A MURAL celebrating 400 years of the Dutch settlement on Canvey has been unveiled on the island’s seawall.

In September, the Benfleet and District Historical Society hosted a 400th birthday special for the Dutch Cottage, on Canvey Road, which has been a prominent feature on the island since it was built.

And after attending the celebration, Colin Letchford, former independent councillor, and chairman of the Friends of Concord Beach, was so impressed, he decided to commission a new mural for Canvey’s seawall.

The seawall is flooded with murals, many marking the island’s history while others highlight the Canvey community.

It is hoped the mural will act as a reminder to residents of the Dutch involvement in Canvey’s history, as well as encouraging passers-by to visit the cottage.

Cindy Letchford, Colin’s wife, said: “Colin went to the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the building of the Dutch Cottage earlier this year.

“He was so impressed he commissioned Richard Aston to paint a mural of the cottage. He hopes it will encourage people to visit the cottage which is administered by the Benfleet and District Historical Society.”

Artist Richard Aston was officially commissioned to paint to the mural.

Castle Point Council is credited with “saving” the cottage in 1963 by turning it into a museum - and has carried on maintaining it since.

The Benfleet and District Horticultural Society now looks after the cottage and volunteers open it in the summer.

About 300 Dutch men came over to build the sea wall on Canvey and 200 settled on the island and built their own church in 1628.

Historians say, if the Dutch had not drained the soil and built the sea wall, there would be no Canvey today.

In the 16th sixteenth and the beginning of the 17th seventeenth century massive floods were washing away the soil of the five islands which made up Canvey.

The Benfleet and District Historical Society can reveal, Julius Sludder a Dutch man, owner of the Hill Farm area, is named as the person who could have built the 1618 Dutch Cottage.

Sir Henry Appleton, Julius Sludder and the other land owners on Canvey, knew that if nothing was done to stop the sea they would lose their land. Joas Croppenburg a wealthy Dutch haberdasher financed the reclaiming of the Canvey land in return for one third of all the land reclaimed and made safe.

There was a stipulation in the agreement that it would be made void should any breaches in the sea walls remain unrepaired within a year of being built.

The wall was maintained for nearly 200 years.

A huge amount of Canvey’s seawall is now covered in murals, with more than 200ft dedicated to a depiction of the infamous 1953 floods.

Murals also include a painting paying homage to “the best local band in the world”, Dr Feelgood and a mural honouring Second World War heroes, as well as the mysterious “Canvey is Englands Lourdes” dating back to 1985.