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‘By Thames to all People of the World’: Thurrock Routes 1930 -2004

ECDP have been awarded funding from Heritage Lottery Fund for partnership working with Thurrock Museum.

Over the course of 18-months, this project will aim to add to and enhance the current stories, materials and artefacts within the Thurrock Museum to tell the story of the many diverse communities that worked, settled and then dispersed from the area.  We will focus on 4 main groups of Thurrock communities –

Czechoslovakian

African-Caribbean

Nepalese

Sikh

Each community one tells a unique story of the arrival of specific communities, how communities developed and the memory and impact the communities had on Thurrock.

Focusing on the period from 1930’s – early 2000’s, the project will chart the extraordinary changes that were seen in the area due in part to its role as major UK port and dock.  The project will seek to focus on the social, economic, cultural and industrial impact experienced in Thurrock during this time, and relate it to the changes in the UK as a whole.  By 1956, Thurrock Council adopted a motto to reflect the ever-changing nature of the District ”By Thames to all peoples of the World.’  It is this that inspires this project, and we aim to animate this extraordinary history and bring it up to date for a new generation of audiences.  In 2016/17, this project will culminate in the display of new materials and stories within the Museum and Gallery’s collection, and this will also mark the 60th anniversary of this well-known motto.  Our aim is that the project will have a role in enabling all residents to connect with Thurrock’s heritage in a way that has not been seen before – adding to and enhancing current collections, as well as encouraging a whole new audience.

The project is particularly pertinent to the area, as changes within the community are still very much apparent.  For example over the last 10-years Thurrock has seen a 1400% rise in its African community.  Similarly, in the 1930’s Thurrock experienced similar rises and changes in its population and demography due to the opening of the Czechoslovakian-owned shoe factory called Bata.

The opening of the Port and Tilbury Docks in 1960 saw the settling of the Sikh community in the area, and of course the Docks was the scene of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush liner in 1948, carrying 492 passengers from Jamaica looking to start a new life in Britain.  We will work with the Nepalese community who largely comprise of now retired ex-servicemen, and particularly the next generation who have recently set up the Gurkha Community Group in order to preserve their heritage and culture.

Our project aims to celebrate, animate and reflect this rich cultural heritage and working in partnership with Thurrock Museum to engage a wide and diverse volunteer community to discover and record this part of Thurrock’s rich cultural heritage – and in turn relate it to the wider UK experience.

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