Grays wharf overlooking the River Thames and Kent
|Population||36,601 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Grays (or Grays Thurrock) is the largest town in the borough and unitary authority of Thurrock in Essex and one of Thurrock's traditional (Church of England) parishes. The town is approximately 20 miles (32 km) to the east of London on the north bank of the River Thames, and 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the M25 motorway. Its economy is linked to Port of London industries, its own offices, retail and Lakeside, West Thurrock.
Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that he visited Grays on 24 September 1665 and apparently bought fish from the local fishermen. Parts of Grays and Chafford Hundred are set within three Victorian chalk pits; the largest two being the Lion Gorge, and the Warren Gorge. Another area of the Chafford Hundred residential development is built on a Victorian landfill site.
Origin of the name
Thurrock is a Saxon name meaning "the bottom of a ship". The element "Grays" comes from Henry de Grai, a descendant of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye, who was granted the manor of Grays Thurrock in 1195 by Richard I.
- Chadwell St Mary
- Chafford Hundred
- East Tilbury
- North Stifford
- South Ockendon
- South Stifford
- West Thurrock
From the top of the Derby Road Bridge in Grays one can look down to Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays Beach children's playground and the River Thames.
As well as Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays Beach is the site of the local landmark The Gull, a lightship built in 1860, which has lain on the foreshore for decades and is now in a serious state of dilapidation. The light from The Gull has now been removed, restored and installed on the foreshore of the yacht club.
The Thurrock Campus of South Essex College relocated to a new complex in the town centre in September 2014.
The town is approximately 20 miles (32 km) to the east of London on the north bank of the River Thames, and 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the M25 motorway its economy is linked to Port of London industries, its own offices, retail and Lakeside, West Thurrock. Its variously used riverside (from homes through wild bird-habitat marshland to importation, storage and distribution) faces Broadness Lighthouse in Kent.
A team named Grays raced against the home team which was called Cambridge at Caxton Speedway near Cambridge on 10 September 1931. Grays featuring Lionel Loudon, Wal Evans, Bill Bailey, Alf Lloyd and Smiler Puncher lost.
Sailing is a popular sport in Grays, and with the proximity of the Thames has potential for growth. Most sailing activities take place at Thurrock Yacht Club or Grangewaters outdoor education centre.
Brexit and xenophobia
In the 2016 Brexit referendum, Grays voted with 72% to leave the European Union, as opposed to 51,89% nationally. In an article in the Guardian, many residents expressed being uncomfortable hearing English spoken with foreign accents.
- Stuart Barnes
- Russell Brand
- Chris Cohen
- Danny Crates
- Phil Davis
- Sara Flower
- Mick Jackson
- Louisa Johnson
- Martin Litton
- Andrew Lynford
- Joe Pasquale
- Philip Vellacott
- Alfred Russel Wallace who lived at the Dell, College Avenue
- Lewis Daynes
- Ian Abercrombie
Notes and references
- Moncrief, AR Hope; Bruhl, L Burleigh (1909). Essex. Adam and Charles Black. p. 107.
- Thurrock Gazette
- PH Reaney, The Place-Names of Essex, (CUP, 1969)
- Grid square map Ordnance survey website
- "Its fearmongering. Talk of coup fails to impress Brexit-backing Grays". The Guardian. 29 August 2019.
- "Russell Brand: Grays bad boy made good talks about his life, times and new 'Booky Wook'". Thurrock Gazette. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2019.