Thursday, November 26, 2020

A LITTLE NOSTALGIC TASTE OF ESSEX CHRISTMAS FROM THE PAST AND A PEEK AT ESSEX LIFE'S CURRENT LEADING FEATURE. READ ON!

 As an author with a fascination for the past, I thoroughly enjoyed researching this Christmas project for the Essex Life Magazine team.  Over the last thirty years, I've seen my essays and photographs published in this journal, once known as The Essex Countryside and numerous others.  How lucky we are to live in such a lovely part of England, despite the often disparaging remarks we receive in national press.

Within my twelve published books and press columns linked primarily to the county, I've enjoyed studying historical aspects of Essex. At this time of year, editors and broadcasters often ask me to write about the people and, more importantly, the buildings with which I've had strong associations and in some instances, have actually worked. 

Let's look at the hospitals, workhouses and schools that were set up over the last century and still hold memories for folk (many of them expats) who seem to enjoy a peek at the past. 
Check out my latest book BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS  published by Amberley and available from Amazon and all popular bookstores. 

Brentwood's magnificent Cathedral in Ingrave Road.




Here we have Queen Mary overseeing some of the youngsters who lived at Hutton Poplars Residential School, way back in 1919.  This amazing School was the brainchild of the Member of Parliament in Hackney and Poplar, George Lansbury (grandfather of one of my favourite filmstars, Angela). Most of the buildings that housed the children from 1906 onward, when the school opened, were taken down in the 1980s, to make way for an estate, but the famous old dining hall has remained and is beautifully restored today. This lovely building can be hired via Brentwood Borough Council. 



Poplars Hall, Rayleigh Road, Hutton holds wonderful memories
 

Monday, November 23, 2020

VIVIEN BROWN'S BOOK 'NO SISTER OF MINE' - A GOOD READ

 



The tag line of novelist Vivien Brown's recently published title NO SISTER OF MINE, which was on our latest Billericay Book Club list, is 'Your best friend or your worst enemy'. The author of this book, currently lives in, Middlesex, with her husband and two cats. She has grownup twin girls who have produced girls. 

Viv said:   "Irving Berlin wrote Sisters in 1954 for White Christmas  I come from a family of sisters for the last four generations my direct  family line has not seen the birth of a single boy. Her mum was one of two sisters and was I. When my dad embarked on a second marriage, late in life what happened. Yes - another baby girl.” 

Viv has always wanted to write novels and had succeeded for many years with short stories and articles.  As she has said on line “For most of my life I’ve immersed herself in words. I am an avid reader, writer, poet, library outreach worker, storyteller, gifter of Bookstart packs to babies and toddlers, creative writing tutor and crossword fanatic.”

 As she has said, she enjoys dipping into dictionaries and exploring the meaning of words, and watching and/or taking part in TV quiz shows. In the evenings she loves nothing more than losing herself in a good book, a compelling TV drama or her regular supply of women's magazines - which all help to provide inspiration and ideas for her own fiction. After publishing around 150 short stories in popular UK women's magazines, she produced two ebooks,  a guide to solving cryptic crosswords, and 250 articles in the professional childcare/nursery press on working and reading with young children (all written as Vivien Hampshire), she now writes full-length dramatic and relationship-based novels for Harper Impulse. 

Vivien is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) and a Council member and a member of the Society of Woman Writers and Journalists  www.swwj.co.uk

kentsylvia5@gmail.com






Sunday, November 15, 2020

PHOENIX 98FM'S NOVEMBER BOOK CLUB GUEST - AMANDA J THOMAS

Difficult these days to make a personal visit to our Brentwood-based radio studio for our monthly Book Club programme, but we have still managed to meet many talented authors from this area, albeit virtually.  This month's guest author Amanda J Thomas was interviewed by our favourite radio presenter, Michelle Ward.  Amanda is an author, historian and linguist with a particular interest in social and medical history. She is also a member of our local historical society and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. More details below. 
 
