Maybe not worth a full report as it's very empty and it smelt quite bad... Still, I'll post this here with a bit of history. The place was once quite big and most buildings still remain including this one. The big three main front white buildings are in use at the bottom floor but the rest is empty as far as I can see. The grounds are in use by lorries vans and we didn't check any of the other buildings as it was getting dark and I think security for the live sections was catching on.
The other buildings are apparently in use as self storage and other retail units. The place could do with some research in case there is more to be seen (which there probably is) and in that case if I can help with you research at all give us a shout.
Bata Shoes was founded in 1894 by TomÃƒÂ¡Ã…Â¡ BaÃ…Â¥a in ZlÃƒ*n (then Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the Czech Republic). After the plea of a Tilbury clergyman to alleviate unemployment during the Great Depression and in part to overcome customs tariffs on foreign products, construction began in 1932 on the Bata shoe factory in East Tilbury. For the remaining years of the 20th century, the factory was an economic force in the Tilbury area and provided a unique model of a Company town in Britain complete with worker housing, schools and entertainment.
In 1933 the first "Bata houses" for workers were built, set among gardens in a chequerboard pattern, which were distinct from the more typical Victorian terraced housing in the area. The factory's architecture "predates" and "perhaps eclipses" other British examples of modernist architecture such as Highpoint I or the Isokon building, according to The Guardian.
Built of welded steel columns, roof trusses and reinforced concrete walls, the estate's buildings were quite atypical of other red-bricked and sloped-roofed London suburbs. All the social needs of the workforce were met by the factory, and "Bata-ville" had all the services of a normal town, including a theatre, sports facilities, hotel, restaurant, grocery and butcher shops, post office, and its own newspaper.
The German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938 caused turmoil for Bata Shoes generally but the factory in East Tilbury thrived and "British Bata" was born.
As male factory workers were called to arms, their wives often took over their jobs. While in the armed forces, employees received the company newspaper, the Bata Record, along with food and cigarette parcels. At least 81 Bata employees from the Tilbury factory died in the war. After the war, Bata's home office and other facilities throughout eastern Europe were nationalised by communist regimes.
The Bata factory in East Tilbury remained in steady use for over 70 years, but production was gradually shifted to facilities closer to its export markets in the 1960s. Factory downsizing began in the 1980s and the Bata industrial estate came to a close in 2005. The East Tilbury (Bata) Conservation Area was designated in 1993 by Thurrock Council and includes a Grade II listed building.
The factory inspired the documentary film Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future.
The Bata Reminiscence and Resource Centre at East Tilbury Library were set up to collect the memories of people who lived and worked within the British Bata community.
In June 2011, an interactive trail was launched as an iPhone app known as Thurrock Mobile Explorer. This describes a route around the Bata estate and provides information about the history as well as environment at numbered points.
Rest of the site has it's own security and is surrounded by a perimeter fence, we just walked through the front gate. We doubted anyone would query it and we were right. This worked out better than scaling palisade...
Wandered about the site for 10 mins before seeing this and jumping in for another 5 mins. Heard footsteps etc. and eventually got out and walked straight out the front gates again.
Only took a few with the fisheye, 2 are very underexposed so excuse the poor editing on them.