Northfleet Hope - the reach heading northwest past Tilbury Docks from Tilbury Ness to Broadness

Tilbury Ness

RIGHT (north) bank point marking the inside of the turn from Gravesend Reach into Northfleet Hope
Notices to Mariners (DO NOT RELY ON THIS!) -

Northfleet Hope Traffic Warning Light is established on the eastern end of Tilbury Cargo Jetty in position (WGS 84) 51_ 27_.06N 00_ 20_.95E, its characteristics are as follows: Occasional Iso 6 sec 6M.

The light will be activated by London VTS to warn river traffic approaching Tilburyness from the east of vessels manoeuvring for, and leaving Tilbury Dock Lock and vessels manoeuvring in Northfleet Hope. Information on the movements of these vessels will additionally be broadcast on VHF Channel 68 by London VTS. Whilst the warning light is being displayed vessels are to proceed with extra caution when approaching Tilburyness.

Tilburyness Light

1859: First light here

Tilburyness Lighthouse 1892-1931
Tilburyness Lighthouse 1892-1931

The Lighhouse was removed in 1931 and replaced by a light on a diamond shape


LEFT (south) bank, opposite Tilbury Docks
6 Frith photos of Northfleet
Northfleet Lighthouses

1885: Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames -

Northfleet Light - this the first of the Trinity House lighthouses, is an iron pillar-light illuminated by gas. It was transferred to the care of the Trinity House by the Thames Conservancy in 1870'.

North fleet Lighthouse, © Mike Millichamps -

Northfleet Lower Lighthouse
Northfleet Lower Lighthouse

Northfleet lies opposite to Tilbury Ness and adjoins Gravesend.
Here is Northfleet Lower lighthouse, No. 7 on our list, at 25 miles distance.
Trinity House established a light here as early as 1859.
Its purpose was to guide inward bound vessels safely around the bend from Gravesend Reach to Northfleet Hope on their way to the Port of London. The current 1883 lighthouse was placed on India Arms Wharf close to the India Arms Tavern and was a white occulting light of 10 seconds visible for 6 miles.
The red painted iron framework tower stands 53 feet high with the light exhibited at 48 feet above High Water.
As with all the London River lights it was an unmanned or unwatched light (i.e. it did not have a resident keeper) as it was inspected three times a fortnight by a Trinity House attendant and by the Trinity House Elder Brethren on a formal annual visit.
Originally all lights were lit by acetylene which was stored in great metal flasks capable of fueling the light for twelve months.
In practice, however, they were regauged every three months.
A sun valve ensured that the light was off during the hours of daylight.
Northfleet Lower light was converted to town gas and in 1975 it was converted to 120 volt mains shore electricity supply and today shows a red or white sector light according to the angle of approach.


Northfleet Lower Lighthouse
Northfleet Upper, photographed in 1933, is now just a memory


Northfleet Lower Lighthouse
Northfleet Upper Lighthouse today.

Northfleet Upper lighthouse, No. 8, was established on the western end of the Associated Portland Cement Company's jetty in 1926 and maintained by Trinity House.
The iron work structure was not as complicated as the Lower light and was initially painted black but by 1950 was painted white.
It stood 29 feet high but in 1972 it was removed and replaced with a modern light contained in a small lamp room placed on the roof of the 8 storey office block belonging to Lafarge Cement UK Ltd at Bevans Wharf, only a matter of yards from the lower light.
It is still used as a navigational aid today.

A distinctive feature of Northfleet is St Botolph’s Church designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. The church is strategically located on high ground on the chalk ridge adjacent to a dramatic vertical chalk cliff of a quarry. The flint faced church tower can be seen clearly from the river. The historic hamlet of Northfleet, located close to the church on the A226 is also notable. It is designated as a Conservation Area and includes some charming timber framed buildings and back of pavement development.
Northfleet has long been famous for the thousands of Paleolithic artifacts found here. The Ebbsfleet Valley to the south west is important for Mesolithic and Neolithic remains, including a type of early Neolithic pottery known as Ebbsfleet Ware. On the northern side of the Thames a number of Neolithic and Bronze Age burials, and Roman occupation debris and burials were uncovered, at depth, during the construction of Tilbury Docks in 1883.

To St Clements or Fiddlers Reach: Broadness to QEII Bridge