THIS week for Down Memory Lane I was inspired by the 25th anniversary of the opening of Lakeside Shopping Centre to look back to the time before the current Lakeside era and the reason why this popular retail therapy haven was developed where it is.

The hole in the ground was cre - ated by the Tunnel Portland Cement Company extracting the deep chalk deposits for mixing into slurry with clay from South Ockendon and roasting in huge rotary kilns to create cement by crushing the resulting clinker .

For many, the deposit of cement dust across Thurrock wasawell-known environmental pollutant of the area.

My featured photograph was taken from Hill Top Road in 1966 by a friend of Thurrock Museum.

This vantage point, overlooking the chalk quarry, shows the site being worked by huge excavating cranes, and the industrial railway used to take the raw chalk to the cement factory.

Thurrock Museum’s archive has some copies of the Tunnel Portland Cement Company’ s house magazine, called 105 Piccadilly.

If any former employees still have back numbers and want to donate them to our archive, I would be most interested to receive them, as they contain a fantastic record of the West Thurrock cement works, and, more importantly, those people who worked there.

Many thought the remaining wastelands would scar Thurrock forever, but the resulting retail developments have made a success for Thurrock, to such an extent that some visitors think Thurrock is a part of Lakeside and not the other way round!

DOWN MEMORY LANE is written by JONATHAN CATTON, Thurrock Heritage and Museum Office. Memories, photographs or objects relating to Thurrock’s past will be gratefully received for the Thurrock Museum collections. Contact by letter at Thurrock Museum, Thameside Complex, Orsett Road, Grays, RM17 5DX, call 01375 413965, make a personal visit or e-mail