Dartford to Greenhithe (part 3)

The mouth of the River Darent is a pretty empty area, emphasized by the wide-angle lens. Across the Darent is  the Darent Industrial Park, mainly hidden behind earth embankments, on the northern edge of the Crayford Marshes. Across the Thames are the Aveling Marshes and Purfleet. Behind me as I took the picture were the Dartford marshes, mostly drained farmland, and Long Reach stretches away to the right out of picture.

Mouth of the River Darent,        © 2003, Peter Marshall

The view from the other bank of the river mouth is more interesting, as this picture I took in January 2003, shortly after I first got a serious digital camera, the Nikon D100 shows.

Here at Long Reacg was a desolate location used for London’s smallpox and fever hospitals, at first on hospital ships moored in Long Reach and in tents close to these, then also in the more permanent buildings of Long Reach Hospital and Orchard Hospital built in 1901-2. A little further inland, Joyce Green Hospital with almost a thousand beds was built in 1903, making a total of over 2000 beds for smallpox victims in the area and the ships were sold off. All of the hospital buildings are now gone, virtually without trace.

Instead in the distance we now see Littlebrook Power Station. The first of four power stations opened here in in 1939, using coal brought by rail, but later this and the other power stations on the site were oil-fired. Littlebrook D replaced the earlier stations in 1981 and only ceased operation in March 2015.  Climate Camp came here as well as Kingsnorth a few miles downstream in 2009, but I was in Edinburgh and missed it.

Past the power station you can see in the distance the Dartford Bridge (Queen Elizabeth II Bridge) which opened in 1991 and although not itself part of the motorway connects the two ends of the M25 which come to the banks of the river, along with the two Dartford tunnels. Bicycles are unfortunately not allowed on the bridge or I would probably have been up there taking pictures. You have to use a free transfer service, provided I think by Land Rover, but I’ve never done so. Before the power station is a sewage works, not visible from the distance, though very noticeable by its smell when you get closer. And a little inland is a shooting range, the sounds from which, along with a slightly more distant moto-cross circuit accompanied us for the next couple of miles.

British Beech discharges oil at Littlebrook, September 1985

The panorama was stitched from four exposures in portrait format using the Fuji 10-24mm (15-36mm eq) zoom and has a horizontal angle of view of around 148 degrees. I haven’t quite got the power station chimney vertical yet. There was as you can see plenty of blue sky and those sun-hats were pretty necessary, though I wasn’t wearing one – my hair is still fairly long and thick enough to give protection.

Close to the bridge on the opposite bank at Purfleet, the daily Cobelfret ferry to Zeebrugge was preparing to leave, and we stopped close to the bridge to photograph it going under, as well as admiring a rather nice cloud formation.

Even in this relatively confined river, the ferry was still going at quite a lick, and was soon under and away. We could see it for a long time as it went past Grays and turned towards Tilbury.

By now I was getting rather tired. It wasn’t a long walk but the hot sun virtually without any shade was wearing and I hardly stopped to take any photographs as we went past Crossways and the Freightliner Terminal and on to the station at Greenhithe, and most of those that I did I soon deleted.

Pictures from the walk are at Darent Valley Path & Thames.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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One Response to “Dartford to Greenhithe (part 3)”

  1. […] ‘Rays’ on Photography and Photographers « Dartford to Greenhithe (part 1) Dartford to Greenhithe (part 3) » […]

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