During the last 12 months, TLHS has been conducting a project to tell the story of the effect of the cement industry on the people and landscape of Thurrock. This has been financed by the Land of the Fanns. During this time many people have given us their memories. The most common memory has been the cement dust that covered everything within a mile or two of the factories. We have also heard about heroic rescues, accidents to children who played in the wrong place and what it was like to work in the industry. We were recently told about a scout party that descended one of the dene holes in Hangman’s Wood. The story came from Mike Day.
“I was a member of the 1st North Stifford scout troop who were given permission to go down one of the Dene holes in the small copse called Hangmans Wood opposite Blackshots playing field.
I cannot remember the exact date but it would have been around the late 1950’s.
We went down using a rope ladder and no other safety equipment which would horrify today’s Health and Safety. At the bottom we found a large main chamber with 4 smaller chambers leading off the centre . We spent some time exploring , as young boys do, but otherwise did not find anything to throw light on the reason for their construction. It was an interesting experience which would probably not be allowed now.”
The project should have finished this month, but the Coronavirus lock down has put a couple of activities on hold. In the mean time, there is an interactive map that will help you understand the industry and its impact.