THIS week’s Down Memory Lane photo shows the Mobil refinery at Coryton.

On January 31 1953 the Vacuum Oil Company’s new refinery at Coryton was due to start production.

At around midnight a great tidal surge was sweeping across the North Sea.

By 1.00am the dykes surrounding Coryton were breached and the site was flooded.

The staff only had 15 minutes to stop production. The nearby village was also evacuated.

The refinery was officially opened by the Queen Mother on Thursday, May 27 1954.

Down Memory Lane is written by Andrew Burt, Librarian & Local Studies Officer Thurrock Libraries.

If you have any local history enquiries please E-mail: ANburt@ or call on 01375 413970.