M25 West Thurrock
Post to the north Ship Lane
Post to the south Thurrock Dartford Crossing Approach
This is the A282 Dartford Tunnel Approach Road which extends the M25 replacing it over and under the river. Its six lanes run parallel onto the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. It opened in 1963 with the original Dartford Tunnel.
Gateway Data Centre
Thurrock Chalk Quarries . This set of pits – which lie west of what is now the tunnel approach roads – first appear on maps in the early 1920s in a rough clover leaf beginning from the south. Each leaf had tramway access into it coming from the south and these tramways ran down to river jetties. It is assumed that they were worked by the Thurrock Chalk and Whiting Co.which was incorporated in 1921. There are records of their locomotives and river transport fleet.
Dolphin Chalk Quarry. This was the Metropolitan Works Quarry, situated between Stonehouse Lane and Canterbury Way and contains a cement works site and an industrial estate. The vertical chalk face on the western side shows regularly spaced bands of flint nodules representing cycles of climate change some 80 million years ago.
The Metropolitan Cement Company was established by a consortium of Vickers Armstrong and Balfour Beatty, to supplying the latter with cement. The plant was acquired by US company, Alpha, and was re-organised by them. It shared its chalk supply with the adjacent calcium aluminate cement plant, and the whiting company. Alpha became part of APCM and was administered by Tunnel who used it as flexible capacity. It shut in 1941, but re-opening following air-raids on the West Thurrock Tunnel. It was shut again in 1944. In 1949 APCM took over and Kiln A1 was removed in 1952 but the remaining two kilns continued to be operated flat out. Facilities for oil firing were installed in the 1960s, but never used and the plant closed when the Northfleet plant started.
Dolphin Point. This is a modern purpose built development of 2004 with 14 units set around the central access areas. The units are steel portal frame construction with a single loading door and first floor offices.
Neptune Business Park. This is a terrace of 5 industrial/warehouse units completed in 2003. The site needed extensive remediation and was developed by Rosemound Developments.
Thurrock Distribution Centre Social Club
Tunnel under Dolphin Way goes to Tesco's distribution centre in the southern part of Greenlands Quarry (in the square to the west)
Kerneos. This plant was previously Lafarge Aluminates. In 1908, Ciment Fondu was patented and made in France from 1916. The West Thurrock plant was opened in 1926, followed by many other plants and processes world wide. Kerneos started as a joint venture between subsidiaries of Lone Star Industries and Lafarge Coppée in 1970 and has constantly researched properties of calcium aluminates and developed innovative materials. Numerous ranges of high-technology calcium aluminate binders have been launched. Thurrock plant produces speciality cement clinker and bulk cement. Detailed maps of the area seem to indicate that the current plant is on a much reduced site.
M25 Junction 31
The Purfleet Interchange is junction 31 as the M25 becomes the A282. Here it meets the old A13 which is now the A1306, Southend Arterial Road. The junction dates from 1963 when the Dartford Tunnel opened. It was rebuilt in 1980 when it was joined by the M25. It is also joined by new roads built that link Aveley and Purfleet and access to the Lakeside retail park and Thurrock services. In 1999 the new A13 was extended westwards. This is a very busy junction.
Southend Arterial Road
This is the A1306 which follows the old route of the A13 in south Essex
Lowhouse Farm. From where the area was farmed before the factories were built. Long gone.
Bluelands Pit. Flooded.
Sports ground, this was to the west of the road in the 1960s. It may have been Van den Bergh and Jurgens facility. The site is now a transport depot.
Greenlands Quarry, This is also called Dolphin Pit, is of critical importance in the sequence of events here during the middle of the Ice Age. Sediments here cover three separate periods of early human occupation. The first is a cold climate gravel followed by warm climate sediments and capped by gravel and a return to cold conditions. Geologists think that the warm climate sediments are thought to be be over 280,000 years old. Fossils include bones of deer, bison, monkey, beaver and straight-tusked elephant, and a hyena.
Lakeside Garden Inn. Derelict hotel.
Premier Inn. Thurrock
Winds its way east of the Tunnel approach road, through trading estates and bleak ‘outlets’
Tunnel Farm. This farm dated from the 18th and was the site which the Tunnel Cement works took over, and from which they took their name. The farm buildings remained for a long time after the works was built. There were gun emplacements here in the Great War.
Tunnel Cement. This was the first plant of the Tunnel company, named after Tunnel Farm.. The plant had twelve wet process bottle kilns and six chamber kilns by 1885. The plant was further increased until 1907. In 1911 the plant was sold to F.L.Smidth which quickly transformed the plant into the largest in Britain as rotary kilns were installed. Over the next fifty years it became a showpiece plant in which pioneering plant designs were incorporated. This included the first “Unax” kiln and another kiln was the first to be fitted with a modern chain system. A kiln installed in 1934 was the largest kiln in the country and remained so until 1961. From 1934 until 1957 white cement was made and an asbestos-cement plant was installed to the north in 1936. The site had a rail link from the start but also had a barge wharf joined to a 2 km standard gauge railway. A deep-water jetty was installed in the 1930s. Inside the site materials were moved around by rail rather than conveyors, and there was a maze of rail track said to cover 20 km.. The jetty was used to receive fuel. There was considerable bomb damage in the Second World War but from 1962 a new kiln was again the largest in Britain and the plant was also the largest in capacity, and remained so until 1971. By the 1970s the narrow Essex chalk seam was becoming worked out and it was decided to close the plant. The site is now covered with light industry and warehousing and the jetty is still in use. The main quarry is now the Lakeside Retail Park.
The Juxon Thurrock Shopping Park
Waterglade Industrial Park
Odeon Cinema. This 10-screen cinema opened in 1989 by AMC Theatres and was soon afer taken over by United Cinemas International, and re-branded UCI. In 2004 it was taken over by the Terra Firma Group and re-branded Odeon. It closed in 2012, and was demolished and replaced by three retail units.
Tunnel Estate Clock Tower. This is supposed to show the time digitally and temperature and has various antennae on the top. Does not seem to work.
The Glade Business Centre
Cement Kilns. Web site
Cinema Treasures. Web site
GeoEssex. Web site
Kerneos. Web site
MSA Architects. Web site
SABRE. Web site
Thurrock Council. Web site