Canvey Island was drained and embanked by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden in the 17th century. Numerous Dutch workers and their families settled here and they built rather unusual octagonal cottages of which two still survive.
One cottage, in Haven Road, was built in 1621 and is still in private ownership. It has been restored and redecorated and looks most attractive.
The other cottage, further west along Canvey Road, was built in 1618 and is now run, on the Borough Council's behalf, by the Benfleet and District Historical Society as the Dutch Cottage Museum. Given to the then Canvey Island Urban District Council in 1952, it was restored, repainted and had its conical roof re-thatched ready for opening as a museum in 1962.
Further extensive restoration works have been carried out to the cottage. The rooms of the cottage, which include a living room, passage and large and small bedrooms, now contain a variety of exhibits that illustrate the history of Canvey Island, including models of the types of sailing craft which passed the Island from Roman times onward. Attached to the cottage is a new exhibition hall that houses the many exhibits (including the fine collection of corn dollies).
April-September: Wednesday/Sunday 13.00-16.00
September-April : Wednesdays 1300-16.00