Thames Tilbury traffic and bells, 2017
The P&O and Cobelfret ferries that come in and out of the Thames are fairly noisy; you can hear them easily enough from Southend of an evening. They usually travel at pretty much the same times. P&O are due to move out of Tilbury Dock when the new riverside berths are built on the old power station site, and Cobelfret have new tonnage due soon, either for the Thames, Humber or both. Most of the fleet on the Thames were purpose built for the route but as long ago as 1999. So a trip to Tilbury and Gravesend was due.
Unfortunately I judged the times wrong and saw the P&O ship arrive passing the end of Gravesend High Street with no sign of any Cobelfret ro/ro following.
Back across the river into Essex, quick look at an app, and wait for a Cobelfret vessel to sail from Purfleet. It all came in a bit of a rush and I didn’t make a good job of shielding the recorder; across from Kent drifted the sound of bells, I presume from St Georges’s with its Pocahontas connections. I thought it was chiming the hour which was the reason for the rush, at the same time the Celandine was passing which you should just about be able to hear, although a passing ‘plane doesn’t help. Then just after that the James Prior, one of the Prior fleet which bring sand and gravel from their own quarry in Fingringhoe on the River Colne here in Essex, all the way down the coast then up the Thames to their berth at Brewery Wharf in Deptford, Kent. This is all done with the tides; if you see them passing Southend inbound it will always be at low tide before they arrive at Deptford on the rising tide. Shipping TV have a 4-part series that explains it all and has much better sound of their 1960s marine engine.
Also merging then emerging from the sound of the James Prior is the Port of London Pilot cutter Patrol, which criss crosses the river dropping off and collecting pilots from vessels or Essex and Kent.
This was recorded at about 6 o’clock and has the worst of the wind noise clipped out.