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The Willow Pond: A 1950s Childhood in South East Essex

Length: 277 pages5 hours


Mervyn Linford left the prefabs and bombsites in the East End of London in 1952 and moved to Pitsea in Essex. In those days Pitsea was a typical sleepy marshland village overlooking the saltwater creeks and the Thame's Delta. The proposed New Town was as yet just a twinkle in the planners' eyes and Basildon, such as it was, comprised of just two small estates: Barstable and Whitmore Way. The rest of the surrounding area was no less than a paradise for a young boy newly arrived from the deprivations of a bombed-out city. Apart from the creeks and the marshes his incipient love of nature was increased manifold as and when his newfound horizons extended deep into the farms, the small holdings, the 'plotlands', the orchards, the elm-lined lanes and hawthorn thickets of this as yet unspoiled natural paradise. This story follows the life of one particular boy as he journeys through the 1950s and covers much of South East Essex from Stanford-le-Hope in the west to Canvey Island and Southend-on-Sea in the east.

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