The Occidental Jetty is a Canvey Island landmark that we quite admire. It was built with the intention of pumping oil from ships into the semi-complete Occidental Oil Refinery, abandoned due to the 1973 Oil Crisis’ legacy. You can see the pipes alongside it today. Two industrial containers rot ontop to this very day – one labelled ‘toilet’ and one labelled ‘toilet next door’. We wouldn’t be surprised if a large tomato plant happens to grow on top one day soon. It is also extremely dangerous, accessed via cable-tied ladders and broken steps. For this reason, we strongly urge you not to venture onto it considering it is also 80ft high in places. Having said that, the two containers on top would’ve taken security patrol cars onto the top where regular patrols would’ve driven down it many years into the 1980s. if you made one wrong move, you’d be off!
Note as of 2016 the step tower has been removed from the jetty! Fishermen, explorers, and romanticists alike are all gutted this treasure is now no-longer climbable, well, not at even more of one’s peril than you had to face when they were still there. Please note we do not condone climbing the jetty, especially not now an iron pole is about all you have to wish on, plus the ownership of it is ambiguous.
Here is what BTP Joe said about the first time we conquered it:
It was a long days adventure and conquered the real monster on our way to check out the smaller jetty and wartime boat wreck further down. For months we’ve been wishing to climb the jetty, although BTP Liam never quite had the guts to do it. As advice for all who wish to climb, then trust me, it’s very stable although access is makeshift and therefore unpredictable. Keep away from the edge and do not go ‘tombstoning’ , you just have to ‘go for it’. The jetty was built in the 1970s, and cost almost 10 million. Although BTP Liam, me, didn’t venture down it, BTP Joe conquered a fair distance, finding some electrical boxes.
Below you can see a faint image of it being built. I went to Canvey library and picked up a book known as ‘Coryton – the History of a Village’, by Winifred N. Scott. It is about the village of Coryton before the company Mobil came in and built the infamous refinery there, forcing out the residents and demolishing the village meanwhile. Albeit generally a very interesting book, there was one image that caught my eye that related to Canvey rather than Thurrock. On page 41 there is an aerial image from 1981, showing the refinery with the Occidental Jetty making a show in the background – nothing special I thought. The page before, however, shows an image from 1974, in the Occidental refinery’s early days, showing the Jetty under-constructing, not seen before! It clearly, although in the distance, an image of several poles sticking out of the water, being the ‘legs’ of the jetty, with nothing adjoining them together. Towards the start of the poles, part of the top walkway can be seen on the jetty, and out in the water, where the end should be, there stands a single pole mounted on something like a buoy, perhaps marking the jetty-to-be’s ending point, or simply just a passing boat in a coincidental place. From the ironwork of the jetty, we’ve found that it was commissioned by Occidental to be built by the intrepid iron-mongers ‘Dorman Long’.
Below is a selection of photographs we took of the jetty going back to 2011, here for nostalgia’s sake rather than for quality (or to look flattering in BTP Liam’s case)!