Tilbury F.C. was formed in 1889, joining the Gravesend League. and first affiliated to Essex F.A. in 1896. After World War I they played in the South Essex League. In 1927, the club gained senior status and joined the Kent League, after several other senior leagues had rejected them, but after four seasons the financial constraints of travelling to Kent for away games saw them leave this league and switch to the London League.
Tilbury next joined the Athenian League, where they won the Division two title at the first attempt, followed by the Division One title in 1968–69. In 1973, after a third-place finish in the Premier Division, they joined the newly formed Isthmian League Division Two, where they won the championship in 1975–76.
In 1979–80 they were relegated from what was now called the Premier Division to the new Division One, followed by further relegation to Division Two North in 1986–87 and Division Three in 1990–91. They were promoted from Division Three at the first attempt but were relegated once again in 1997–98.
In 1999-00 they were promoted once again to Division Two, then placed in Division One North when the league was re-organised in 2002. For the 2004–05 season they were switched to the Southern League, being placed in the Eastern Division, where they promptly finished bottom and were relegated to the Essex Senior League. In 2005–06 they finished third in the Essex League, sufficient to see them promoted to the Isthmian League Division One North.
In the summer of 2008 Graham Chester was appointed to the position of first team manager. Chester had previously had success in the Essex Senior League, in his first season of asking he guided Eton Manor to their first trophy in 70 years and in April 2008 won the Essex Senior League Cup. Chester brought with him to Tilbury a wealth of people and passion that looked to reignite success at Chadfields.
In the 2008–09 season the team established a mid table League position, however, success came in the form of the Isthmian League Cup. The Dockers conquered Folkestone Invicta and Whitstable Town from the Isthmian League Division One South, then went on to beat Ramsgate, Staines Town and Billericay Town of the Isthmian League Premier Division before beating Harrow Borough 2–0 in the final. This was Tilbury's first cup success since 1975.
At the beginning of the 2010–11 season Tilbury appointed Paul Vaughan as their new manager. After a first season where the Dockers flirted with the bottom of the table before a late season rally steered them to safety, Vaughan's second season saw the team finish third in the league and reach the play-offs, where Tilbury were beaten 4–3 in extra time by Needham Market. In the following season, the club started well but inconsistency prevented the club reaching the playoff places and they eventually finished 9th.
Tilbury moved to Chadfields, a former greyhound racing venue, after World War II. Previously they had played next door at a venue known as the Orient Field, which was leased from a director of Leyton Orient, but moved out after he ruled that they could only continue using it if they became Orient's "feeder club", which they were unwilling to do. The club purchased the ground in 1949 with money raised from the sale of a player to Southend United.
Floodlights were erected in 1966, followed in 1970 by an unusual concrete stand in which spectators are located above the ground-floor dressing rooms and must look out on the action through a row of large windows.
A second brick-built stand with two rows of wooden seats was added in the 1990s. The ground is also notable for a huge expanse of netting behind one goal, designed to catch balls which might otherwise fly out the ground, but placed in such a way that spectators have to look through it.
The largest attendance recorded at the ground was 5,500 for an FA Cup first round match against Gorleston in 1949, although in the modern era crowds are much more modest.
Isthmian League Division Two
Isthmian League Cup
Winners 1974–75, 2008–09
East Anglian Cup
Best league performance: 5th in Isthmian League Premier Division, 1976–77
Best FA Cup performance: 3rd Round Proper, 1977–78
Best FA Amateur Cup performance: Quarter-finals, 1946–47
Best FA Trophy performance: 3rd Round Proper, 1982–83
Best FA Vase performance: 4th round, 1988–89 and 1999-00