THE Port of Tilbury opened its doors to the local community and those from much further afield at the weekend (17/18 September) as part of its Community Day, in conjunction with Estuary 2016 the Art, Film and Literature festival run by Metal.
Hundreds of people took the opportunity to take free Thames Clipper boat rides up the Thames and view The Port from a different perspective, or board an open top vintage bus for a guided tour round The Port. For some, just strolling along the dock admiring the iconic structures of the London International Cruise Terminal and railway station and remembering it’s historic past and connections with the MV Empire Windrush was an emotional visit and the reason they had come.
As well as the local community, people travelled from Birmingham, Bath-Peterborough, London, Suffolk and Southend –on-Sea, one of our visitors was 99 years old and had worked in The Port as a younger man.
Commenting on the weekend, Perry Glading from the port said: “A key focus for the Port of Tilbury was to offer our younger community the chance to see some of the heavy plant machinery, put on mini high vis vests and port passes and find out what goes on in the port. This is our future workforce so it was great to be able to show them round and offer them Port of Tilbury cakes made by our very own port Police officer.
“Alongside our community activity, Estuary 2016 was a spectacle in itself with art exhibitions on boats, music that was played to the rhythm of the tide and atmospheric films that were shown in the railway station and on the dockside.”
Celebrating its 130th Anniversary The Port of Tilbury opened at the beginning of the steamship era, saving steaming time into London, and the quick transfer of goods and passengers onto the train network. Today it still has the same success and the business continues to grow and expand with a recent announcement that Amazon will be bringing 1,500 jobs to the area and the acquisition of the Tilbury power station land to expand the port further.
The Port is proud to have had generations of local families work here and our Community Day celebrations this weekend have been part of embracing that.