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MEDWAY OIL AND STORAGE COMPANY

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Remains of the early 20th century Medway Oil and Storage Company (MOSCO) can be seen on the south coast of the Isle of Grain on aerial photographs taken in 1946. The site consists of four groups of oil tanks of various sizes enclosed by earthwork embankments and two jetties. A rectangular pond (circa 60m by 30m) and building situated to the west was possibly associated with this site. Although these features have all been included together as being part of MOSCO it is possible that some elements of the site seen on post-war photographs may be wartime in origin. MOSCO refined oil from 1924 to 1932 (some or all of which came from Russia) and marketed its petrol as `Power Petrol'. Anti-Soviet feelings in Britain during the 1920s impacted on MOSCO because of the origin of the oil it refined, a situation not helped by the similarity between the company's acronym and the name of the Soviet capital. The company defended itself in an advert in The Times in 1928 pointing out that it paid a percentage to those who had lost out financially on investments made in Russian oil before the revolution, the legal obligation they were under to purchase oil under the Anglo-Soviet trade agreements and the absence of any Russian money invested in the company. MOSCO was one of two inter-war oil refineries situated on the Hoo Peninsula, a time when very little oil was refined in Britain (see also NMR 1537943); the statement made in an advert of 1929 that Power Petrol was `Made in England by British Labour' was a rare claim at that date. The MOSCO site was incorporated into the huge post-Second World War BP refinery on the Isle of Grain (in operation from 1953) which was constructed as part of the government encouraged post-war increase in domestic oil refining. The BP refinery closed in 1982 and was subsequently demolished. These features were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: Hoo Peninsula Landscape Project.

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