The Pier Was Built in 1889
The Thames has at all times been a river of goals. In centuries previous sailors and explorers, merchants and adventurers, have all journeyed down the river from London to seek their fortunes or their future, whereas others from afar have sailed up the river on a similar quest or enterprise. For all of them the low Essex shore was at all times their first and last glimpse of England.
Up until the center of the final century British ships sailing out of the Port of London dominated the trade routes of the world. The Cunard Queens dominated the Atlantic. Royal Mail Lines carried passengers to Brazil and South America, with a few of their ships pushing up the Amazon so far as Iquitos. P&O and Orient lines serviced Hong Kong and Japan and Australia. The new Zealand Delivery Line sailed to Australia and New Zealand. The liners of Union Castle circumnavigated Africa. All those as soon as familiar names have disappeared now, and modern container ships and plush cruise ships have changed nearly the entire previous passenger-cargo lines that once flew the Red Duster into each ocean of the world.
Occasions have modified, however there remains to be an endless variety of transport using the Thames, and as you start to go the Essex shore the river is now overshadowed by the magnificent, Queen Elizabeth eleven Dartford Suspension Bridge, which was opened in 1991. Cars move repeatedly overhead on the congested arc of the M 25, and 4 concrete towers with their spider-internet tracery of cables soar into the sky.
Nevertheless, the remainder of the long, flat Essex shoreline, which many a young sailor used to observe with either the slight tang of immediate homesickness, or the buoyant elation of homecoming, continues to be pretty much unchanged. Most sailors had their minds fastened on the extra exotic places at the far finish of each voyage, however they had been lacking one thing, for there is far to be explored and enjoyed alongside the Essex side of the great river.
Cruise ships still come as much as Tilbury, where the old passenger liners used to pick up and disembark passengers earlier than making the last lap as much as KG5 or Victoria docks, however Tilbury has expanded and is now the principal container port for the Port of London. It is usually the positioning of the large, star-shaped, moated and earth-walled fort that’s the most effective preserved of all of the fortifications that had been as soon as strung out along both river banks to guard London’s most susceptible gateway.
There was a blockhouse right here on the time of the Spanish Armada, and the present Tilbury Fort was constructed to exchange it in the late seventeenth Century. It was repeatedly garrisoned via the Napoleonic wars and via the first World Battle. There has all the time been the potential risk of an enemy fleet, our mercantile rivals the Spanish, the Dutch, the French, and eventually the Germans.
The massive artillery items still level out from the east and west gun lines alongside the embankment and the day I strolled there a Royal Navy destroyer and an previous, purple-sailed Thames crusing barge were both moving up the river. The Navy ship gleamed grey and sleek within the sunshine, brisk and direct about her business, whereas the barge tacked slowly and lazily, a nostalgia image of a bygone age.
Observe the river and you’ll come to Canvey Island, which is connected to the mainland by the bridge at South Benfleet. The island was once a lonely wasteland of mudflats and tidal inlets, until the land was reclaimed and protected by a series of embankments and drainage dykes built by a Dutch Engineer in 1623.
Despite this the island is still weak to exceptional tidal flooding. In 1953 the terrible mixture of North Sea storms and Spring tide surge that devastated the entire of the japanese counties coastline swamped Canvey and drowned fifty eight people. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped it from filling up with summer season cottages and camper sites. Small pleasure craft abound, as it is very widespread with the boating fraternity.
Canvey is now also the location of a huge petroleum refining trade, a big conglomeration of massed storage tanks and writhing pipelines, just like the silver steel entrails of some distorted industrial monster laid naked.
Among the finest views of the whole island is from the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, which overlook the huge sweep of the estuary. Hadleigh Castle was constructed in the 11th Century to stone island cap for sale guard the mouth of the Thames and for centuries its great stone towers and partitions stood equal to the duty. Sadly, as we speak only the south east tower stays almost intact, with a number of crumbling walls marking the remainder of the location, and the break up wall of the north east tower standing like some great shattered tooth.
A few miles additional down the river is Outdated Leigh, once a small fishing group overlooking a small marshy inlet, the village has now been just about swallowed up by the enlargement of sprawling Southend. Nonetheless, the flavor of Outdated Leigh is still there, with its cobbled high street and rows of fisherman’s cottages and a handful of fishing boats moored up among the many pleasure craft at its outdated wharves.
