Thursday, 30 July 2015

Riverside on the north bank and east of the 'Tower. Grays.

Riverside east of the Tower and the north bank. Grays
TQ 61272 77961

Town Centre of this old, downmarket, riverside town

Post to the west Grays
Post to the south Northfleet Terminal


Argent Street
The Theobald Arms. Two-bar, family-run local in the rejuvenated riverside area of Grays, opposite the Town Wharf. Former stables at the rear. It was previously called the Hoy and was recorded from the 18th. It is named after a James Theobald who is a past owner of Belmont Castle.
Shefield House. In 1870 this 3-storey house built in the late 17th, became the infirmary and staff quarters for the Training Ship Goliath, in the grounds were a playing field and swimming bath. They were later used by the boys from the Exmouth. It stood near the Town Wharf, and the site of Theobalds Arms, east of the High Street and from the 17th was the principal house in the town.
The Castle. This was present in 1854. This pub is no longer in existence
The Tops Club. CIU social club, in long low brick building which either it or its predecessor is shown on maps as far back as the 19th.  Now designated as a site for new housing.

Bridge Road
57 Spring of Life Chapel, Gratitude Plaza. Part of the, originally Nigerian, Redeemed Church of God.  This is probably the Pentecostal church of the Assemblies of God built originally in 1937 and called Clarence Hall.
New Recreation Ground - Football ground. This was on the west side of the road. Grays Athletic played here from 1906 to 2010. It had previously been used by Grays United. In 1981 the Club Patron, Mr. Ron Billings, bought the ground to ensure the future of the club but after his death the club was unable to negotiate terms with his family, and the ground was redeveloped for housing
Bricklayers Arms. This probably dates from the late 19th, but it does win competitions for its floral displays.
Congregational chapel. This was opened in 1886, at the corner with New Road. In 1941 it was gutted by incendiary bombs and the congregation moved elsewhere. 
Congregational chapel opened in 1858 and sold as an extension to the brewery in 1885.
Co-op Milk Depot. This was used as a Home Guard base in the Second World War.
Thurrock Brewery.  The Thurrock brewery of Seabrooke & Sons was founded in.1800 by Thomas Seabrooke, in High Street. The family had previously had a brickmaking business. The brewery was moved to an old soap boilers premises in Bridge Road in 1819. It remained in the hands of the Seabrook family throughout and they had other business interests, early on they ran a shipping line to Newcastle. By 1929 the brewery employing 180. had its own railway sidings, an artesian well, a wharf on the Thames and owned 120 public houses., they were taken over by Charrington & Co., which closed the brewery which was demolished in 1969. The main premises, later used by the Grays Co-operative Society, were demolished in 1969
Co-op Laundry. The old brewery buildings were used by the Co-op as a laundry until demolition in 1969.
Bromley
New housing on the site of light rail and tramways going to the riverside and tidal pools.

Bruce’s Wharf Road
Alexander Bruce were timber importers with a wharf on the river near here. The site was acquired by the forest products group Montague L Meyer in 1951. It had previously been a pole and sleeper depot with creosoting facilities. It had an open concreted area with undercover storage. There was a modern transport fleet
Coal Court
Modern housing on site where coal was handled when it was a real wharf
Columbia Wharf Road
Modern housing on a road near to the shipbreaking site
Wards Wharf. Wards are a Sheffield based machinery manufacturer who also acted as scrap suppliers to Sheffield metal workers, having ship breaking sites in a number of port areas.  The site here had access to the rail system and their own locomotives. Boats were driven up to the wharf from the River and were cut up, along with other vehicles and vessels. The scrap metal was then transported by rail to various steel makers

Conway Gardens
Modern housing on the site of Drum’s Oil Drum Works. They had been there since 1926 but from 1900 the site had been the The Rock Manufacturing Co., makers of patent plaster and cement.  During the Great War a factory there had made plywood for the Government and subsequently it was used by N. Kilvert & Sons, lard refiners

Crest Avenue
Modern housing on the site of a sports field – this seems to have been the Co-operative Society’s Sports Ground.

Crown Road
Bus station

Derby Road
The long bridge over the railway was built in the early 1970s as part of a scheme of town centre regeneration conceived in the 1960s.

Exmouth Road
The road was named after Training Ship Exmouth which was moored off Grays 1876-1979 to teach seamanship to boys.
Ferry
Long Ferry. In the 17th Grays was served on every tide by the 'Long Ferry' boats to and from Lion Quay which was downstream of London Bridge. But at Grays passengers had to be rowed out to the boat which was out in the tideway.
Short Ferry. This was owned by the Lord of the manor and had run since at least the 12th. It is thought that originally it went from a piece of drier land jutting out into St.Clement’s Reach but eventually it went from Town Wharf. It was leased out from about 1600 and lessor had to have three tideboats and one wherry and for it always to be available when wanted. It was still running in the mid-19th.

