Unearth – Explore – Enlighten
Beyond the Point is an award winning organisation dedicated to revealing the unseen history of South-East Essex. Our mission is to archive and record the historic remains in your local area and to enlighten local residents on their local history. Our direct and hands-on approach sees the ‘BTP Boys’ adventure out and about to film, photograph and discover the local area. Our excursions cover many areas within Essex and beyond, discovering old structures and surviving remnants from the past. In addition to these unseen areas, we also have a keen interest in going behind the scenes and covering unique perspectives of more well known historic sites.
Beyond the Point was founded in 2011 by Canvey Island born and bred teenagers Joe Mander and Liam Heatherson. Aged 14 at the time, we enjoyed discovering and learning about our local history and wanted to share our discoveries with others. Within two years of running the site, we were awarded with the prestigious titles of ‘Best Online Community Website’ and ‘Best National Archive 2012′. Four years on we have done numerous presentations for community groups, held stalls at several community events and have even been involved in the campaign launch for ‘Explore Your Archive’ which was held at the Houses of Parliament.
We are enthusiastic to get other teenagers involved and work hard towards our digital media approach. We produce documentaries on the locations that we visit, entirely shot and edited by ourselves and also heavily photograph the sites to keep a permanent recollection of them.
Meet the BTP Boys
I’m BTP Liam. I love Beyond the Point because it brings the hidden secrets of the haunts and landscapes we grew up into one place online for all to see. It’s been a great way to make sense of the world around us, and documents our upbringing as much as it does the places we feature. Aside from the outdoors and exploring, I have many interests:
Social history has always fascinated me developing from an interest at a young age. I am very passionate that the sights, sounds, and objects from localised life in the past is what gets new enthusiasts hooked. Whilst wide-scale politics and government shape this, sometimes this is wrongly viewed as a superior form of History. I am currently studying History at the University of Exeter.
Creating artwork has always been a fond pastime of mine. I paint, sketch, and make models both professionally and as a hobby when I get time, and have painted several murals along Canvey Island seawall. Music is one of my greatest passions. I’ll give most things a try but my heart has always been set on the blues; prompted by Canvey Island’s own Dr. Feelgood. Their visions of ‘Oil City’ add a new layer of atmosphere the River Thames.
Liam’s website: www.LiamHeatherson.Wordpress.com/
Hello all it’s Joe here! Like Liam, I also have many other interests putting the local history and outdoor exploring aside. My career is my dream job – a camera man for ITV News London.
It was BTP which really started to excel my skills, getting my hands on a camera for every trip. Since an early age I have always been inspired by videos and films, in particular documentaries. Since getting hands on with a video camera, things have grown massively. Beyond the Point started with a cheap and chunky camcorder and how has state-of-the-art professional equipment. At work I don’t know where I’ll be going or who I’ll be meeting each day – so I’m all over London!
Aside from ITN and BTP, I’m still most likely to be filming something! Until recently I was the video content manager at Canvey Island Football Club, finishing after two seasons due to work and BTP commitments.
Joe’s website: www.JoeMander.com
It’s a date that we celebrate every year with a big slice of cake. July 2011 was the start of this ongoing adventure for the BTP boys. After setting off on a bike ride, we decided to create a blog to record our expeditions. From this day onwards the site grew and grew and has gone on to pick up awards and also make a real difference in the local heritage sector.
Don’t have a clue what we’re on about? Let’s leave it there…
The end of 2011 marked the launch of our interactive map. We wanted a more creative way of allowing people to explore their local history and this was the solution. People could navigate around their local area and learn what remains are left; reading about the history of them and seeing old photographs.
Still wanting to get the most out of all things digital, we opted into the Amazon Associates Program which allowed to create an online shop by promoting items from other sellers. We added many trustworthy products which were perfect for any explorer, ranging from fingerless gloves to Mud Men DVD boxsets.
Pushing the limits of our video production, we went all out to produce a comprehensive 60 minute feature on the history of Canvey Island. The DVD was released with acclaim from local residents who It’s fair to say that our video efforts have come a significant way since but this event marked a big change in the quality of our future productions. Janet Penn from the Canvey Island Community Archive said “As 15 year old school boys they have outdone themselves. They have left no stone unturned in their quest for the history of the Island and the final DVD is well worth a look.”
We are always very keen to attend community events and June 2012 marked our first one which was in celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Since then we have had numerous stalls at the Essex Records Office and beyond.
It was announced at the Community Archives and Heritage Group annual conference in London, that Beyond the Point was the best community archive, nationally. In addition to winning this overall award, we were also named the Best Online Heritage Site. There were 35 submissions to the Community Archive and Heritage Awards for work done in 2012 and this award was a real statement to our hard work.
The Archives and Records Association and The National Archives teamed up to create a new campaign raising awareness of archives and their value to society. Winning our Community Archive Award the same year, we had the pleasure of visiting the Houses of Parliament to speak with MP’s and historians about being apart of this sector.
Our biggest overhaul since we founded Beyond the Point in 2011 saw many changes. Our website had a complete revamp with a whole new look, enabling people to learn about their local history much more easily. Many new features added such as a ‘then and now’ tool and also an update location search feature. Dozens of new historic locations were added and a lot of the content was modernised.