Riverside Station, including floating landing stage


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Tilbury Docks


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1111547.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 27-Nov-2021 at 13:02:36.


Statutory Address:
Tilbury Docks

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Thurrock (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Railway station and baggage hall, ticket office, and floating landing stage. Completed in 1924 to designs by Sir Edwin Cooper for the Port of London Authority in a neo-Georgian style. The complex closed in 1990, but re-opened in 1995 for leisure cruise use.

Reasons for Designation

The Riverside Station, including floating landing stage, Tilbury, Essex is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the Riverside Station, built in neo-Georgian style and completed in 1924, is the work of the notable architect Sir Edwin Cooper in his capacity as architect to the Port of London Authority;

* Historic interest: for its association with a significant historic event, being the docking location in 1948 of the SS Empire Windrush, generally accepted to have been the first ship to bring a large group of migrants from the Caribbean, invited to the United Kingdom in response to labour shortages in the post-war years.


The first riverside station at Tilbury was built as part of the London Tilbury and Southend Railway in 1854 with a landing stage facility to enable passengers to join ferries or passenger liners.

After the First World War passenger numbers through Tilbury increased significantly and it was realised that there were no central facilities for passengers. Given that liners were able to berth at this point in the River Thames, it was decided to make Tilbury the centre of passenger operations in London. A Bill was subsequently passed by Parliament to give powers to the Port of London Authority to build a passenger landing stage in 1922, and construction commenced two years later.

The landing stage by The Port of London Authority's architect, Sir Edwin Cooper incorporated a floating platform which projected some 370ft into the river and was designed to rise and fall with the turn of the tide. Prior to this, passengers were conveyed between ship and shore by a small private vessel. At the western end of the landing stage, a two-storey building was constructed to house customs and immigration functions as well as a waiting room and passenger facilities. The landing stage was officially opened in 1930 by the then Prime Minister, J Ramsey MacDonald.

A large baggage hall and new riverside station were also constructed to the designs of Sir Edwin Cooper and for many travellers these handsome neo-Georgian buildings with their red-brick facades and grand proportions would have been their first and last sightings of England.

Up until the First World War demand for travel was high with large numbers of passengers travelling to the Far East, India, Australia and New Zealand, and partaking in pleasure cruises in the summer months to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Canaries. The Second World War interrupted the operation of the terminal but soon after it returned slowly and by the end of the 1940s trade had revived to healthy levels once again.

Perhaps one of the most celebrated occasions in the terminal's history happened in June 1948 when the SS Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury on its voyage from the Caribbean, with 500 migrants on board seeking a new life away from the economic depression that had taken hold in their homelands. These men and women are generally accepted to have been the first significant wave of migrants invited to come to the United Kingdom from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands, in the immediate post-war years as a response to labour shortages.

By the late 1950s preference for air travel meant that travel by sea soon went into rapid decline. By the early 1980s British Rail ended through rail services, and in the 1990s the station was formally closed. The landing stage was re-opened in 1995 and was refurbished for leisure uses.

In the late 1970's flood protection measures came into force on this part of the River Thames frontage, associated with the construction of the Thames Barrier. The Riverside Station buildings were fitted out with framed metal wall panels which extended along the full length of the buildings' rear (north) walls. Heavy hinged inward-opening metal flood gates were fitted inside the door openings to the buildings and to openings in boundary walling at the east end of the site. Beyond the site boundary to the east, concrete flood walling extends along the open river frontage.

The Riverside Station was first listed in December 1989. In May 2010, the complex was upgraded to Grade II*.


Railway station and baggage hall, ticket office, and floating landing stage. Completed in 1924 to designs by Sir Edwin Cooper for the Port of London Authority in a neo-Georgian style. The complex closed in 1990, but re-opened in 1995 for leisure cruise use.

MATERIALS: constructed in red-brown brick laid in English bond with rusticated quoining, and dressings of Portland stone.

EXTERIOR: the Riverside Station has a hipped roof of hand-made red tiles and stone coping. The baggage hall is attached to the western flank of the station, both being of open plan form and each with a south elevation fronting the Thames estuary. These buildings are of tall single-storey form and are raised on cylindrical concrete piers with span arches. A smaller, two-storey block is attached to the west end of the station.

