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Purfleet Heritage & Military Centre

If you ever take a walk along the river front in Purfleet there are 2 things you should really do, 1 is stop for a drink on the elevated decking of the Royal Hotel (a beverage with a grand view is always worth stopping for) the other thing is to pop into one of the most intriguing little museums in Essex. The Purfleet Heritage Centre is really a homage to Purfleet's military past, and what a past it is, the building its all housed in is situated right on the river and dates back to 1759 (the same year that the British Museum opened no less).

Purfleet being strategically placed on the river sufficiently far from London to be discreet but close enough to be a supply mechanism was chosen as a manufacturer, tester and storer of gun powder, it started doing this since before the Napoleonic wars of 1803; but this museum is much broader than a simple history of gun-power manufacture, the museum really pays homage to a number of areas of our military past from the 2nd World Wars to Waterloo and others, they have a impressive display of arms, uniforms, artillery and other military memorabilia dating from the very old to the more recent.

As museum go it has the refreshing air of being a little bit thrown together and make-do but its actually wonderfully charming in the way it's presented. It even manges to surprise you in parts, for example, with the spotlight being shown on the fact that Bram Stocker, writer of the original Dracula novel in 1897, actually set parts of the story in Purfleet (most people will tell you he was based in Whitby North Yorkshire, wrong, he merely entered the UK from that point – presumably for purposes of discretion) the museum speculates that Bram Stoker must have visited Purfleet given his proximity from London and the detail of the area he exhibits in his book, either way it is a pleasing little surprise for those who regard Purfleet as a sleepy little suburb with little to speak of for itself.

Postcode: RM19 1ZY
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