In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Tilbury like this:
Tilbury, ry. sta. (and hotel, at Tilbury Docks), Essex, on river Thames, 22 miles E. of London, opposite Gravesend, with which it is connected by steam ferry; P.O. Tilbury Docks, with ry. sta., consist of a main dock (1818 ft. long, 600 wide, and 38 deep), and three branches (each 1600 ft. long and 38 deep - the Centre Branch Dock being 300 ft. wide, while each of the other two is 250 ft. wide); four large dry docks for repairs; and a tidal basin, with a water area of 19 ac., and a depth of 26 ft. ...
at low-water spring tides and of 46 ft. below Trinity high-water mark. At the 14 quays (in the main and branch docks), which are 13,000 ft. in length, 32 steam vessels of the largest size can be berthed for loading or discharging, while the tidal basin enables the largest steamships to enter and leave irrespective of the condition of the tide. The Tilbury Docks, which are among the finest in the world, were formed by the East and West India Dock Company; they were commenced in 1882, and opened in 1886. Tilbury Fort, on E. side of sta., was erected in 1667 and extended in 1861, is strongly fortified, and forms the main defence of the Thames above Sheerness; near this place Queen Elizabeth reviewed her army at the time of the Spanish Armada.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Tilbury has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Thurrock. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Tilbury and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Tilbury, in Thurrock and Essex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 29th March 2015
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