In 1539 two 'Blockhouses' were constructed at West and East Tilbury on the orders of Henry VIII to complete a series of defences to protect London. West Tilbury blockhouse became Tilbury Fort and East Tilbury Blockhouse became Coalhouse Fort.
In August 1588 during the height of the Spanish Armada scare Queen Elizabeth visited her troops assembled at West Tilbury. Here she gives her famous speech, including "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble women; but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and a King of England too".
Col. E. A. Loftus one time resident of West Tilbury died on July 7th, 1987 in his 104th year. Thurrock Museum were donated his diaries started in 1896 and completed up to his death in 1987 (with brief periods of omission) recorded at the time by the Guinness Book of Records as the longest persistent diarist known.