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Excellent Essex Reviews

Excellent Essex by Gillian Darley

Excellent Essex

Gillian Darley

Score pending

1 review

Category: History, Non-fiction, Travel
Imprint: Old Street Publishing
Publisher: Old Street Publishing
Publication date: 17 Sep 2019
ISBN: 9781910400678
4 stars out of 5
PD Smith
11 Oct 2019

"Darley’s personal exploration is the ideal antidote to platitudes and prejudice; it is the celebration that the Essex diaspora has been waiting for"

This is a well written mix of travelogue and memoir, filled with genuine feeling for Essex people and places – for instance, such entrepreneurs as Frank Crittall, who took advantage of the Great English Earthquake that shook Colchester in 1884 to sell his replacement metal window frames; and artists such as Grayson Perry, whose “A House for Essex” at Wrabness is “a cottage for Rapunzel, illustrated by Arthur Rackham”... Darley also goes beyond the more conventional attractions of picturesque towns like Saffron Walden, to highlight some of the county’s more Ballardian features, including the “inventive” concrete water tanks (now “barnacled” with phone aerials) that are such a feature of the “inescapably horizontal landscape”, and the “ghostly” disused airfields from the last war whose concrete runways are now used for illicit comings and goings, as well as car boot sales. Excellent Essex is a delightfully eclectic and heartfelt portrait of a much-maligned county.