Reminiscence and Resource Centre












The first party of Batamen arrived on the Essex Marshes in May 1933 and lived in the Farmhouse, and did their own cooking on a paraffin stove.
When they arrived at St. Clere's Hall, the home of Mr. W.W.Wilson, who had sold the land for the Factory to Tomas Bata, they were shown to the factory, a small building in a lane between fields of corn and potatoes. The building was not ready as the machinery had been delayed.
Mr Schmidt, Managing Director of East Tilbury Factory from 1933 - 1939. He left to go to Canada at the beginning of World War II because of his German name.
Mr W W Wilson
Building the Estate in the late 1930's.
St Clere's Hall, East Tilbury in the early 1930's.
Farm workers at St Clere's Hall in the early 1930's. Mr Siddons is marked with the X.
St Clere's Hall before the factory was built.
As work was very hard to find in the 1930's men and women travelled from all over Thurrock to try to get a job within the New Factory. Representatives from the Factory toured local schools telling students that if they were to work for the British Bata Shoe Company they would be able to afford a car, in a world where there were very few cars this seemed a dream to many.
Two of the farm cottages were converted to become the Factory Entrance and the first Bata Shoe shop at East Tilbury. These cottages were eventually demolished to make way for a purpose built gate house.
With the onset of the recession in the 1930's, Reverend Bown of Tilbury approached Tomas Bata to suggest the siting of a British Factory at East Tilbury, thus supplying work for the youth locally.
The picture on the left shows Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, Reverend Bown and Tomas Bata meeting. We do not have a date for this meeting although we know that it must have been before 1932.
Thomas John Bata trained as a shoemaker at East Tilbury and was required to clock in like all other employees.
Thomas died in 2008, just before his 93rd birthday. More information about him can be found by visiting the Bata website on and following the links.

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