Port of Tilbury in the 60s and 70s
- Campbell McCutcheon
15th October 2013
The 1960s saw a gradual movement of shipping from central London and the quays, wharves and docks of the upper River Thames down river to Tilbury and Harwich. There was a managed closure of the dock system west of Tilbury and between the early 1970s and 1980s, the Surrey Commercial, India & Millwall Docks and the Royal Docks all closed down. Down river, Tilbury was booming still, with expansion to cater for container ships and a still-burgeoning passenger traffic from the Tilbury Landing Stage. Tilbury embraced containerisation, which had been the death knell of the upper docks, and has continued to expand. The Landing Stage was a busy place to spot passenger ships, from Greece, Italy, Scandinavia, the USSR and Britain itself. Nowadays, the Port of London, comprising primarily Tilbury and Harwich docks, is still Britain's second busiest cargo port. Campbell McCutcheon takes us on a tour of the docks in Tilbury, and the Landing Stage, and shows us the ships that called in the days immediately prior to the great containerisation boom of the 1970s and 1980s. The previously unpublished images show Tilbury at its zenith, and the transition from passenger travel to cruising, and from general cargo shipping to container ships, as well as the loss of the ferries that once called regularly at the port from Sweden, the Netherlands and France.