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Newton Road - Visit to Tilbury & Southend 1938

Rushden Newton Road Council School

This little booklet was perhaps put together by headmaster Mr Sherwood. The colour is rather strange but it was most likely reproduced with a Roneo or Gestetner printer. This entailed the original being drawn on specially made sheets, and the pen nib would carve into the top sheet which in turn would allow the special ink to penetrate from the ink roller on the machine onto the printing roller to which the sheet was later attached.

A booklet was given to each child to tell them about the trip and the timetable for the day.

Some of the flags the children should look out for as they
travelled along the river.
Tilbury to Southend

Joining the S.S. 'Royal Eagle' at Tilbury Landing Stage, we proceed out into the R. Thames, this port being known as Gravesend Reach.

Tilbury, well known for its docks, was formerly famous for its fort, which was built in Tudor times to protect the river approach to London. This fort can be seen on the left bank immediately east of the passenger landing stage. It was here that Queen Elizabeth reviewed her troops at the time of the Spanish Armada.

The docks, which were opened in 1886 and extended in 1920, have a water area of 105 acres with a depth of 42 feet.

On the opposite side of the river lies Gravesend, where the Channel Pilot, who has brought the ship safely from Dungeness, changes place with the Dock Pilot, whose duty it is to see the ship safely berthed.

We now steam northward for a short distance before turning east to enter the 'Sea Reach'. On the north bank will be seen a large collection of what seem to be minature gasometers. These are, however, the oil holders of the great oil depots of the Thames Haven Oil Wharves and the Shell Mex Cos.

On our left we see Canvey Island, which was formerly colonised by the Dutch, but as will be seen, is now being rapidly covered with bungalows. Off shore we see the Chapman Light standing out in the river, with Fort Slough opposite on the right bank.

A little farther down on the south side is the mouth of the R. Medway and the Isle of Grain, but the latter is not now really an isalnd. Both river and island were much used by the Romans during their occupation of this country.

The Medway is the river highway to the Naval Port of Chatham. At its estuary standing guard over it are warships, part of the Nore Flotilla, which will probably be seen at anchor. On the north side of the river lies Southend, our destination, where we land on its fine pier, 1 1/3 miles long and the longest in the world.

On our journey between Gravesend and Southend will be seen small fishing craft known as 'bawley boats', for catching and boiling of shrimps.

The whole of our river journey has been through water controlled by the Port of London Authority.

As a point of interest, it is possible to identify the line to which a ship belongs by the colours of its flag and funnels e.g. P & O - All black funnels, Orient - Pale Yellow, B.I.S.N.Co. - Black with black and white bands, Nippon Y Karsha - Black with red & white stripes, Clan Line - Black with red band. These are just a few that may be seen in Tilbury Docks and along the Thames.

If you have any photographs of the outing we'd
be pleased to take a copy - please contact us

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