IN PRAISE OF ENGLAND’S MOST MISUNDERSTOOD COUNTY
It’s time we talked about Essex.
It’s the county everyone’s heard of; the place few of us know. Gillian Darley takes us on a vivid, personal tour, from the seaside piers to the empty marshes and the New Town tower blocks, revealing a landscape and a story like no other.
Alongside Essex Man and TOWIE, there’s the Essex that nurtured the first Puritan settlers in America, welcomed refugees from Europe, fugitives from the underworld and bombed-out East Enders. Where dreamers and makers, punk poets, anarchist sects and inventors all found inspiration.
A Colchester nurseryman was the first to trade with a secretive Eastern Kingdom. Braintree’s only earthquake inspired an innovative building system. In Epping, a spat over firewood led to an historic victory for the common people. In Essex, the clash between city and countryside, capital and province, created a shower of sparks that ultimately set the world on fire.
Drawing on everything from ancient maps to reality tv, EXCELLENT ESSEX is no guide book, but a wonderful guide to England’s most misunderstood county.
Gillian Darley grew up on the Essex-Suffolk borders, and consequently has a love of distant horizons and towering skies. A writer, teacher and broadcaster with wide-ranging interests, she lives in Essex and London and is the author of several acclaimed books, including Villages of Vision: A Study of Strange Utopias, Vesuvius: The Most Famous Volcano In The World and John Soane: An Accidental Romantic.