Experience the ‘interwar years’ with Thurrock Museum

An exhibition chronicling the ‘interwar years’ is being held at the Thameside Complex.

Produced by Thurrock Museum volunteers, the exhibition features the history of the period between November 1918 and September 1939.

The exhibition is part of a series by Thurrock Museum volunteers documenting the First World War through to the end of the Second World War.

Visitors are invited to explore the history of a period that saw Britain emerge from the Edwardian era towards a fledgling modernity.

The interwar period brought about an improvement in the rights and living conditions of ordinary Britons with universal suffrage and good quality social housing being among the many advancements.

Traditional social roles and boundaries were breaking down which brought more women into work; a decrease in religiosity gave rise to a more hedonistic society and pastimes including cinema, music and dancing became increasingly popular to a population that sought to enjoy itself following the trauma of 1914-1918.  

Thurrock enjoyed many infrastructure investments that would later become iconic within the borough including Grays’s State Cinema and East Tilbury’s Bata Shoe Factory.

The social housing programme of the 1920s improved living conditions to such an extent that the Grays and Tilbury Gazette wrote: “Tilbury has been transformed into a dilapidated morass to a town of real dignity and spaciousness.”

During the interwar period Thurrock and the country at large experienced a period of unparalleled optimism and advancement.

Both were also heading inexorably towards war.

The Thurrock Museum volunteers will soon be producing the final instalment of the project which will cover the history of the Second World War.

They will collect information about Thurrock during the war by holding ‘memory mornings’ where people with memories of wartime Thurrock will be invited to contribute their stories to the exhibition over tea and biscuits.

Thurrock Museum volunteers would like to encourage residents with Thurrock-related wartime memories to get in touch.

Contact the museum on 01375 413 965 or email thurrock.museum@thurrock.gov.uk 

The Interwar Years exhibition is taking place in the lower galleries of the Thameside Complex until 26 April.