The walled island
Canvey Island lies in the Thames estuary in my native county of Essex. Its history was scarred by a devastating flood in 1953 which claimed 58 lives and led to the construction of miles of protective high sea walls.
I returned recently having visited relatives there as a child, but this was my first taste of Canvey’s walls and waterfront on a warm, humid summer’s day. It was full of daytripping families, some local voices peppered with Eastern European migrants. The painted walls tell the story of 1953 against the backdrop of amusements and cafes selling ice-cream and burgers.
The estuary landscape is stark but beautiful, with the crowds of people adding colour and life to photographs. It’s a place of both symmetry and the unpredictability of life.