Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Riverside north of the Thames and east of the Tower. Purfleet Board Mills

Riverside north of the Thames and east of the Tower.
Purfleet Long Reach
TQ 55791 78000

Major industrial riverside site awaiting a new use

Post to the north Purfleet
Post to the west Darent meets the Thames
Post to the east Purfleet Unilever
Post to the south Long Reach

This post covers the north bank of the river only - the south part of the square is Long Reach Hospital

London Road
Large site on private Mill Road. This has had a number of commercial uses - most recently Smufit Kappa and British Gypsum. The site is owned by Thurrock Council and is part of a regeneration scheme not yet implemented but for which the site will be, or has been, cleared. The site is that of the Thames Board Mills – this was the largest factory of its kind in the country producing cardboard and fibreboard for packing. It was first set up because of river access in 1887 by Louis Cartiaux as the St. Louis Park Mills Co. Which made board from stable straw manure waste and also made newsprint. The local water was not suitable and the works was not a success. The site was taken over in 1902, by W. J. Alford as the Thames Paper Mill Co. and was expanded throughout the 1920s and 1930s and again in the 1960s. In 1965 they were taken over by Unilever and in 1975 South Mill was closed and demolitions followed. In 1986 the mill was bought by Davidson Ltd. who renamed it Purfleet Board Mill. It closed down in 2004. What remained on site was the converting factory built by James Lomax Simpson in the 1920s and expanded in 1930 by the L.G. Mouchel using the Hennebique system. A warehouse from 1939 also survives as does an earlier 1930s timber warehouse with laminated roof. The North Mill dated from the 1960s and was the main paper-making area.
Jetty – the site includes a large riverside jetty.


Sources
Archaeology Data Service. Web site
British History on Line. West Thurrock. Web site
Thurrock Council. Web site

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