East Tilbury, Essex : Historic Area Appraisal

Author(s): Joanna Smith

East Tilbury is a rural community in Thurrock, Essex. It encompasses two quite distinct settlements: a historic riverside village and a purpose-built industrial village largely developed between the 1930s and the 1960s for the British Bata Shoe Company Ltd. East Tilbury village is formed of a single street, with a few outlying houses and farms, edged to the east and south by an important group of 19th- and 20th-century military sites. In contrast, the highly unusual Bata combines Garden City planning and Modernist architecture. Both the layout of the settlement and design of the pre-war factory, housing and community facilities were devised by the parent organisation, the Bata Shoe Company, based in Zlin, Czechoslovakia. East Tilbury was one of number of satellites or colonies that the firm was constructing around the world in the 1930s. Under ongoing planning initiatives for the Thames Gateway, East Tilbury has been identified as a potential location for significant development that would radically change its setting. While some elements of its historic landscape and buildings have been studied, notably the military sites around East Tilbury village and the Bata settlement, no broad assessment of its built environment and significance has been undertaken.

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