To date, Amanda's books include 'The Nonconformist Revolution' (Pen & Sword, 2020), 'Cholera - The Victorian Plague' (Pen & Sword, 2020, 2015) and 'The Lambeth Cholera Outbreak of 1848-1849' (McFarland, 2009). Her broadcast work comprises 'London 2000 Years Revealed' (Channel 5, 2019), 'A House Through Time’ (BBC2, 2018), 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Wall to Wall Media/BBC1, 2016-17 and 2012-13), and 'The Flying Archaeologist' (BBC4, 2012). Amanda is Editor of the historical journal, 'The Clock Tower', for The Friends of Medway Archives Centre, Editorial Consultant to 'Harpendia' magazine, and a judge for the Alan Neame Award, the annual Kent Family History Society writing competition.
Background: Amanda Thomas was born in Chatham, Kent to British/Australian parents, and is now based in Hertfordshire. She graduated with a degree in Italian from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and also spent an academic year at the Universit√† degli Studi di Torino where she qualified in the study of glottology and the history of Indo-European languages. Following university, Amanda wrote for a wide range of consumer and women’s magazines in London. She subsequently moved into PR, specialising in the television and music sectors, and worked on the launch of satellite television in Europe.  www.swwj.co.uk

                                        Michelle Ward

Monday, November 09, 2020

REMEMBRANCE SERVICES DOWN MEMORY LANE IN ESSEX (UK)

After at least twenty five years here in this town, it was sad not to be able to attend our annual Remembrance service in Billericay High Street yesterday.  All had been planned with our wonderful bugler Graham Baguley, but he had to stand down when our usual service had to be cancelled due to covid. At least, we watched the poignant ceremonials on television. Here are a few images  from years gone by, and we send our warmest thoughts to those of our community who had attended in earlier years around our war memorial.







Saturday, November 07, 2020

LEST WE FORGET - A DUTCH VIEWPOINT PRE-REMEMBRANCE DAY



From Ruud Slangen, our historian friend  in The Netherlands who  sent this message today.

This morning at 11:11 hrs a small ceremony was held for the fallen airmen that lie buried in Harderwijk. Due to Covid-19 our group was limited to 2 persons only, undermentioned and a bugler. A piper was playing outside the premises. At 11:11 hrs a speech, the last post, two minutes silence, a poppy-wreath and the poem “For the Fallen” to show our respect to these brave men.

A special moment was when a poem named “Fairy Voices” was read written by one of the airmen’s sister, Elaine Capron, a poem she wrote after her brother F/O Roderick Capron died.

 Fairy Voices

Fairy Voices, why will you always be crying

Calling and crying to come out of the trees?

For under the quiet grass the brave are lying

And all the strong ones have gone over the seas.  Elaine Capron, 1902-1981


Lest We Forget   https://youtu.be/TUmBCPv-kfg    Met vriendelijke groet,


Monday, November 02, 2020

A FOND FAREWELL - MANY TRIBUTES TO OUR SPECIAL FRIEND PETER DURRANT OF THE LONDON PRESS CLUB

 


So very sad to hear of the passing 1 November of a very special friend to the members of our Society of Women Writers and Journalists.  Peter Durrant earned his unusual title of "Gentleman of Fleet Street" by working for newspapers for most of his life. Even in  retirement, he was involved both with enthusiastically supporting the London Press Club, and being one of their longest serving members and board director.  He was sought after as a great raconteur, giving humorous after dinner talks in London and in his home county of Surrey. Everyone loved Peter who often attended our SWWJ lunches and events and we shall miss his enthusiasm and presence.
A memorial service will be held next year in St Bride's Church, Fleet Street.  


Sunday, November 01, 2020

BACKLIST GEMS RE-SURFACING


Many thanks to readers of my backlist,  particularly those who are currently reading my FOLKLORE OF ESSEX. Can be ordered through Amazon and usual bookshops. www.swwj.co.uk