With series 5 of Great Railway Journeys continuing tonight on BBC2 episode 18 sees Michael Portillo journeying from the edge of the metropolis in Ilford to Tilbury before crossing the Thames to Gravesend. As with episode 17 we thought we would take a look at some documents related to some of the sights he will be seeing along the way.
The London, Tilbury and Southend railway was granted an act of parliament in 1852 to begin purchasing land; by just 1854 it had reached as far as Tilbury. The railway was intended to link up the growing industries along the north bank of the Thames such as the chalk works at Tilbury and the burgeoning towns of Prittlewell and Southend. Perhaps most importantly for the railway company, the line allowed their customers easy access to the company’s own pier just across the Thames at Gravesend, already a common embarkation point for overseas travel from England.