Xmas Ideas – Books about Essex

It’s a bit of a standing joke in our family that as we’re both librarians, we tend to get people books for Christmas and birthdays. Our love for books has been passed on to our two sons, and we’ve probably got as many books in our house as a small branch library, with barely a room in the house without at least one bookcase in it!

We thought we’d put together a list of books about Essex that you could buy for someone this Xmas. Or put on your list for Santa! Or use a book voucher that you’ve been given! We’ve put links to Amazon with each item, but there are lots of lovely independent bookshops across Essex that can supply them.

tasteofessexRon Mullenger. The Taste of Essex.
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Follow Ron Mullenger as he gives you a guided tour around the beautiful countryside of Essex! Let him take you around the various farm shops, wholesalers, jam makers, crisp makers, wine makers…the list is endless!
maysSpike Mays. The Only Way Was Essex.
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
In his memoir Mays recreates his childhood village, and all its characters. And in the bustling backstairs world of the squire’s house he experiences a more privileged side to life. A view of Essex in the now distant past.
catonPeter Caton. Essex Coast Walk.
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
When Peter Caton set out to walk the Essex coast he had no idea of the beauty, wildlife and stories that he would find on the way.
banisterLen Bannister. Essex – a Dog Walkers Guide.
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
On a fine day (or a wet day) there is nothing quite so enjoyable for dog owners than getting out into the countryside with their pet for an invigorating walk.
joyofessex75Peter May. The Joy of Essex.
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Travel across the county with Pete as he uncovers it’s people and the places where they live and play. A travelogue written with great warmth, humour and affection for the county. I’m reading this at the moment and enjoying it – it even mentions one of my tourist guide friends by name!
luminous75Jules Pretty. This Luminous Coast.
£17.50 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Over the course of a year, Jules Pretty walked along the coast line of the three counties of East Anglia – Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk,. Along the way he discovered the wild beauty of the area, including the marshes, estuaries and creeks of Essex.
essexwalks75Essex (AA 50 Walks Series)
£9.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
A variety of walks across the county to suit all levels of fitness. The walks include information on the history and wildlife of the county. A great chance to go off the beaten track and discover the hidden corners of a beautiful county.
essexfromtheair75Jason Hawkes. Essex Coast from the Air.
£14.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
In this beautifully photographed coffee-table book, travel along the 400 miles of the Essex coastline, and explore from the air it’s many landscapes – the heavy industry, the genteel and not so genteel seaside towns and the mysterious creeks and marshes.
frontlineessex75Mark Foley. Front-line Essex.
£12.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Discover how the people of Essex fought for their country during the First World War, and faced the challenge of Zeppelin and airplane attack, and how their experiences changed the county forever, in this well illustrated book.
essexatwar75Mark Foley. Essex at War.
£12.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Find out how Essex has been involved in many of the most famous conflicts in our history from the Armada to the Napoleonic Wars and the Second World War, with a focus on the military structures along our coast. Well illustrated with lots of period photographs.
colchesterthroughtime75Patrick Denney. Colchester Through Time.
£12.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Take a walk around the oldest recorded town in Britain, and compare the “before and after” photos, discovering how the town and its well known landmarks and scenes have changed over the years. Written by a prolific local history expert Patrick Denney.
harlow75Francis Frith. Harlow Town and City Memories.
£13 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Evocative photos of Harlow as it changed from a sleepy rural village to a bustling new town in the early and middle part of the 20th century. I was born and lived in Nazeing until I left for university, and Harlow was the place to go on a Saturday!
essexhallman75Robert Hallmann. Essex – History You Can See.
£12.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
With more than 100 photographs, this well illustrated book uncovers the colourful, quirky and intriguing history of Essex – Saxon treasures, ancient knights, the left hook of prizefighter ‘Gentleman John Jackson’, earthquakes, historic sites, and much more!
yearroudnwalks75Len Bannister. Essex Year Round Walks.
£7.95 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
Use this walking guide to discover the beautiful Essex countryside throughout the seasons of the year. It has twenty circular walks which vary in length from 2 and a half to 7 miles.
davies75Alan Davies. Teenage Revolution.
£8.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
In a memoir that is at times laugh out loud funny and very moving and personal, Alan looks back on his teenage years spent in Loughton during the 1980s – you may have seen the TV programme of the book.
didyouknowessex75
Did You Know? Essex : A Miscellany.
£3.99 (or less) – buy from amazon.co.uk
A nostalgic look back at life in Essex during the early 20th century, using photos from the Francis Frith collection.

2 comments

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  1. Pete May

    Thanks for the book review – much appreciated! And hope The Joy of Essex helps brings even more visitors to Essex.

  2. May I suggest my book Essex Coast Walk – available from most Essex bookshops –

    When Peter Caton set out to walk the Essex coast he had no idea of the beauty, wildlife and stories that he would find on the way. He takes the reader up and down the many creeks and estuaries of the longest coastline of any English county, through nature reserves, seaside resorts, unspoilt villages, sailing centres and alongside industry past and present. On the way we read of tales of witchcraft, ghosts, smuggling, bigamy and incest. We learn of the county’s varied history – stories of battles with Vikings, of invading Romans bringing elephants, a fort where the only casualty occurred in a cricket match, burning Zeppelins and of Jack the Ripper.

    Whilst a narrative, not a guidebook, Essex Coast Walk contains a wealth of information, including many little-known facts and stories. With gentle humour to match the coastline’s gentle beauty, and illustrated with photographs and maps, the book makes for easy reading.

    It tells of the solitude of the most remote coastal areas in England and of the huge range of wildlife to be found here. In contrast we read of the docks and industry of the Thames, but find that even here there is beauty for those willing to look.

    The book highlights how climate change may alter our coast and looks at new methods of coping with rising sea levels. It tells us how tiny settlements grew into large holiday resorts and how other villages have remained as unspoilt and isolated communities.

    The author’s thought provoking final reflections consider how the coast has changed over the centuries and what its future may be.

    £9.99 376 PAGES ISBN 9781848761162 Published by Matador

    A contribution from the sale of each book will be made to Essex Wildlife Trust