Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Not So Great Expectations

London's docks never died, they just migrated east towards deeper water. One of the largest is the Port of Tilbury, nearby Tilbury Fort.

Alas containerisation means ports create relatively few jobs, and Tilbury itself appeared to be more struggling than prosperous. There was a Dickensian feel to the landscape: large skies, mudflats and marshes, where folk work hard for not much in return.

Indeed it was in these waters that Dickens set the scene towards the end of Great Expectations where Pip rowed downriver with escaped convict Magwich to board a steamer to safety. While waiting they made their way ashore to a public house, one "I dare say not unknown to smuggling adventurers".

There was indeed a pub dating back maybe that far near Tilbury Fort called "The World's End":
It felt appropriate, next to the fort that marks the end of London's Thames.

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