Comments about this page

Hi Jan

Excellent piece about the lighthouse. Frank Whitnall was history master at Furtherwick Park School and a great friend of my Dad's. The article could probably have come from the Essex Countryside magazine as he also wrote a piece for them about the Wilberforce House. In the late 1970's early 1980's he took up a headmastership at Bury St Edmonds.

Re the Lighthouse, a couple of years ago I was chatting to Johnny Baker [now sadly passed away] who told me that he worked for Malcom Hammond when they de-commissioned the Lighthouse and several of the legs were swinging free of the mud.They were also working from the original plans which were, I believe, given to my Dad for safe-keeping and should be at the Heritage Centre.


By graham stevens
On 10/08/2008

Interesting about the screwpile structure being invented by a blind man...extrordinary.
Would love to get hold of a picture of a clipper ship being towed past the Chapman Light. Even the Thames barges were a facinating sight. I do remember seeing two of them still operating out there in 1943. Very picturesque.
One morning in 1944 I woke up and looked out my bedroom window to take my daily glance at the lighthouse, to see hundreds, yes hundreds of ships, big and small, lined up packed close together stretching from Southend Pier to out of sight towards Gravesend. I called mum to have a look. We had no idea what they were there for. Then of course D Day began soon after. Then the doodlebugs started. All hell seemed to break loose around that time.
We think a doodlebug actually fell out near the lighthouse one night after tea. Mum threw us under the kitchen table and sprawled herself across us when it conked out. We counted to ten...and we were still alive, so it went into the mud somewhere.

By Stan Pierce
On 27/08/2008

Hi Stan

What a sight that must have been with all those D Day ships - I wonder if any Mulberry Harbour sections were amongst them


By David Bullock
On 29/08/2008

I have vivid memories of the Chapman light,as we called it,and remember,as a boy,with my aunt boarding the small pleasure boat called "The Summer Rose" from a small jetty at Shellbeach in the late 1940's and going for a trip round the lighthouse and the skipper giving the keeper his daily paper as we passed the ladder.Also was'nt the seawall much lower then!

Ian Newman

By Ian Newman
On 05/09/2008

I am unable to add further information about the lighthouse but I do hold a pencil drawing of it. This is by a Sam J. M. Brown & dates from about 1920. It also features a Thames Sailing Barque & a steam ship.

By George Gill
On 08/09/2008

I thought people might be interested to know that this lighthouse is also mentioned in Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' at the beginning when they are on a yacht on the Thames. The passage reads.. "The Chapman Lighthouse, a three-legged thing erect on a mud-flat, shone strongly." I was studying this in my English class and realised I lived there! V. Interesting to find out about it properly on this website.

By Amber
On 16/02/2010

Great site... My 3x Great Grandfather was a Principal Light House Keeper here at Chapman in 1881 (In 1871 he was at St Annes light house in Pembrokeshire, Wales and in 1861 he was at Casquets Light House, Alderney, Channel Islands as an assistant light house keeper.) His name was George Staples. :-)

By Daniel Filtness
On 08/04/2010

A friend told me a few years ago (someone correct me if im wrong) that after it was dismantled it ended up at a scrap yard at the Point opp Canvey Supply by the roundabout.

By jay arnold
On 14/10/2010

Very interesting article and comments on the Chapman Sands lighthouse. I was particularly interested because I bought an oil painting by Henry Redmore (famed marine artist 1820 - 1887 from Hull) which I now know depicts the lighthouse (in red) with a collection of boats in the foreground, some with fishermen pulling nets. It is quite an evocative work and was once on loan to the Royal Academy.

By Steven Beasley
On 11/02/2014

A silver model of the lighthouse was also presented to Her Majesty the Queen by Bernard Griffiths of the Canvey Island RNLI branch. This was I believe around 11" tall and crafted by Morris (forget his last name) of Eastern Esplande, Canvey. I remember seeing B/W pictures of the model in Bernard's photo albums pre 1980, but not sure on the actual dates.

By Phil Wright
On 25/02/2014

Some years ago, like Steven Beasley, I bought a small oil painting showing what I take to be either the Maplin or the Chapman lighthouse, but it would be good to know which. Is there any way of telling? The artist was J A Kew and the date 1903.

By Jim Armstrong
On 27/03/2014

Hi Jim, The website referred to by Jan in the 1st paragraph is pretty useful for making comparisons of these screwpile lighthouses that existed along the Essex coast. It seems quite possible that the Chapman was the only one painted red (I remember the one on Mucking Flats nr Coalhouse Fort was dirty grey). Also you could compare your painting with the many pictures of the Chapman, especially by Harry Russell, in our Art section.

By Graham Stevens
On 28/03/2014

Hi Graham: Thank you for your help. The lighthouse in my picture is certainly red, the same colour as the original Forth Bridge, which I had assumed was just a standard Victorian corrosion-resistant treatment, and the structure is identical both to those pictured above and those of Harry Russell. Clearly it was a popular subject. Mine seems to show about half-tide, and there is nothing but water between the artist and the lighthouse but the background is very busy, with a couple of barques under sail, a steamer, a barge or two, and a pair of tugs. I do have a second picture by Kew but it shows only shipping, and so far I have been unable to find anything about him.

By Jim Armstrong
On 30/03/2014

I remember when I was a lad I used to play in the Lighthouse Keepers row boat while he was in the hotel collecting supplies and maybe having a beer or two. More than once he lifted us out of the boat because it had dropped with the tide to far below the jetty. He then got in it and rowed back to the Lighthouse

By keith
On 01/03/2015

I have one of the brass lion heads from the light house. 

By Suzanne Scott
On 12/05/2015

Can you send us a picture please Suzanne and do you know where abouts on the lighthouse it was placed?

By Janet Penn
On 12/05/2015

I have recently been told by someone who came to one of our talks that there were 2 local salvage companies. One was Pearce near Benfleet Station and the other was Hammond which could be found at The Point. One or possibly both of these companies may have been involved in breaking up the Chapman Lighthouse when it was removed in 1957.

By Janet Walden
On 06/10/2017