Osea Island

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Osea Island
Osea island 080307.jpg
Osea Island is located in Essex
Osea Island
Osea Island
 Osea Island shown within Essex
OS grid reference TL913065
District Maldon
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Maldon
Dialling code 07810
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 51°43′21″N 0°46′16″E / 51.7225°N 0.7711°E / 51.7225; 0.7711

Osea Island (Old English: Ōsgȳþes īeg, "Osyth's island"), formerly also Osey,[1] is an inhabited island in the estuary of the River Blackwater, Essex, East England. It is approximately 380 acres (1.5 km2) in size and is connected to the north bank of the river by a causeway, covered at high water.

Northey Island lies about a mile to the west and Mersea Island is about five miles to the north east.

Famous residents[edit]

Before 2004, the island had a small community of tenants such as the painter Luke Elwes, author Rodrick Kalberer, photographer Helene Binet and Den Phillips, and architect Raoul Bunschoten and philosopher David Papineau.


Military use[edit]

Map of Osea Island, also showing the causeway to the mainland.

Osea Island was the site of a Coastal Motor Torpedo Boat base during World War I and 2000 sailors were billeted there, mainly in temporary huts which were removed after the war.[2] Commander Agar was awarded the Victoria Cross while stationed on the island. See his book Baltic Episode for details .[3]

In 1913 the British Deperdussin Aeroplane Company tested a newly developed seaplane at Osea. It was a single-engined seaplane with two large floats. It was piloted by Lieutenant Porte, the managing director of the company, and took off from the deep water channel to the south of the island. It had a successful ten-minute flight.[2]

In World War II, the island was occupied by the army.[2]


The 1979 Children's Film Foundation film 'Black Island', produced by Kingsgate Films and directed by Ben Bolt, was shot on and around the island.[4] This rare film is not on general release but can be obtained from collectors. The film is about two young castaways who get captured by escaped convicts on the island, and their subsequent escape attempts.

Both the 1989 television adaptation of Susan Hill's novel The Woman in Black and the 2012 film adaptation of the same used the island's causeway as the location for the fictional Nine Lives Causeway.[5]

The island was used for auditions on the ITV1 show Superstar, filmed in early 2012 where it was known as Superstar island. It was the second episode and included eliminations. Andrew Lloyd Webber was casting for a new lead role, in his production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Melanie Chisholm, Dawn French and Jason Donovan were also on the panel.

Treatment centre[edit]

Osea Island holds a place in the history of drug and alcohol treatment in Britain. It was formerly owned by a member of the Charrington brewing family, Frederick Nicholas Charrington,[2] who also founded the Tower Hamlets Mission,[6] which continues to house a drug and alcohol treatment centre, Charis.

Charrington established a retreat for wealthy alcoholics on Osea Island, among whom it is rumoured that Walter Sickert was included.

From 2005 to 2010, it was a rehabilitation centre specializing in the treatment of addiction problems and mental health called the Causeway Retreat, managed by former nurse Brendan Quinn.

In 2008, Amy Winehouse checked into the rehab clinic on the island.

The Causeway Retreat was refused registration on 30 September 2010 by the Care Quality Commission, and Brendan Quinn was suspended as a nurse by the Nursing and Midwifery Council on 20 September 2010.[7] On 19 November 2010 Brendan Quinn's Twenty 7 Management, which had run the Causeway Retreat, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrate's Court, and was fined £8,000 plus £30,000 costs for running an unlicensed hospital.[8] District Judge David Cooper said the firm's standards "would really shame a third world country".[9]


  1. ^ Defoe, D (1772) Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England and London to Land's End, Lulu 2005 Edition P15
  2. ^ a b c d Fitch, Edward Arthur: Maldon And The River Blackwater. Gowers, undated.
  3. ^ Baltic Episode (Augustus Agar) Naval Institute Press, 1963
  4. ^ "British Films 1971–1981 - by Linda Wood". Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ daily mail[1]
  6. ^ Tower Hamlets Mission
  7. ^ Reasons for the Interim Order Hearing of the Investigating Committee, nmc-uk.org, October 2010 
  8. ^ CQC: Regulator successful in Causeway Retreat prosecution, cqc.org.uk 
  9. ^ "Essex celebrity rehab centre 'duped' patients". BBC News (London). 19 November 2010. 

External links[edit]