The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 54 From London to Tilbury and Gravesend


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III. Via the north Bank of the Thames (London Midland & Scottish Railway, Tilbury and Southend branch). Trains from Fenchurch St. Station to Tilbury (22+ miles in +-1 hour) and thence by steam-ferry to Gravesend. To Tilbury, 2/6, 1/6; to Gravesend, 2/11, 1/9. This line traverses a somewhat squalid part of London, the seat of important manufactories. 1+ miles. Stepney. 2+ miles. Burdett Road; 3+ miles. Bromley: 4 miles. West Ham; 4+ miles. Plaistow; 5+ miles. Upton Park. 6+ miles. East Ham has an interesting 12th century church with an apse. 7+ miles. Barking, where once stood a celebrated and powerful abbey of Benedictine nuns, founded circa 670. Eastbury House (1 mile east), built circa 1555, and once the home of Lord Monteagle, is now the Barking Ex-Service Men's Club. 10+ miles. Dagenham Dock is near Dagenham Breach. The ministerial whitebait-dinners, afterwards transferred to Greenwich, were first held here in 1864, during the construction of the dock. 12+ miles. Rainham has a late-Norman church. At (16 miles) Purfleet are large gunpowder-magazines. 20 miles. Grays, or Gray's Thurrock, lies in a district of great interest to geologists, with curious chalk-pits to the north 21+ miles. Tilbury Docks. In the splendidly equipped docks here may be seen steamers of the largest class, many flying the ags of the Peninsular and Oriental, Orient, White Star, Atlantic Transport, City, Clan, and Bibby Lines. The system consists of a main dock with three branch docks, connected with a tidal basin by means of a lock, 700 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 38 feet deep on the inner sill. The south quay-wall of the main dock has recently been extended to a length of 2300 feet, and the water-area of the dock is now 90 acres. There are also two dry docks, 700 feet and 560 feet long respectively. A double deck jetty, 1000 feet long and 50 feet wide, 160 feet from the river bank, was completed in 1921, and very extensive other works are in course of construction. 22+ miles. Tilbury (Tilbury Hotel), with the steamboat-pier, whence a steam-ferry plies across the river to Gravesend. Tilbury Fort, to the east, was constructed by Henry VIII. in 1539 and hastily repaired at the time of the Armada; in its modernized form it is still one of the chief defences of the Thames. In anticipation of the arrival of the Armada a great camp was established at Tilbury in 1588 under the command of the Earl of Leicester. Queen Elizabeth, mounted on a horse and wearing armour, reviewed her troops here, addressing them in the stirring words: 'I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.'