Concept

Aveley

Summary
Aveley is a town and former civil parish in the unitary authority of Thurrock in Essex, England, and forms one of the traditional Church of England parishes. Aveley is 16 miles (26.2 km) east of Charing Cross. In the 2021 United Kingdom census it had a population of 9,801. Aveley is located on the very edge of Greater London and is roughly bounded to the north and west by the London Borough of Havering, to the south by the A13 road and to the east by the M25 motorway. The nearest places are Purfleet, South Ockendon, Wennington and Rainham. Aveley has given its name to the Aveley Interglacial period around 200,000 years ago. Important evidence of the local flora and fauna of the period and some signs of occupation by Neanderthal humans have been found there. In Domesday the name has various spellings – Alvithelea, Alvileia and Alvilea. The name means Aelfgyth's wood clearing. A variation, in 1418, is Alvythele. After the Second World War the population grew rapidly as the area absorbed London overspill. On 1 April 1936 the parish was abolished to form Thurrock. In 1964, amateur geologist John Hesketh found the remains of a late form of steppe mammoth in a clay pit on Sandy Lane. The Natural History Museum excavated the site and uncovered the most complete mammoth skeleton found in the UK, along with a junior straight-tusked elephant found beneath it. The animals were separated by 50,000 years and were originally thought to date back 100,000 and 125,000 years respectively, but recent dating techniques show they died 200,000 and 250,000 years ago. The skeletons were on display from 1970 to 1990 in the Natural History Museum, before being stored in the museum's palaeontology department for a number of years. They are currently being exhibited in the 'From the Beginning' gallery. Other animal remains were also found at the Aveley site, including a 200,000 year-old jungle cat, a large lion, a brown bear, wolf, rhinoceros, moles, bats, and terrapins. Martina Cole, the crime writer, was brought up in Aveley Alice Diehl (née Mangold), the novelist and concert pianist, was born in Aveley.
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