Commemorative Plaques for Thurrock

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The commemorative plaques scheme is a partnership between Thurrock Local History Society, the Heritage Forum and Thurrock Council. The design of each plaque, approved by Thurrock Planning Department, is a horizontal oval shape, the colour scheme is white lettering on a green background. The plaque is headed 'Thurrock Heritage' and gives details of the person being commemorated. It also includes the Thurrock motto; 'By Thames to all people of the world.'

At the society's 2002 AGM, Jonathan Catton gave a brief history of the first 5 people selected for the scheme . These are:

Alfred Russel Wallace, naturalist and co-discoverer, with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution, who lived at the Dell in Grays, a house he built which is now the Convent. (see People & Places)

Alice Diehl, a musician and famous pianist in her day, also a prolific writer of novels, poems and non-fiction. She was born in 1844 in the house of her grandfather, Charles Vidal, the village doctor at Aveley and she spent the long summer holidays there. Unfortunately the house no longer stands but the plaque will be placed in the vicinity of her grandfather's house. (see People & Places and Panorama 41)

Philip Conrad Vincent, inventor of the Vincent motorcycle, stayed at Horndon-on-theHill during the school holidays with his uncle, a local vet, while his parents were abroad. He is buried with his parents at Horndon.

Joseph Conrad, author of international acclaim, lived at Stanford le Hope with his family from 1896 to 1898 where he wrote several of his famous novels. (see People and Places)

Arthur Young, late18th century agricultural reformist who toured Great Britain and wrote on farming methods. He stayed at the 'King's Head' at West Tilbury where the plaque will be sited.

Dignitaries and people with connections or an interest in the person to be commemorated will be invited to the ceremony when each plaque is placed in position. The formalities involved in seeking planning permission from the council and the owners of the proposed site, inviting guests etc, means that the final placement of each plaque will take some time. It is hoped that the first plaque will be placed in the near future. Eventually the museum staff will provide a heritage trail linking all the plaque sites. Members of the public are invited to suggest names for the plaques with the proviso that the person of note has been deceased for at least 10 years. There are leaflets available at Thurrock Museum outlining the scheme.

In September 2004, a plaque was unveiled to the training ship Exmouth and its officers and boys.

In November 2007, a plaque was unveiled to celebrate the connection between Purfleet and Bram Stoker's Dracula.

In March 2008, a plaque was unveiled to celebrate the connection between the Kynoch Company and Coryton.

In June 2008, a plaque was unveiled to celebrate the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks.

In April 2012, a plaque was unveiled at Purfleet celebrating Benjamin Franklin who visited the Royal Gunpowder Magazine in the 1760s.

On 11th July, 2015, a Thurrock Heritage plaque was unveiled to Gunther Pluschow in the Tilbury Passenger Terminal.

In August 2015, a Thurrock Heritage Plaque was unveiled at St Clement's commemorating the death of an officer and 16 cadets from the Training Ship Cornwall, moored at Purfleet.

In September, 2015, a plaque was unveiled at Orsett Hall commemorating Sir Francis Whitmore and the Officers and Men of the Essex Yeomanry and 10th Royal Hussars who served with Sir Francis in the Great War.

In Purfleet, there is an earlier (blue) plaque to the gunners who shot down a zeppelin during the 1st World War. As part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Great War, a second (green) plaque was produced in the design of the current series. This was unveiled in April 2016 at the Purfleet Heritage Centre by the then Mayor, Sue Grey.

As part of an HLF funded project, in 2018 three further plaques were added to the scheme.

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