Cat no. 229

Regions of Britain: The Essex Coast

Running time19:04 Colour Sound 1976 Essex

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The Essex coast, from the Thames estuary to Harwich Harbour.



The film surveys the Essex coast from London to Harwich. It begins at Purfleet, where there are shots from the sea of the industrial installations on the shore. At Tilbury Dock, the “Gateway To London”, a modern container port is at work as a container twin lift unloads a ship. In contrast the earth works and gun emplacements of an earlier era feature at Tilbury Port. The Shell oil refinery at Shellhaven is the next industrial complex shown.

At Leigh-on-Sea, the sea front and fishing boats are shown and then the railway station where commuters catch the train to Fenchurch Street. There are scenes of old Leigh town, including a shot of the memorial to Leigh fishermen killed during the evacuation at Dunkirk. A cockle fishing trip with George Osborne features. This shows the cockle boat navigating the narrow creek out of Leigh and then dredging with a rake and vacuum pipe. Back at the quay, old methods are still used for unloading the hold. A man walks across a narrow plank with two cockle baskets on a yoke before emptying the cockles into the mechanised processing equipment. Southend’s 1 1/4 mile Pier and its famous train are shown and there are shots of the pier before and after the fire of 1976 that destroyed the Pavilion and the Theatre.

At Burnham-on-Crouch, the quay and Royal Corinthian Yacht Club are seen from the river. There are many scenes of sailing craft, including the Regatta.

To Tollesbury via St. Peter’s Chapel, Bradwell Power Station and Woodrolfe Creek. This sequence tells the story of St. Peter’s Chapel and there are interior shots. There are many derelict boats lying on the mudflats Woodrolfe Creek and at Tollesbury, there are shots of the boats in the marina and of the people who sail them. There is an interior shot of a shop.

Scenes from Maldon include St. Mary’s Church and the Essex barges - and a shot of a modern ship’s cat. The Essex Naturalist Trust Reserve at Fingringhoe shows of the hides and a shot of a shellduck from inside a hide.

The film ends at Harwich, featuring the passenger ferries. The final shots are of the Pin Mill sailing match and the steel built barge ‘Ironside’ features rounding the buoy before returning to Ipswich.

Featured People:

George Osborne, Osborne Bros. Seafood Merchants, Leigh-on-Sea

Featured Organisations:

Shell U.K.; Royal Corinthian Yacht Club; Tollesbury Cruising Club; Essex Naturalists' Trust [Essex Wildlife Trust]

Featured Events:

Royal Corinthian Yacht Club Regatta; Pin Mill Barge Match

Featured Buildings:

Tilbury Fort; St James the Less, Old Leigh; Southend Pier; Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea; Bradwell Nuclear Power Station; wooden sail lofts, Tollesbury; Tollesbury Crusing Club; St Mary's Church, Maldon; bird hides, River Colne

Shell U.K.

Peter Mills

Stephanie Tennant

Peter Mills; Gordon Lang

Norman Vigars

Cyril Roth

Jacqueline Clifton (musical director)

Bob Mackenzie

John Graham

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