silk river

Day 9 – 23rd Sept East Tilbury

Sat 23rd Sept – In other people’s shoes, East Tilbury.

Walk Route


Walk Description

Tomas Bata had a vision, to make shoes that everyone could buy. Having successfully begun his business in his home town of Zlin, Czechoslovakia, he set his sights on East Tilbury.

Transforming the potato fields into the modernist Bata Estate in the 1930’s, this small community had its own cinema, swimming pool and surely Thurrock’s first Expresso bar. Meet families who grew up here with connections all over the world, and witness the story of Johnny, the shoemaker with smelly feet.

What’s happened to Bata now? New developments are coming to East Tilbury just as they are to Batanagar in Kolkata. How do London and Kolkata compare in their approach to riverside developments?

Technical difficulty of walk: Moderate

Distance: 4.5 miles



09.30 Registration at Shopping Centre (RM18 8YP). This is 10 minutes Walk from East Tilbury C2C Station.

10.00 – 12.00 Tour of historic Bata Factory Village.

12.00 – 13.30 Walk to Thurrock Thameside Nature Park (approx 4 miles – accessible by car).

14.00 Farewell to Scrolls as they go east towards Southend.
The ten community walks are part of a series of longer ‘link’ walks that will see the flags carried from Kew to Southend using only boots or boats. These longer walks range from six miles to 23 miles. They have been planned with the London branch of the Long Distance Walkers Association, a Silk River partner, and are designed for experienced walkers only. For more information visit


Whilst we endeavour to make all our walks as safe and enjoyable as possible, any walk attended is done so at your own risk.

 You need to choose walks within your capabilities; the walk leaders are experienced but must take your word that you are sufficiently fit for the grade of walk you have chosen.

Walk leaders will be at the start of the walk regardless of the weather. In the unlikely event of any unforeseen circumstances, Kinetika reserve the right to change or cancel a walk and/or performance. Please check the Silk River website regularly for any updates or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Please ensure that you are properly equipped for all walks. The weather can be unpredictable so bring waterproof clothing and/or sun hats and sun cream – it’s best to be prepared for everything!

Walking boots/shoes are recommended, but otherwise please wear suitable and comfortable footwear- best to leave open-toe sandals or high heels at home. Make sure you bring a packed lunch, if necessary, and plenty to drink.

Due care has been exercised in organising the walks, however Kinetika, the funders and associated partners of the project cannot accept liability for loss, accident or injury caused to any person following the routes.

We will be taking photographs and video of this event to promote and celebrate the project in print and online. If you do not give consent to be photographed or filmed please let a member of the Kinetika team know on the day.

These images are from the Silk River research and design trips to the area.  All photos are by Mike Johnston.