Saturday, July 06, 2013


Boudicea sculpture by Thomas Thornycroft by Westminster Bridge

Andrew Summers and John Debenham have produced a great new book entitled METROPOLITAN ESSEX.  As is usual with their readable style, you will find this a fascinating publication full of little known facts and unusual stories about those areas that once belonged to Essex and are now considered London boroughs.  Lots of research and work went into this project and below you can see a sample.  Andrew Summers and I will be talking about this book and other titles on Thursday 25 July on Phoenix 98fm Radio  courtesy of  Michelle Ward's programme around 11am.

For one thousand years the county of Essex stretched westwards from Harwich to Waltham Cross on the River Lea. The county boundary then continued south along the course of the Lea to the River Thames at Trinity Buoy Wharf, before turning eastwards following the north bank of the capital's river all the way to Shoeburyness.
This changed in 1965 with the formation of the Greater London Council. Five new London Boroughs were created, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and Waltham Forest becoming in effect Metropolitan Essex in London.
Metropolitan Essex
Whilst only a tiny proportion of the land was taken, nearly one third of the existing Essex population was removed from the county. Despite these changes over two generations ago, many residents who live in these boroughs still refer to themselves as Essex people, as does much of the media. Following on from the Essex Hundred, Essex Hundred Histories and ON THIS DAY in Essex, London's Metropolitan Essex endeavours to tell some of the fascinating stories of Essex now in London.
In the extract 'Snatched from Essex' below the reader can find out what happened.

Snatched from Essex

On April 1st 1965, following the demise of the London County Council, five new London Boroughs were formed that became the core of Metropolitan Essex. The western boundary of the greater Essex, that had survived more or less intact for over 1000 years since Saxon times, was radically altered. The county border defined by the River Lea was moved over 12 miles east to align approximately with the section of the route followed by the easterly outer ring road, London's M25.
The change resulted in long established councils such as Romford, Hornchurch, Chingford, Ilford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Woodford disappearing into the new larger authorities of Havering, Redbridge, Barking or Waltham Forest as the case may be. Even West Ham and East Ham that had functioned with looser Essex ties for several years became part of the London Borough of Newham. At the same time North Woolwich which was part of Kent, although north of the River Thames and geographically in Essex, was transferred to the London Borough of Newham.
The reorganization brought relatively little change to the land area of Essex. The five new boroughs accounted for less than eight percent of the original 'Saxon' Essex. However for the population it was a different matter. With the new status, at a stroke over one million people, or 40% of the Essex population, became Londoners.

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