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Hardware store, Marfa, Texas, 22 January 2004
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Tomas Bata was a Czech shoe manufacturer, who set out to do for the shoe what Henry Ford did for the motor car. One branch of his international empire, a workers’ community as well as a factory, was established in 1933 at East Tilbury, Essex, on the north bank of the Thames estuary. The British Bata Shoe Company’s factory is now closed but I visited this modernist settlement in 1998 when it was still working. This text is extracted from my book The River: The Thames in Our Time (1999).