The Mile-Long Jetty


Photo by Marco Figueira

The Occidental Jetty is a Canvey Island landmark that we quite admire. It was built with the intention of pumping oil from ships into the semi-complete Occidental Oil Refinery, abandoned due to the 1973 Oil Crisis’ legacy. You can see the pipes alongside it today. Two industrial containers rot ontop to this very day – one labelled ‘toilet’ and one labelled ‘toilet next door’. We wouldn’t be surprised if a large tomato plant happens to grow on top one day soon. It is also extremely dangerous, accessed via cable-tied ladders and broken steps. For this reason, we strongly urge you not to venture onto it considering it is also 80ft high in places. Having said that, the two containers on top would’ve taken security patrol cars onto the top where regular patrols would’ve driven down it many years into the 1980s. if you made one wrong move, you’d be off!

(Photo gallery above taken 2014)

Although it is ‘just’ a jetty, many photographers and fishermen trek along it for their many reasons. For example see the amazing photos below taken by Marco Figueira.

Our photographs from 2013:

 Photographs from 2012:

Here are some photographs from our early investigations in 2011:

Here is what BTP Joe said about the first time we conquered it:

It was a long days adventure and conquered the real monster on our way to check out the smaller jetty and wartime boat wreck further down. For months we’ve been wishing to climb the jetty, although BTP Liam never quite had the guts to do it. As advice for all who wish to climb, then trust me, it’s very stable although access is makeshift and therefore unpredictable. Keep away from the edge and do not go ‘tombstoning’ , you just have to ‘go for it’.  The jetty was built in the 1970s, and cost  almost 10 million. Although BTP Liam, me, didn’t venture down it, BTP Joe conquered a fair distance, finding some electrical boxes.

Below you can see a faint image of it being built. I went to Canvey library and picked up a book known as ‘Coryton – the History of a Village’, by Winifred N. Scott. It is about the village of Coryton before the company Mobil came in and built the infamous refinery there, forcing out the residents and demolishing the village meanwhile. Albeit generally a very interesting book, there was one image that caught my eye that related to Canvey rather than Thurrock. On page 41 there is an aerial image from 1981, showing the refinery with the Occidental Jetty making a show in the background – nothing special I thought. The page before, however, shows an image from 1974, in the Occidental refinery’s early days, showing the Jetty under-constructing, not seen before! It clearly, although in the distance, an image of several poles sticking out of the water, being the ‘legs’ of the jetty, with nothing adjoining them together. Towards the start of the poles, part of the top walkway can be seen on the jetty, and out in the water, where the end should be, there stands a single pole mounted on something like a buoy, perhaps marking the jetty-to-be’s ending point, or simply just a passing boat in a coincidental place. From the ironwork of the jetty, we’ve found that it was commissioned by Occidental to be built by the intrepid iron-mongers ‘Dorman Long’.

  1. Margaret Mander says:

    I can’t believe you got me up there! it is so high especially when you are scared of heights ! Coming down is worse but wonderful views.Suggest you don’t wear heels like I did

  2. Monica Rutter says:

    now you can’t even clime it! they destroyed the only safe place I could go. (funny when you consider how unsafe it was but it was a great place to relaxes at the end and look at the stars if you where up there at night)

  3. Very interesting! I can see it in the distance from my bedroom window.

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