Tilbury Docks were built on former marshland, consequently, the northern bank in this Reach is flat. Land use is almost exclusively dock related. Tilbury Docks is the main container port for London and comprises three large docks leading off the main dock, vast warehouses, stacks of multi-coloured containers, cranes, and car and van depots surrounded by security fencing. The largest container ships moor up at the Riverside Wharf where the large travelling cranes are the most dominant vertical features of the Docks. There are impressive open views across the dock basins although these are not available to the public as there is strictly no public access to the Docks. Tilbury Bulk Grain Terminal is located adjacent to the docks by the riverfront.
1887: John Bartholomew's Gazetteer -
Tilbury, railway station (and hotel, at Tilbury Docks), Essex, on river Thames,
22 miles East of London, opposite Gravesend, with which it is connected by steam ferry;
Tilbury Docks, with railway station, consist of a main dock (1818 ft. long, 600 wide, and 38 deep), and three branches (each 1600 ft. long and 38 deep - the Centre Branch Dock being 300 ft. wide, while each of the other two is 250 ft. wide); four large dry docks for repairs; and a tidal basin, with a water area of 19 acres, and a depth of 26 ft at low-water spring tides and of 46 ft. below Trinity high-water mark.
At the 14 quays (in the main and branch docks), which are 13,000 ft. in length, 32 steam vessels of the largest size can be berthed for loading or discharging, while the tidal basin enables the largest steamships to enter and leave irrespective of the condition of the tide.
The Tilbury Docks, which are among the finest in the world, were formed by the East and West India Dock Company; they were commenced in 1882, and opened in 1886.
1930: Tilbury Docks, was enlarged in 1930 to increase the passenger liner service,
the floating landing stage was opened by Prime Minister Ramsey McDonald.
The importance of the dock economy inspired the Tilbury motto, "By Thames to all peoples of the world".
1943-44: PLUTO line assembled in Tilbury Docks, Pipe Line Under the Ocean. This was a flexible pipe for pumping fuel oils from England to France, post D-Day 1944. The pipe was assembled, welded and wound on to a floating bobbin, whose code word was Conundrum, this was later attached to the back of pipe laying vessels.
Near the docks Phoenix units were also constructed using local cement, these when joined together formed Mulberry harbour used in the D-Day landings.
To Northfleet Hope: Tilburyness to Broadness