A short history of Tilbury Town
100 years (and a little bit more)
Before the arrival of the railway in 1854, there were very few people living in the area that is now Tilbury Town. Following the arrival of the railway, a few railway workers settled in the area. But it was the building of the docks, completed in 1886, that gave birth to the modern town. The housing for dockers included the Dwellings.
In 1912, the growth of the community was recognised by the establishment of Tilbury as an urban district. The newly established council began a programme of house building that continued into the 1920s, although it was delayed by the 1st World War.
The town suffered during the depression of 1930s. The Tilbury Distress Committee reported at Christmas 1931 that 900 families were on the verge of starvation. An emergency soup kitchen was established on Calcutta Road.
In 1936, the Tilbury Urban District Council was merged with other local authorities to form the Thurrock Urban District.
Tilbury was an important target for German bombing during the 2nd World War. Many houses were lost as was the Tilbury Hotel. Tilbury Town station was hit by a V2 rocket. However, Tilbury played a major part in D-day, both as a embarkation point and also in the construction of the PLUTO pipeline and the Mulberry harbours.
In 1953, a tidal surge resulted in extensive flooding on either side of the North Sea. 2,500 homes in Tilbury were flooded, and 1,300 people were evacuated.
The west block of the Dwellings was demolished in 1961 – the east block had gone during the war.
Tilbury B power station started generating electricity in 1965.
(This article is largely taken from 100 Years of Tilbury published by the Port of Tilbury and Thurrock Council.)