The King Canute Pub

BTP Joe 04/06/2014
The current building c.1960 courtesy of Norman Chisman

The current building c.1960 courtesy of Norman Chisman

The King Canute pub is situated in Canvey village, and has been there in some form since roughly 1867, around the era when Canvey village was being constructed. It’s name was changed from the Red Cow after the 1953 North Sea Floods, hence the new sign in the photograph. Beyond the Point recently interviewed Mr. Ray White, who was on National Service in the summer of 1952, and was told about a possible emergency Operation King Canute which would be enacted if there was a major flooding disaster. One of the depots where the Amy would be stationed for reparation was what is now known as the now King Canute pub. The Operation took it’s name from the King Canute, or ‘Cnut the Great’, an old Saxon King was said to be able to hold back the tide with his power. At this time, the pub was still called the Red Cow, but after the floods it was named after the national operation, in 1953, because the pub within Canvey village was built on a high-point on the Island which escaped the flooding (due to the old St. Katherine’s church that the village was built around, built on the highest point in the days when the Island was still subject to frequent flooding).

Mr. Henry Noakes with the new pub sign, the Licensee of the pub at the time

Mr. Henry Noakes with the new pub sign, the Licensee of the pub at the time (Courtesy of Canvey Island Community Archive)

The earliest known public house named the Red Cow, that lasted up until the construction of the current building in 1937, may or may not have been its first venue, and possibly could or could not have been constructed around 1867 when the beer house was first recorded. It was served for a long period by Charrington’s, the widespread London-based brewery (first established around 1757 shown in the sign above), up until 2014, although possibly not since the public house was first founded.

Below are some photographs of the early Red Cow, courtesy of  Canvey Island Community Archive:

The current building was built in 1937 and features contemporary Art Deco architecture. It was announced it would be closed down as a public house, and did so on the 18th of May 2014. We managed to get some photographs of the building whilst being shuttered over a few days later, several show rare viewpoints. All the photographs can be seen here:

We have begun a video documentary which will appear in this page in the near future, investigating the pub and its recent demise. It was recently revealed that it would fortunately not be demolished and instead would be turned into a convenience store with exterior intact.



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  • R mayhew
    April 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Nice vidio of the king canute

    • April 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Thanks – glad you like it!


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