Out was looking out over San Francisco Bay.

Here are Tim’s Canvey watercolours, with his words below. You can find out more about Tim on his website.

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Trevor and I both had a desire to visit Canvey Island. For him because Canvey Island is the birthplace of the rock band Dr Feelgood, for me it was another opportunity to make sideways celebration of the English seaside.

This is a town, which is connected to Essex via causeway and a land of gas and oil silos. Link for detail

Architecturally speaking there is little to commend the place. Homes with sea views have had these snatched away from then when a high concrete coastal defence was built around the whole perimeter of the coast.

We arrived on a grey mid-morning – ideal for beach combing amongst the cockles and mussels and oyster shells. Looking out to sea we saw the Kent coast on the other side of the Thames Estuary.

By midday the sky was a lot less the glum. The sun was shining and being the half term holidays people were starting to emerge. Outsized mums were driving pushchairs and their older offspring were bemoaning the fact that the funfair was not yet open

Trevor captured this crowd as if on assignment for the Sunday Times Magazine.

We went to Concord Beach, on the Eastern Esplanade. It was alive with families having fun. The Concord Beach Café provided excellent fish and chips and cups of tea; Trevor’s treat in lieu of petrol money.

We sat back to enjoy the view, and with T’s camera on self-timer we hold the moment; the sounds of kids, mums and grandparents drift across our table.

Canvey Island is a self-contained place, and out of the wind, it is warm and lovely as anywhere. We looked across the estuary towards Kent, with its containerships, a Thames barge, and various freighters jockeying for position on the water, this is still a working river.

‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’”

pictures copyright Tim Baynes