George Street
This town centre road dates from the 1890s and the period shortly before that
Post Office built here in 1930
State Cinema. Opened in 1938 the building remains in much of its original state built by Fredericks Electric Theatres Ltd. to the design of F. G. M. Chancellor of Frank Matcham & Co. It is equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Ranks organ with Melotone attached and a ‘Rainbow’ illuminated surround. It has a fully equipped stage and 3 dressing rooms and there was also a restaurant. It closed in 1991. In 1993 the foyer was used as a nightclub and there were occasionally concerts. In 2001 it was bought by Morrisons to allow them to build on the car park and once they had done this they did minimal repairs and it was sold to a property company. Much of the organ has been stolen during break ins.

Goldsmiths Wharf
E. J. & W. Goldsmith were barge builders and hauliers. As one of the foremost barge companies on the river they built and repaired barges, as well as running their own fleet until the late 1970s. They had 147 vessels at their peak built to have interchangeable sails and said to be the largest fleet ever assembled. In addition to haulage they also had racing barges

Grays Co-operative Society Wharf
The Co-op used this for coal imports.  The co-op also imported wheat for use in their bakery which was near the riverside.
High Street
The High Street originally ran down to the river.  It was realigned in 1973 and the bottom end called Kings Walk.
Bull.  This was also known as the Bull’s Head. It dated from at least 1679 although it had been refronted it the mid19t when a window from the market house was installed. It was demolished in 1970.
The Anchor and Hope. Thus was previously called the George and dated from art least 1727. It was closed in 1960 and demolished in 1970
78 The Rising Sun. Also known as The Sun, and later The Mess. Dates from at least the late 18th. It is now a doctor’s surgery and clinic.
The Queen's Hotel. At the corner of Orsett Road and once the largest public house in Grays. This was originally called The Green Man (or Man and Bell). It was gutted by fire in 1890, and rebuilt. It closed in 1979 and became a Macdonalds.
Dutch House. This was a 17th gabled house demolished in 1950. It was the first building used by the Grays Cooperative Society.
Level crossing. This cuts the High Street in half. It is by the station and the gates need to be opened and closed nearly 100 times daily.  Various solutions have been sought and not implemented.
The King's Arms faced the Market Square with big windows. It dated from at least the late 18th
St.Peter and St.Paul's church.  This 12th church was ‘restored’ in 1846 and it is said that older features were removed.  There are many memorials including two 16th brasses including women and six children and a memorial tablet from 1870 to the memory of the schoolmaster and boys who died in a fire on training ship Goliath. The north porch was built as a war memorial in 1958, including the 12th doorway, removed in 1867, but had been preserved in a local garden. Recent work to the church has included a kitchen and toilet.
The Pullman. This was previously the Railway Hotel, dating from 1863
The Empire Theatre. This opened in 22nd 1910 with films and variety it had 800 seats. It was owned by Frederick’s Electric Theatres Ltd. It closed in 1941 for re-furbishment, re-opening as a live theatre. In 1942 and was requisitioned by the Ministry of Food and after the war, it became a greengrocers store, then later a Tesco. It was demolished in the 1960’s, and the site is now a Boots Chemists
The market place. This was at the south end of the road.
Livestock market. This was opposite the church but by 1843 the site was a timber yard.
Kings Walk
This was originally part of the High Street
The White Hart. The pub is said to date from 1791. The current building was constructed in the 1930s.

London Road
St. John’s Ambulance. Grays building


Maidstone Road,
62 Thurrock Targeted Therapeutic Service.
Gurdawara Grays. Sikh Temple. This is in an old works building
Local authority power station. Grays Thurrock Urban District Council opened an electricity works here in 1901. In 1948 this passed to the Eastern Electricity board. The site is now in other hands as Thurrock Enterprise Centre. There was also a mortuary on site

New Road
Thurrock Municipal Buildings and Civic Centre
Echoes. East of High Street, at the far end of New Road, was the Echoes, built c. 1869, which was for long the home of Charles Seabrooke the brewer. It was demolished in 1966
Pier Wharf
The wharf  was developed in 1841 with a pier 400 feet long, to ensure that passengers could now catch ferries at whatever the state of the tide and not have to transfer into smaller transfer boats for access Associated on either side of the wharf, were many companies operating along the foreshore of Grays, some had their own river facility for brining in raw materials or transporting the finished products.
Cole and Lequire. Firm of cornfactors and seedsmen, begun by a Henry Cole who in 1890 took over the corn merchants' business of Leonard W. Landfield and with their own fleet of purpose built sailing barges worked from Pier wharf until 1922 or later

Seabrook Rise
This was once part of New Road
The Regal Cinema. This opened in 1930 as Thurrock’s first ‘super-cinema’, with luxury furnishings, and a ‘Symphonique’ organ. The auditorium was in a semi-Atmospheric style by Fredericks Electric Theatres designed by F.G.M. Chancellor of Frank Matcham and Co. It had variety shows and there were six dressing rooms. It closed in 1960 and became a ten-pin bowling alley. It later became derelict and was demolished in the mid-1960’s. There is now housing on the site

Seally Road
Area of trading estates and supermarkets. This is built on the line of an industrial railway going to riverside works. Part of the surrounding site was a brick works.
Station Approach
Grays Station. Original intermediate station of London Tilbury and Southend line of 1854.  Roman remains may have been found when the stationmaster's house was built.

