Purfleet shown within Essex
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Purfleet is a town in the Thurrock unitary authority in Essex, England. It is contained between the A13 road to the north and the River Thames to the south and is within the easterly bounds of the M25 motorway but just outside the Greater London boundary. It was within the traditional Church of England parish of West Thurrock. There is some industry to the south and the area forms part of the Thames Gateway redevelopment area. Purfleet is one of seven conservation areas in Thurrock.
In the 18th century, Purfleet Royal Gunpowder Magazine was established as a location for the storage of gunpowder together with a garrison to protect it. There was a constant danger of explosion as a result of lightning strikes. Benjamin Franklin was asked for advice on the design of a lightning conductor. When King George III heard what his political opponent had to say, he chose an alternative design.
Magazine number 5, the only one remaining of the original five, is now the Purfleet Garrison Heritage and Military Centre and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is run by volunteers and contains a wide range of local and military memorabilia (including from RAF Hornchurch) and is open to the public on Thursdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
Other surviving 18th-century buildings include the proofing house (now used for community activities) and the gatehouse clock tower (described by English Heritage as forming "an integral part of the finest ensemble in any of the Ordnance Yards, consistent with the high standards practised by the Ordnance Board in its designs for fortifications and barracks from the C17").
From 1921 to 1936, Purfleet formed an urban district of Essex including the parishes of Aveley, West Thurrock and South Ockendon. It covered an area of 8,900 acres (36 km2) and in 1931 had a population of 8,511. The parishes and urban district were abolished in 1936 and their former area was used to form part of Thurrock Urban District.
High House Production Park
In 2006 Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation initiated a project to regenerate High House Purfleet by renovating historic farm buildings dating back to the 16th century and encouraging the development of some creative industries buildings on the 14-acre site. The Royal Opera House's Bob and Tamar Manoukian scene-making facility for its operas and ballets opened on the High House site in December 2010. Creative & Cultural Skills opened The Backstage Centre at the park in October 2012. The Backstage Centre now houses the national headquarters of Creative & Cultural Skills which also has offices in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. In July 2013 ACME opened 43 artist studios in the park.
Purfleet has been the site of a Unilever (formerly Van den Berghs & Jurgens) works producing Stork, Flora, Bertolli, and ICBINB! margarine since 1917, reputed to be the largest in the world. It also has an Esso lubricants plant and a ro-ro ferry terminal.
There are transport links to towns such as Basildon and Grays, as well as Lakeside Shopping Centre with buses operated by Imperial Buses, Ensignbus and Arriva Southern Counties. Railway services operated by c2c from Purfleet Station offer frequent services to London Fenchurch Street, Barking, Grays, Tilbury and Southend.
- Thurrock Council | Natural & Historic Environment | Conservation Areas in Th
- Christopher Harrold (editor) Exploring Thurrock (Thurrock Local History Society, 2008)
- listed building description
- Thurrock Council | Thurrock Heritage | Parish Facts
- BBC NEWS | UK | Nuclear threat sparked tea worry
- Bram: Dracula, Chapter 2, 1897 ISBN 978-0141439846
- Tourism Dept – Leisure Facilities Thurrock B.C Retrieved 23 July 2013
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