[thur-uhk, thuhr-]
Thurrock, district (1991 pop. 124,300), 63 sq mi (163 sq km), Essex, SE England, on the Thames River. The district includes Tilbury, which has large docks that are part of the Port of London. Among Thurrock's industries, located along the Thames, are oil refining and the manufacture of soap, margarine, cement, and timber. Queen Elizabeth I reviewed the troops at Tilbury Fort in 1588 at the time of the Spanish Armada.
Borough of Thurrock
colspan=2 align=center - Geography
Status: Unitary, Borough
Region: London
Ceremonial County: Essex
- Total
Ranked 203rd
163.38 km²
Admin. HQ: Grays
ONS code: 00KG
- Total ()
- Density

/ km²
Ethnicity: 91.8% White
3.1% S.Asian
2.9% Black
1.4% Mixed Race
0.9% Chinese or other

Thurrock Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
MPs: Andrew Mackinlay (L)
Angela Smith (L)/(Co-op)
Thurrock is a unitary authority with borough status in the English ceremonial county of Essex. It is part of the London commuter belt and an area of regeneration within the Thames Gateway redevelopment zone.

The borough

It lies on the River Thames just to the east of London. With over 18 miles (29 km) of riverfront it covers an area of 64 square miles (166 km²), with more than half defined as Green Belt. With Greater London to the west and the river to the south, the county of Essex abuts the Borough to the north and east, and across the river lies Kent.

Land use

Thurrock has a population of 145,689 people living in 58,485 homes. The green belt covers 60% of the borough. There are seven conservation areas, 19 scheduled ancient monuments and 239 listed buildings. The borough contains ten sites of special scientific interest. There is 2 km² of land available for industrial use.

Despite much of the borough being protected Green Belt land, Thurrock provides localised opportunities for further industrial and commercial development. The borough forms part of the Thames Gateway regeneration area, a corridor of opportunity that has been identified by central government as the area with greatest development and commercial potential in the country. A Thurrock Development Corporation was recently imposed and took over much of the borough's planning functions in 2005. Much of the population and commercial activity is centred along the riverfront. This includes many large and important industrial sites, including two large oil refineries, manufacturing industries, a container port, cruise liner terminal, distribution warehousing and one of Britain's largest refuse disposal sites at the appropriately named settlement of Mucking. Thurrock is also home to the Lakeside Shopping Centre.


There are two multiplex cinemas attached to the Lakeside Shopping Centre, and the Thameside Theatre in Grays. Live shows are held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet. Open space includes Langdon Hills Country Park and Grove House Wood, managed by Essex Wildlife Trust. Museums and historic buildings include Coalhouse Fort at East Tilbury, Tilbury Fort in Tilbury, Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre, Thurrock Museum and Walton Hall Farm Museum.

Next to Lakeside Shopping Centre is Arena Essex, a motor sports complex, where speedway, banger and stock car racing takes place.


Mammoths once grazed in the Thurrock area, and archaeologists recently unearthed the remains of a jungle cat. Man has been in the area since prehistoric times, and the land has been farmed by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons.

It is the site of the 15th century woolmarket.The area's wealth in the 1400s is shown in the splendid wool market at Horndon-on-the-Hill. The narrowing of the river where Tilbury now stands meant it was important in the defence of London, and Henry VIII built three blockhouses, two on the Tilbury side and another on the Gravesend side of the river, following the end of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Later, in 1588 Elizabeth I addressed her troops not far from the Tilbury blockhouse as the Spanish Armada sailed up the English Channel. Between 1670 and 1682, the Tilbury blockhouse was substantially rebuilt in to a much larger fortification (Tilbury Fort) and Coalhouse Fort was built further down river, close to the second blockhouse. The importance of the forts in defending the country continued through Napoleonic times and into the two world wars. The land where Tilbury Town now stands was farmland and marsh grazing until the building of the docks in the 1890s. Thurrock includes the Bata village, built for workers of the shoe company in 1933. Eight homes and the factory are listed. Historically, the area was renowned for mineral extraction, including clay, aggregates and notably the digging of huge amounts of chalk from the West Thurrock area for use in the now defunct cement industries. When chalk extraction ceased the disused pit was redeveloped as Lakeside Shopping Centre.

The present-day borough of Thurrock was created in 1974 from the former area of Thurrock Urban District. The Local Government Act 1972 left the boundaries mostly untouched, although part of it, in Basildon New Town, was ceded to the Basildon district and the district gained borough status.

It was given administrative independence from Essex County Council on April 1 1998 by The Essex (Boroughs of Colchester, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock and District of Tendring) (Structural, Boundary and Electoral Changes) Order 1996. It remains part of Essex for ceremonial purposes such as Lord-Lieutenancy.

Heritage Plaques

In 2002, a partnership between Thurrock Council, Thurrock Heritage Forum and the Thurrock Local History Society began an initiative to place heritage plaques marking the famous people, events and organisations associated with Thurrock. By March 2008 there were plaques to:

In films

Thurrock has been the scene of several major films. St Clement's Church and street scenes at West Thurrock were used in the making of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Thurrock can also be seen in 28 Days Later. Scenes from the films Alfie (2004), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were shot at Tilbury docks. The opening scenes from Batman Begins (2005) were shot at Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury. Some filming also took place for the film Essex Boys in and around the Bata estate at East Tilbury. The State Cinema where Eddie met Roger in the classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit can be found in Grays. Of interest to film buffs is the State cinema itself. This listed building dates from 1938 and it is one of the few surviving examples of thirties cinema architecture. It has the original cinema organ which can still be played, however, the building is disused and faces dereliction.


Being both on the river and right next to London, Thurrock is served with good communication links. The M25 London Orbital Motorway, the railway line between Southend and London Fenchurch Street which provides direct access to Central London and, eventually, Stratford International Station, the Port of Tilbury and the nearby London City Airport make Thurrock an important international trade centre. There is a grass airstrip south of Bulphan village. A ferry for passengers on foot connects Tilbury with Gravesend on the southern bank of the River Thames.

Rail transport in the borough is provided by c2c with stations at:


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Thurrock at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

List of places in the borough

Historic Buildings

External links

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Year Regional gross value added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 1,406 8 657 741
2000 1,737 4 677 1,056
2003 1,995 5 664 1,327