Thames Road
The Beach. This was first put forward as a possible feature for the town in 1902 as part of the Grays Coronation Committee suggestions for the coronation of Edward VII and that money should be raised for a public baths. Land was acquired on the riverside following this suggestion but there was some local dissent. The committee recommended a scheme which included fencing, an open air swimming pool and lake plus a children’s cricket ground, bowling green and for other games as well as trees, shrubs, seats, a shelter, a store and WCs. In addition there would be a memorial fountain.  Work began on digging the lake and putting up fences. It opened in 1905 with a big ceremony. By 1912 the pond was open daily for swimming. The beach was covered in sand brought in from Great Yarmouth. The fountain was vandalised and removed by the Council for safety. In 1999 the pond was filled in with sand and new playground equipment was added.
Kilvert's Field. This was at the south end of Sherfield Road and was also known as Fishers Field,
Co-op’s coal yard, this was behind their bakery. It received coal once a month from a collier ship.
Exmouth Swimming Pool. This had been the pool for Training Ship Shaftsbury and open to the public at certain times and days. This swimming pool was originally to provide formal swimming training for boys on the training ships. It was accessed via a slipway from the swimming pool. It was repaired in 1907 when it was transferred to Exmouth, as was the swimming pool - although it was thought it could be turning it into a rifle range but it remained as a pool
Kilvert's Wharf. Thurrock Yacht Club. The club was begun in 1946 and has been active ever since. The current clubhouse dates from 1973. Previously the clubhouse had been an 18th lightship called "The Gull". This was uneconomic to repair and its light mast was saved and is now at the top of the slipway.



Town Wharf.
This dates back the middle ages and was closely linked to the Lord of the Manor who also leased the rights to the ferry and to wharfage dues. The earliest reference to Grays Wharf is a complaint by the Prior of the Hospital of Jerusalem against unreasonable access and tolls by Richard de Gray, Lord of the Manor in 1228. Gray first purchased the manor of 'Thurrock' in 1195, from Isaac, a Jew. Their surname was later adapted in to the name of the parish, Grays Thurrock. A public right of way exists to one side of Grays Wharf allowing pedestrian access to the river front/

Training ships
Goliath. From 1870-75, the Forest Gate School District had a ship called the Goliath moored here, It provided boys from all London's Poor Law authorities with training to help them enter the Royal or Merchant Navy. The ship was destroyed by fire in 1875 with the loss of twenty-three lives
Exmouth. In 1877 The Exmouth took over from Goliath managed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. Exmouth was an old wooden two-decker line-of-battleship, built in 1854. In 1903, the ship's hull was condemned. A replacement built of iron and steel, was commissioned from the Vickers in Barrow-in-Furness. It was inaugurated at Grays in 1905 where there were also on shore facilities
Training Ship Shaftesbury was established in 1878 by the London School Board, as a good way of dealing with problem boys. They bought the former P&O Nubia to be renamed Shaftesbury. She was moored near Exmouth. Boys were taught seamanship in addition to ordinary lessons. There was a major incident when she broke away from her moorings in a storm and then moved to Greenhithe. 1904, when the London School Board was closed and the ship needed extensive repairs, she was closed along with the school in 1905.

Vicarage Square
Site of the Exmouth Infirmary, which fronted onto West Street

West Street
The original market was at the south end, at right angles to the street. The west part of this had the market house or town hall. The market house was rebuilt in 1774 and it was a two storey building, on columns, with open ground floor and court house above. It later became a Congregational church but was demolished in 1824
T.S. Exmouth Infirmary. In 1907 the Metropolitan Asylums Board bought the Shaftesbury's Infirmary from the London County Council. The existing Infirmary moved here with 34 beds. In 1930 the London County Council took over control of the Training Ship. In the Second World War the cadets and crew were evacuated to Burnham on Crouch and the Exmouth was requisitioned by the Admiralty for use as a depot ship. The area has been completely redeveloped and nothing remains of the Infirmary

Sources
Baldwin. The River and the Downs
Banbury. Shipbuilders of the Thames and Medway
British History online. Grays. Web site
Children’s Homes. Web site.
Cinema Treasures, Web site
Down-London Tilbury Southend,
Grays Athletic. Web site
Peaty. Brewery Railways
Pevsner and Cherry. Essex
Port of London Magazine
Seabrook Family. Web site
Thurrock Council. Web site
Thurrock History. Web site
Thurrock Yacht Club. Web site
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames
Walford. Village London
Workhouses. Web site

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