Beacon Hill, Purfleet, c.1955Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Purfleet >> White's Directory 1848
PURFLEET is a village and military station on the north side of the river Thames, at the mouth of a rivulet, and at the west end of West Thurrock, to which parish it is a hamlet, though sometimes called a township.
It is 16 miles East by South of London. and 8 miles South East by South of Romford, and has a pleasure fair on the 13th of June.
Near it are the extensive lime and chalk pits of W.H. Whitbread, Esq., the lord of the manor.
The harbour is often full of shipping business and animation; and joining it is a large government powder magazine, consisting of five detached bomb-proof and well-protected store-houses, barracks for a company of artillery, a store keeper's mansion, and a good quay. This magazine was built in 1781, and has room for the safe keeping of 60,000 barrels of gunpowder.
The village is on rising ground, and in the vicinity numerous romantic scenes are formed by the high projecting chalk rock, interspersed with deep and extensive caverns. Of these chalk hills, and those on the Kentish side of the Thames, the lofty Beacon Cliff, which overlooks the village, commands an extensive prospect; finely interspered with woods, gentlemen's seats, farm-houses, villages, etc.
Many thousand tons of lime are burnt annually, and sent to London and other places; and from the kilns, railways are extended to the quarries, as well to the shipping. The chalk cliffs are covered by several feet of surface loam, and from the magnitude of the excavation, appear to have been worked for several centuries.
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Purfleet - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
Purfleet - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805
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