Tarzie Down the Murco


One of the pits in West Thurrock was nicknamed "The Murco.  It actually consisted of two pits with a narrow gorge connecting them.  One of these pits was completely overgrown, with a large lake full of fish, whereas the other still seemed to be owned by Murco Oil (hence the name).  You could get shouted at for wandering around the bit with the gasometers, but the rest was ok.  There was a slim metal bridge carrying a pipeline across the gorge.

I was taught how to splice rope by one of my Dad's nautical mates, so one day I made the biggest length of rope I could (I got all my old rope from The Pit), coiled it up on my shoulder and set off on my bike with a mate (I think it might have been Craig Duligal) for the Murco.  You can see one of the splice knots in the above pictures.

I had to cycle up to Warren Lane and walk back along the cliff top until I got to the bridge.  I then climbed across, tied the rope round and dropped it down.  It was a bit long, so I had to keep pulling it up and looping it round until I was just above the ground.  I then cycled back down again to where Craig was.  The biggest Tarzan Swing (Tarzie, see?) was complete! 

The swing on it was incredibly slow and went for miles.  While we were there, a couple of policemen turned up for some reason and asked us how old we were.  When I told him I was 14, he said he thought I was too old to be playing with swings.  I guess he'd have preferred me to be hanging round street corners sniffing glue.

It was an awesome swing, and you know what?  Take a close look at the middle photo above.  You will notice the rope stops approx 10ft above the ground.  Our swing lasted full length for precisely one week, when we came back to find someone had chopped it off.

I assumed it was other kids at the time, but in hindsight it was stupid to tie a huge swing next to a busy Oil Storage depot without somebody slicing the end off.  Duh.  Anyway, here's the last of the Tarzie photos.   The left-hand one is another of my stereo pictures.  The right-hand one is the top two ones shoved together to give you an idea of how high it was.


 Update 2011. A road now runs past this gorge, about on the other side of the above right-hand picture.  It's called Devonshire Road, and this is the view now from the other side of the gorge.