The Pit


Considering how much time I spent in the Pit, I'm surprised I don't have more photographs.  Actually, no I'm not.  I played in the Pit before I had a camera.  By the time I was taking photos, I'd moved on to places further afield that could only be reached by cycle.  The Pit was for Kids!  These 3 pictures are actually long after my time in the Pit, and show the place filling up with containers, not how I remember it. 

The Pit was a sandstone quarry between Whitehall Lane on the west and Rectory Road on the east.  It was reached through an industrial estate mainly filled with Plastic Shampoo Bottle manufacturers and Celcon - who made aerated concrete blocks for the building industry.  The Pit contained a huge chemical pond that we used to go "boating" on (using Celcon blocks - which float - as rafts!), a small wooded area, plenty of discarded porn mags, and tall trees that you could hang a "tarzan swing" (or "tarzie") from.  

NEW! - For a better idea of how The Pit used to look, here's the above 3 pictures combined into a panoramic view:

Every summer weekend you'd find the place full of kids, clambering up and down the walls, scouting the industrial overspill for rope (for swings) and pallets and oil cans (for rafts).  It was Boy Heaven.  There was even a cave in one of the walls, and rumour had it a spitfire had crashed in the lake during the War.

Grays Beach

Grays Beach.  What can I say?  The first part of Thurrock I became familiar with (from about the age of 5 onwards), Grays Beach has instilled in me a lifelong love of the Thames.  Once a popular Victorian resort, Grays Beach was never a natural beach.  The currents on this section of the Thames tend to create mud flats.  By the 70s Grays Beach had declined somewhat (although the Thurrock Yacht Club still maintain a presence to this day).

About where that sign was, you would find a drop-off, into delicious Thames River mud.

Looking over to West Thurrock Power Station.

Even the benches were swamped when the tide came in.  That's the Tilbury Grain Terminal in the distance. 

The other side of the Yacht Club, there was still a beach of sorts under this high tide.  If you looked closely you could find 19th century sailors' clay pipes here. 

Two young rats deserting a sinking ship?  Only at Grays Beach could you find a discarded boat..probably with its propellor up on bricks.

And to think I used to wade in this!