Post Cards of the Wintergardens area of Canvey Island

By David Bullock

These Post Cards give a rare glimpse as to how the Wintergardens area was developed around 1900 by Frederick Hester. It included an indoor greenhouse 'Wintergarden' area with tropical plants, resturants and a railway. There was also a horse drawn mono rail that went from Wintergardens along Somnes Ave to Seaview Road. The Hester story will be featured elsewhere on the site in the near future.

Photo:'Temple Bar' Cattle Grid
Photo:Winter Gardens Path - This isn't Leigh Beck as marked because the building middle right became Lunns Stores. The wooden cattle grid was replaced by a thick concrete wall (anyone know when?) and is known as 'Temple Bar' after the more lavish London landmark!
Photo:The Concrete 'Temple Bar' complete with step & spikes both later removed including this section of wall. Only the out of sight here left hand wall remains. Here Lunns Store has been added as well as Wintergardens club.
Photo:Wintergardens - Powells Store
Photo:View from Winter Gardens Path - Tea Gardens / E.W.LUNN Stores. The 'Refreshments' building was previously known as 'Corner House' as it was on the corner of Station Approach & Central Avenue. Hester's Winter Gardens greenhouse complex was behind this building.
Photo:Frederick Hester's Wintergardens Mono Rail. This went along side Wintergardens path and finished in Leigh Beck near Coxy's Store.
Photo:Frederick Hester's Wintergardens Mono Rail.
Photo:Hester's Mono Rail seen here in the now Somnes Avenue area. Wintergardens Path can be seen behind on the old Sea Wall.
Photo:Hester's Swiss bungalow as seen from Wintergardens path. This was opposite Lunns Stores.
Photo:Hester's Swiss bungalow complete with "water machine". There was a tap in this area up until the 1970's.
Photo:Hester's Swedish Bungalow in 1922 (See Rear of Card)
Photo:Swedish Bungalow 1922 (Rear of Card)
Photo:Inside Hester's Wintergardens Palace.
Photo:Inside Hester's Wintergardens Palace.
Photo:Inside Hester's Wintergardens Palace - The Tea Room.
Photo:Inside Hester's Wintergardens Palace - The Tea Room.
Photo:Wintergardens 1903 - Was this the double apexed building the other side of Central Avenue?
Photo:Wintergardens Costume Carnival.
Photo:Knightswick Farm.
Photo:The Ballroom in the Knightswick Farm Barn.
This gallery was added by David Bullock on 09/02/2008.
Comments about this page

I was brought to Winter Gardens as a child at the end of WW2. We arrived on the back of a cart pulled by Farmer Lea, but had to unload at the concrete tank trap on the sea wall. We shared a timber house with another family and the earth privy under the high trees and the noisy rookery - we had no electricity. I remember having to walk to school along the top of the old Dutch sea wall. Then it was a rural paradise with the ebb and flood of tides, the saltings, wrecks of old boats and open vistas to the Essex downs over the water.

By david wilson
On 22/09/2010

We moved to Canvey in 1952, having previously holidayed there.  We lived in a little timber roughcast house in Winter Gardens, and although it was some years later, it looked very similar to these pictures.  "The Path" as it was known, was our road into "town" or our walk or bike ride to Benfleet.  We  regularly shopped at Lunn's stores.  I still recall the smell of paraffin and bacon!  When I was a teenager I used to go dancing at Victor Sylvestor's Studio at the old Odeon in Southend.  Coming home I would get off the train in Benfleet and then walk home, along the road, then left onto "The Path", and after a mile or so, cut across the sheep fields, climbing two styles,  bending down to try to make out the grass "bridges" over the dykes.This walk was always alone, as none of my friends lived in that part of the island.  I can just imagine kids doing that now! Canvey was a magical place to grow up, and I lived and worked there for 50 years, but saddened by the over development we moved to Suffolk 13 years ago.  We now live in a little village that reminds me so much of Canvey in its glory days.  

By Anne Keys
On 04/11/2014

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