Caught by the River


Ken Worpole | 18th August 2019

OutPost is an artist-led project based on a number of artists’ enthusiasm for certain areas of Essex. Originally initiated to draw attention to little-known corners of the county, OutPost offers poignant links to local historical events and legends. Taking their work directly out into the community using semi-permanent displays positioned in remote venues, OutPost aims to engage the public in these unique,  and often overlooked locations and narratives.

Participants, all with strong links to Essex, include Ronald Blythe, James Canton, Ian Cooper, Paul Hammond, Heidi Jukes, Gary Lawrence, Simon Keenleyside, Richard Mabey, Robert Macfarlane, Adrian May, Andrew Motion, Rachel Spender, Philip Terry, Ultramarine, Mark Wallinger, Becky Willis & Ken Worpole.

Ken Worpole presents an illustrated version of his essay, The legacy of the English Deluge (New Statesman 21/01/19), studying the effects of the great flood of 1953 on Canvey Island. Situated on the side of the Old Ambulance Station, by the seawall at Concord Beach, Canvey Island, the work demonstrates the legacy of the great catastrophe, in particular focusing on archivist Hilda Grieve and her detailed account of the flood, regarded today as a great work of social history. A minute by minute narrative of the night’s events, the documentary record is haunting and prescient. A flood which ‘has been largely forgotten’ it ‘contains invaluable lessons as to how people and organisations react in the face of unexpected natural disasters, of which more are to be expected in the coming decades’.

Aside from being a regular Caught by the River contributor, Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, whose family moved from the East End to Canvey Island in 1950, where he attended Long Road Primary School.  His many books include two collaborations with photographer Jason Orton on the 20th century Essex landscape.  

This ‘Outpost’ will be exhibited at Concord Beach, Canvey Island from 2nd August – 5th Oct.

Further information here.