The baggage hall is of 13 bays: the north elevation has keyed flat arches of hand-made red tiles over 35-pane metal casement windows and five, sliding, plank double doors, and has a continuous verandah supported on wrought-iron fretwork panels with plain railings. The south elevation has stone torus moulding over a rusticated plinth, and revealed panels over similar casement windows with similar, multi-keyed, tile arches and rusticated red-tile quoins. There are two, tall openings to the centre, with rusticated semi-circular arched architraves with carved keystones. A recessed second stage, over the centre of the baggage hall, has PORT OF LONDON AUTHORITY inscribed on a Portland stone plaque. Features also include large semi-circular windows with decorative glazing bars and a roof surmounted by a tower with Portland stone balustraded parapet, urn finials and copper-domed cupola supported on Tuscan columns.

The Riverside Station to the east has an 11-bay front facing the river with a rusticated plinth and a stone cornice beneath the parapet. Semi-circular windows are set in similar architraves, also with red tile quoining. A wide passenger entry is contained in the second bay from the left, set in a square-headed red tile architrave, with flanking windows having quoining continued as pilasters to the cornice. There are also similar architraves to the right-end bays. The hipped roof is surmounted by a small turret with urn finials, surmounted by a square louvered belfry, which has Tuscan corner pilasters and a weathervane to the hipped roof.

Attached to the eastern end of the Riverside Station is a wide entrance bay with a hipped roof and decorative, fixed metal clerestory lights. A two-storey block, partly serving as a public house, lies to the rear of this and is designed in similar style with hipped slate roof. The five-bay east elevation has casement windows set in square-headed, red-tile architraves, with quoining continued as pilasters linking first and ground floors. At first floor is a central arched window flanked by square stone blocks with raised-relief roundels. Four windows to the ground floor have been replaced sometime in the mid-C20. The south elevation has two canted bay windows. The one-storey south elevation has similar architraves to its door and canted bay windows, and overlights incorporating diagonally-crossed glazing bars with margin lights.

INTERIOR: the baggage hall has a segmental-arched vaulted roof with heavy entablature supported on square, brick columns with Ionic capitals (Order of Bassae). The bays have paired columns and matching Ionic pilasters to the aisles, which have panelled ceilings. There is also a large decorative fanlight over the entrance to the Riverside Station.

The Riverside Station has single-storey offices along three sides, with keyed flat-arched architraves of red brick to 15-pane metal casement windows and half-glazed doors with overlights incorporating diagonally-crossed glazing bars with margin lights. There is a similar decorative pattern and architraves to the clerestory lights and a red-brick band beneath the stepped cornice. The north elevation has an entry to the platforms and opposing wide entries to the north ends of the east and west elevations have friezes of cast-iron bolection-moulded panels. The roof is supported by iron, segmental-arched, roof trusses. The ticket office to the centre is finished in a similar style to the single-storey offices and has splayed corners.

The baggage hall, the Riverside Station and the small attached building at its western end are fitted with flood prevention barriers* and gates*, installed in the late 1970's. The barriers are formed of a series of metal panels approximately 1.5m high, formed of thick metal sheets stiffened on their inner faces by square-sectioned metal framing. The panels are fixed against the inner face of the north wall of both the baggage hall and the Riverside Station, and to the outer face of the south wall of the attached building west of the station. Together they form a continuous barrier which returns in stepped form part way along the east wall of the baggage hall. Hinged, inward-opening metal flood gates of matching form are fitted to the flood barrier at the openings into the buildings on the north side. The flood barrier panels to the Riverside Station are stiffened at intervals by angle braces. The flood prevention barriers and gates are not of special interest.

Four steel booms and two walkways, each with boarded walls and glazing-bar lights, connect the baggage hall and the Riverside Station with a floating landing stage. The ground floor of the floating landing stage is weatherboarded, the first floor is clad in metal sheeting and the pitched roof is covered in asbestos sheeting.

The ground floor of the landward side has a series of 16-pane sashes, and above, a series of 12-pane casements at first floor level. The river-side has a series of 16-pane sashes to the ground floor with several doorcases with rectangular fanlights. The first floor is set back with double doors. The roof is metal-framed.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ( 'the Act') it is declared that the flood prevention barriers and gates, installed in the late 1970's, are not of special architectural or historic interest.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 3 May 2018.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 03 Oct 1999
Reference: IOE01/01186/13
Rights: © Mr Robert Brabner. Source: Historic England Archive
Archive image, may not represent current condition of site.
To view this image please use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].