There is an outdated black clapboard sail maker’s loft at Victoria Wharf, which is now a first Aid Put up manned by the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, and the scene here appeared to sum up Old Leigh. A small pleasure yacht was moored at the quay and close by was a small sandy beach the place households played and sunbathed.
Not far away was the Essex Yacht Membership, the place scores of younger folks were bobbing round in vivid-sailed small boats, or wrestling with them up and down the slipways on both side of the Bembridge, an ex-cruising pilot cutter that now serves as the clubhouse. Membership racing events are monitored from the previous wood bridge where there are high-quality sea views over the bows.
During the Georgian interval the south end of Prittlewell was becoming a small, fashionable seaside resort for the properly to do. It was a spot of sedate seaside huts the place ladies in knee and elbow size bathing fits discreetly emerged to paddle their toes. From there it expanded quickly.
With the approaching of the railway in 1856 Southend was solely an hour away from the capital and promptly turned the favorite holiday resort for the East Finish of London. The city is virtually divided by the far protruding pier, with on both aspect the amusement arcades, fast rides and the youngsters’s paradise of Journey Island. Right here and to the left of the pier is the wild, brash and noisy face of Southend, the center of all of the vibrant lights, fish and chip outlets and enjoyable. Go to the right and you will see that the more genteel facets, with all the peace and wonder of its many manicured lawns and cliff prime flower gardens.
Go up from the promenade and stroll alongside the Royal Terrace, where the Royal Resort was built in 1791 to commemorate a visit by Princess Caroline, the wife of the then Prince of Wales. Her visit helped to ascertain even more firmly the fashionable fame of Southend. The terrace was restored in 1978, and in summer season there is normally a massed array of glorious, colored hanging baskets decorating the fashionable hotel fronts.
Further along the white statue of Queen Victoria, flanked by palm bushes, overlooks rich purple and yellow rose beds. Beside her there’s an elegant Victorian bandstand where waltzing couples glide gracefully on sunny afternoons. Opposite is Prittlewell Square, Southend’s oldest surviving park, with its high splashing central fountain framed in white wrought iron entrance gates. Everywhere there are sumptuous flower beds.
In Priory Park stands the outdated Prittlewell Priory which was once a Cluniac monastery and is now a museum. Beside it stands the solid grey Crow Stone, which once stood on the beach at Chalkwell to mark the jap extent of London’s jurisdiction.
Down on the Western Esplanade is the place the annual London to Southend Traditional Automotive Rally finishes, usually with three hundred or extra vintage autos assembled there on the big day. That is just one of the large annual events on this pleasure-geared seaside resort, ranging from the Previous Leigh Regatta and the Thames Sailing Barge Match, each held out on the river, to the excessive-flying Air Show within the skies above.
If you cannot face an hour’s brisk walk a full size train now takes you out to the far end of the pier, which was nearly all the time my final glimpse and first sight of the mouth of the Thames. The pier was inbuilt 1889, and has survived seven boat crashes and three fires. One and stone island cap for sale a third miles long, it is the longest pier on the earth.
Rows of fishermen solid their traces over the rails, hoping to haul a fat bass or mullet up on to the deck boards, and there’s a pier head viewing tower with broad-ranging views. From here anything from a cockle boat to an oil tanker may hover into view.
Shoeburyness occupies the final elbow of land earlier than the shoreline turns away to the north. Till the middle of the 18th Century it was a smuggler’s haven of misty marshes and hidden creeks. Then came the Royal Artillery Garrison and school of Gunnery and the village started to develop. Between the wars its protected bathing beaches made it another vacation spot.
Plans have been put ahead for another future barrier right here to span the full mouth of the Thames. London and the marshlands of Essex have at all times been weak to flooding, due to the sluggish enhance of river and sea ranges over the centuries, and now that price of increase is accelerating resulting from Global warming.
The Thames Barrier high up the river at Greenwich which was officially opened in 1984 is not thought-about ample safety for the nation’s capital. Extra flood and storm tides of the 1953 variety are predicted as a excessive likelihood, and the continuing battle against the hungry sea will continue. If the proposed barrier is constructed it is going to be an enormous structure stretching far into the marshes on both aspect which is able to change the shore and skyline for ever.
Nevertheless, for the second the Thames has reached the chilly North Sea with out additional hindrance. Having started far inland within the Cotswolds, passing via the nice coronary heart of London, and caressing the winding Essex shore, the river still flows by in all its many moods, timeless and steady, on its romantic strategy to the far, vast world.
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