The Shell Haven Oil Refinery existed behind the Coryton refinery that dominates the skyline of the surrounding area, which ceased oil production in 2012. It closed in 1999 having been operating since 1916. Prior to this, the area of Shell Haven was scraped by Kynoch’s Munitions Factory which stood near the site of Coryton village from the late 1890s until 1912. The village was mostly demolished with the building of Coryton refinery in the 1960s and 70s. The site of Shell refinery is now majorly resurfaced for use as the DP World London Gateway Docks which extended the land around a mile out into the Thames itself! My grandfather Peter Basham worked at Shell Haven refinery from the 1950s as a teenager up until not long before its closure. Once he decided to climb one of the chimneys for his own entertainment in his spare time, and simply wandered up the staircase that had a back support for some safety. He described how once near the top he began to notice how the chimney was actually swaying slightly in the wind! Some of the jetties from the site have escaped the DP World development and we explored them both in January and October 2013, seen below.
Old seawall in 2016
A field south of Fison’s Fertiliser Factory and the Shell Haven jetties was flooded presumably as part of the RSPB developments for the Mucking reserve. This turned the old seawall into a kind of jetty. It provided great views into the Thames and over to Mucking cranes and RSPB centre.