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Bata Industrial Buildings Numbers 24 and 34 victory House and Nelson House

A Grade II Listed Building in East Tilbury, Thurrock

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Latitude: 51.4774 / 51°28'38"N

Longitude: 0.415 / 0°24'54"E

OS Eastings: 567807

OS Northings: 178147

OS Grid: TQ678781

Mapcode National: GBR NM7.9RR

Mapcode Global: VHJLD.44S8

Entry Name: Bata Industrial Buildings Numbers 24 and 34 victory House and Nelson House

Listing Date: 16 June 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393327

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505020

Location: Thurrock, RM18

County: Thurrock

Electoral Ward/Division: East Tilbury

Built-Up Area: East Tilbury

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: East and West Tilbury and Linford

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Horndon on the Hill

Listing Text

16-JUN-09 Bata Industrial Buildings Numbers 24 a
nd 34
Victory House and Nelson House

Buildings 24 (Victory House) and 34 (Nelson House), of the former British Bata site, East Tilbury, designed by F L Gahura (1891-1958) and V Karfik (1901-1996) for the Bata Shoe Company of Zlin in the International Modern Movement style, built between 1934 and 1938.

Re-inforced concrete frames and columns in modules of 6.15m on a system evolved by architect Gahura and the builder engineer Arnost Sehdel in 1927 for Zlin.

Both buildings 24 and 34 are five storey blocks conforming to the standard unit of 13 bays by 3 with a projecting circulation and sanitary block of 3 bays by 1 bay in the centre.

Both buildings have extensive, original fenestration to all elevations and flat roofs. On the roof of Building 34 is the iconic water tower with the 'Bata' trademark in red lettering. Both facades have three centrally projecting bays which in turn have at the centre projecting bands of rounded glazing above the main entrance.There are later additions to the rear of Victory House, and to the rear and side of Nelson House, as the modular design intended and allowed for.

All floors have circular columns of reinforced-concrete and uniform diameter to enable travelling steel formwork to be used. The interior is characterised by large spaces between the columns where the processes of leather and rubber manufacturing took place. There is no evidence of the processes which occurred within other than the retention of numerous boot and shoe moulds. Although some modern partitions (reversible) have been put in on some floors, the blocks retain the original stairs with tubular steel handrails and a dividing balustrade to each flight.

The Bata shoe company identified the historic riverside of East Tilbury as a suitable place for the development of a Shoe Factory and purpose built settlement between the 1930s and 1960s. From modest origins, the Bata Company grew in the inter-war years of the C20 to become one of the world's largest shoe manufacturers and retailers. Its founder was Thomas Bata. By the 1930s, the Bata Company had become a world-wide shoe empire, co-ordinating its global activities, in particular all details of the shoe-making process, from the HQ at Zlin. It expanded its manufacturing sites globally including factories in Holland, India and East Tilbury (known as British Bata) in 1933. By the early 1930s, Bata's architects F L Gahura (1891-1958) and his student V Karfik (1901-1996), both of whom had trained with Le Corbusier and in Karfik's case, also worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, had developed a consistent architectural design in the International Modern Movement style for Bata sites across the globe.

The plant at East Tilbury acted as both producer and distributor of the Bata products, primarily in the manufacture of rubber and leather footwear. The first factory buildings, including Building 12, were constructed in January 1933. In 1934, a leather factory (Trafalgar house, building 13) and domestic housing was built. Between 1936 and 1938, a second leather and rubber factory (buildings 24 and 34) were built as well as a garage and other social facilities and although WWII slowed development, the site continued to expand into the 1960s.

English Heritage, East Tilbury, Essex;:Historic Area Appraisal, 2007

Buildings 24 and 34 at the former British Bata site, East Tilbury, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Industrial buildings in the International Modern Movement style in both exterior and interior detailing, designed by Gahura and Karfik in Bata's home town of Zlin and exported to global satellite complexes, of which East Tilbury is the only British example.
* Although up to 5 years later than building 13, they share the same impressive architectural form, treatment and extent of intactness; both have strong group value with it.
* They are closest of all the British Bata buildings to Zlin prototypes by the use of round columns.
* They are a key element in a rare industrial settlement of the interwar period.
* They are prominent landmark buildings in the Thames Gateway.
* Recent in-depth research has emphasised the international and historic significance of the East Tilbury settlement, which combined with the architectural interest of buildings 24 and 34, renders them of special interest in the national context.

Listing NGR
TQ6789878195 (building 34) TQ6789778191 (building 24)

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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