ON 4th July 2020 at midday, Purfleet in Essex was officially renamed Purfleet-on-Thames. This follows a two- year campaign by Purfleet-on-Thames Community Forum led by vice chair Trevor Batchelor.
The name change recognises Purfleet’s location and historical connection with the river. On its river banks is the last remaining Royal Gunpowder Magazine (now a heritage centre) where the Government stored gunpowder. The historical importance of Purfleet to the country was that all of the Government’s gunpowder was stored there. It was tested and proved in a proofing house behind the gunpowder magazine.
First written reference to Purfleet-on-Thames was in 1866. In early Victorian to late Edwardian times the village of Purfleet attracted up to 1,500 tourists a day who arrived by boat and train. They came to enjoy the river and rural pleasures of this once popular village. It was a destination of choice for many Londoners. Purfleet was known as Purfleet-on-Thames. It is about to become a destination of choice again after a £1 billion regeneration of the area was approved and is starting to happen.
It has been over 100 years since the name Purfleet-on-Thames was first used. In January this year Thurrock Councillors voted unanimously to change the name. Purfleet-on-Thames Community Forum received from the beginning of their campaign support from local ward Councillors, leader of the Council and local MP and most importantly local residents.
A low-key ceremony and sign unveiling took place with the Mayor of Thurrock, local MP, local Councillors and a few local residents.
Mayor of Thurrock Terry Piccolo said “The involvement of the local Forum in bringing this name change forward must be commended. With the commitment of the local residents I am sure Purfleet-on-Thames has an exciting future”.
Local councillor Cllr: Victoria Holloway added: During her speech Cllr Victoria Holloway said “I am proud to now call the ward I represent Purfleet-on-Thames.
“This name change signifies the importance of this place and where it sits on the river and in Thurrock. It demonstrates that the Thames is a significant part of Purfleet’s history and also its future. Regeneration plans moving forward are placing the river front as a key part of its plans.
None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for the dedication and persistence of the Purfleet Community Forum. Special thanks to Trevor Batchelor and John Rowles. I was so happy to support your vision for the area as your ward Councillor to ensure this historic and exciting moment.”
West Thurrock councillor Qaisar Abbas added: “The old, new name will raise the areas profile. Residents of our ward are excited to use this new name.
As a local councillor, I supported the change of name petition.
I want to thank John, Trevor and the members of the Purfleet-on-Thames Community Forum for their efforts”.
Ken Dytor head of PCRL (developers of the town regeneration) said: “We are going to be backing the community to the hilt, opening up of the river is going to be really important. This is a real opportunity for us to show the World what Purfleet-on-Thames means, it means a community working together in harmony to get results”
John Rowles, chair of the Forum said “This just shows that by being involved, you can make changes happen”
Summing up Trevor Batchelor said “I am delighted to see the name change come to fruition after over 100 years of Purfleet persistence. The new name is like an old friend returning for good this time. A ray of hope for our future with a nod to the past. Allison Campbell MBE suggested the name change nearly 20 years ago; I am proud to have given the final push to make the name change happen”
For further information of the name change https://purfleet-on-thames.org/petition/