Lying on the north banks of the River Thames in Essex, Thurrock is relatively unknown outside the county, only recently becoming a borough in 1998, yet it boasts 239 listed buildings, 15 scheduled monuments, 6 conservation areas and 23 ancient woodlands.
“I’ve lived here all my life but I never knew there was so much on my doorstep.” everyone told us in 2015, proudly showing another hidden gem, taking us along river paths, through valleys and into ancient forts. People were discovering places beyond their own immediate area, and starting to take an interest in what it meant to be from Thurrock.
In 2016, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, we were excited to find out how local people felt about 100 places across the borough. They captured them in words and illustrations, enabling locals and visitors to see this mysterious, misjudged place differently.
Over an intense six-month period; local history and community groups, residents, 19 schools, and 500 students, took part in workshops led by local historian Jonathan Catton with writer Laura Trevail and artist Jacci Todd to collect and write up 100 stories, with a further 216 people coming to paint 100 small silk flags at Kinetika’s studios.
Over 10 days in July we walked with the 100 flags to each of the places where the stories originated from. These now feature in a handy pocket-sized book so you can take it on your walks.
Thurrock 100 Stories 2016 culminated with a colourful mass performance by over 100 Thurrock schoolchildren from across the borough who used the 100 batik silk flags in a vibrant finale choreographed by one of the UK’s pre-eminent mass dance leaders, Jeanefer Jean-Charles.
‘If someone had said to me, “Right, you’ve got to get strangers talking to each-other by coming together and making things, and getting healthy at the same time”, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Yet Thurrock 100 has done that beautifully. The finale performed by Thurrock school children in front of their proud families was really wonderful. I hope Thurrock 100 goes from strength to strength!’
Cllr Deb Stewart,
Portfolio holder for Communities
2016 CREDITS AND THANKS
FUNDERS Arts Council England; Thurrock Council; Heritage Lottery Fund
DELIVERY PARTNERS Coalhouse Fort Park; Snow and Rock Romford; Intu Lakeside; Thurrock Local History Society; Thurrock Council; Thurrock Museum; Royal Opera House Thurrock Trailblazers
KINETIKA Ali Pretty, Artistic Director; Nicky Webb, Marketing/PR; Scott Sullivan, Project Manager/Fundraiser; Jane Ford, Project Manager
ARTISTS Ali Pretty; Jacci Todd; Laura Trevail; Jeanefer Jean-Charles
WALK LEADERS Denise Wakeling; Peter Woodard; Ali Pretty; Mike Ostler; Phil Edgar; Maggie Pollock; Mick Pinion; Graham Sutcliffe; George Wade; Lesa Philip; Matthew McGettigan; Alison Campbell; Andrea Winterflood; Mat Kiely; Lesley Robinson
LOCAL VENUES Bulphan Village Hall Community Café; Bulphan Parish church; Bulphan school; Zion Hall; Garlesters Farmhouse; ACME High House Studios; High House Production Park; Purfleet Heritage Centre; RSPB Rainham Marshes; Thurrock Yacht Club; Grays Beach; One Tree Hill; Langdon Hills Country Park; Church of St Nicholas; The Bata Estate; Fobbing; Purfleet; Hangman’s Wood; Thurrock Thameside Nature Park; Orsett; Chafford Gorges Nature Reserve; Horndon on the Hill
SCHOOLS Arthur Bugler Primary School, Stanford-le-Hope; Hassenbrook Academy, Stanford-le-Hope; East Tilbury Primary School, East Tilbury; Horndon on the Hill C of E Primary School, Horndon; Herringham Primary Academy, Chadwell St Mary; Gateway Primary Free School, Tilbury; Gateway Academy, Tilbury; Lansdowne Primary Academy, Tilbury; William Edwards School, Grays; Grays Convent High School, Grays; Thameside Primary Academy; Shaw Primary Academy, South Ockendon; Warren Primary, Chafford Hundred; Harris Primary Academy, Chafford Hundred; Aveley Primary, South Ockendon; Chadwell St Mary Primary, Chadwell; St Clere’s School, Stanford-le-Hope
THANKS TO Jonathan Catton, Aveley History Group; John Copeland, Roger Going and the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus; Wendy Curtis; Louis Gladwell; Sue Gray; Tim Baker and Grays Yacht Club; High House Community Group; Tony Lane; Renae Laybourn; Mike Lee; Jean, Hilda, Linda, Sandra, Bernie and Margaret, Orsett’s Knit & Natter group; Maggie Pollock; Christina Joyce, Jolanta Jagiello, Ronald Luckins, Andrew Noakes, Gary Horton, Jane Barry, Linda Carrington, James Lee, Valerie Budge, Purfleet history group; Lesley Robinson; Bernard Seggons; Steve Serowka; Scott Sullivan; Mike Tarbard, Bata Heritage Centre; John Vereker, Bell Inn, Horndon; Emily Wakeling; Brian Winterflood; Lily Ziegler; Thurrock Marching Band; Jeanefer Jean-Charles; Bath Spa University and Lee Scott
PHOTOS Mike Johnston; Brian Slater
“The borough of Thurrock is jam-packed with interesting heritage, but much of it isn’t widely known. We’re delighted that thanks to National Lottery players we were able to support Kinetika’s excellent project to help local volunteers unearth and share their stories more widely.”
Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England