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Friday 26th November 2004

Permalink 26.11.04 @ 12:57:21 AM Categories: Boredtown

London Olympics 2012

Weald Park 2004
Great. Latest is that Weald County Park, if the bid is successful, will be host to the mountain biking event.

So for a one off event, that no-one asked for, the tranquil park full of serenity and nature will be churned up, trees felled, stands built, metalled roads built for the TV pantechnicons, thousands of tourists trampling through the bluebell woodlands...hotdogs, litter, toilets etc etc

Seating for 3,000 spectators will be built around the Mountain Bike course in the Park, and many thousands more will be able to get close to the action as the course winds through the mature woods and parkland.

And trampling everything underfoot as they go no doubt. This isn't what a scene of outstanding natural beauty is about!

The same happened in the Greek Olympics 2004. A
WWF report
cites the Schinias area of forest and wetlands, an area of conservation, which has been irreversibly damaged. All that's left is a legacy of "environmental degradation".

Instead, the forest is full of litter and is not protected against fire, whereas piles of debris have been abandoned around the construction site.

Never mind all the triumphal announcements from Essex County Council.

Who asked local people if they were willing to have a 700 year old deer park and bluebell woods bull-dozed by a big-money TV spectacular?

They sure didn't ask me.

Monday 22nd November 2004

Permalink 22.11.04 @ 7:10:51 PM Categories: Boredtown

White Hart Travesty

SH*t Sign
The advert below appeared in the Brentwood Borough Council Newspaper's Nov/Dec 2004 "Culture Bites" section. The advert for the Sugar Hut Village glowingly refers to "the town's, if not Essex's most historically treasured building" and that they've been busy "reforming this magnificent structure to its former glory". Rather ominously, I notice the word "reforming" is used instead of "restoring". It is doubly ironic as the same council is now investigating 76 alleged breaches of listed building planning rules. According to the Brentwood Gazette (November 10th 2004) Brentwood Council are considering pursuing criminal proceedings over dozens of changes made to the historic Grade II* listed building without planning permission.

Externally, nothing now identifies the building as the
historic White Hart
, as both the White Hart lettering and the White Hart sign have been removed. The White Hart sign has been replaced with their own sign (top right).

sugarhut logo
Situated in the vibrant heart of Brentwood High Street in what can only be described as the town's, if not Essex's most historically treasured building, along with reforming this magnificent structure to its former glory, the Sugar Hut Village will take you on a mystical voyage into an intimate candlelit world filled with fascinating and illuminating displays of ancient artifacts. The care, intensity, passion and raw energy that has gone into this reformation has blended superbly with this new creation. Your senses will be enveloped with various mixtures of soothing ambient music set in a perfect fusion of Thai, Moroccan and Oriental textiles and culture. The Sugar Hut's highly acclaimed restaurant will serve the finest Thai cuisine in the western world within the four adjoining bars you may lounge on lavish beds, sip unique cocktails that are simply . . . to Thai for! Then let the magical world of prosperity, happiness and longevity lap over you, not only a place to escape, unwind, relax and make friends but, fundamentally, a new temple of entertainment. This mysterious, hypnotic space is dedicated to parties, meetings, exchanges which generates an aura of undeniable energy. . . A story is born.

Oh my gawd. What a pretentious wank!

Sunday 21st November 2004

Permalink 21.11.04 @ 4:18:25 PM Categories: History

White Hart, Brentwood

The White Hart in the centre of Brentwood’s High Street is the town's most historic pub.
Richard II emblem
The White Hart is an ancient coaching inn which dates back to at least 1480. Richard II is known to have passed through Brentwood in 1392 and it is likely that he stayed at this inn, and since Richard’s crest was the White Hart, it seems probable that this is how the inn was given its name. During Richard’s reign, Parliament passed an act requiring all sellers of ale to put up a pictorial sign so that ale-conners (the trading standards officers of their day) could recognise the establishment - and test the quality of the product.

The pub consists of a cobble-stoned courtyard surrounded by timber-framed buildings where horses were stabled.

White Hart yard 1880
Above the stables are first floor galleries dating from the 15th century, which have given the building the status of a Grade II* listed building, which means it is of national importance architecturally.

The White Hart was the principal inn in the town for the coaches passing through to and from London. The White Hart ran its own regular coach to London, stopping over at the Blue Boar, Whitechapel, and a daily coach to Bury St. Edmunds. The White Hart’s coaches were manned by postillions wearing a distinctive red uniform – it was common in those times for the uniform of the post-boys to represent the Inn from which they came. Other coaches stopped there as well, for example in 1764 a coach would stop at the White Hart Inn mid way through its bone rattling 10 hour journey from London to Ipswich so that people could have a break and something to eat, and stretch their legs.


White Hart yard circa 1891


The fact that the White Hart was such a significant feature of the road system often worked to the benefit of the townspeople in unexpected ways. Traders travelling from the coast to London to sell their goods would sometimes find the roads impassable in bad weather. They would push on to Brentwood, in the knowledge that a bed and hot food would be waiting for them at the Inn; but if the bad weather continued they would sometimes have to accept that they were not going to get all the way to London, and instead sell their wares in the town. Perishable goods, such as fish, were sometimes sold off for a fraction of their usual price.

Other services provided from the White Hart included 'post-horses' (changes of horses) charged at 4.5d a mile for one horse, 1 shilling for a pair and 1 shilling and 9d for four horses (according to the ‘Universal Directory’ of 1793); and post-chaises could be hired at 9d a mile. By the 1820s the road networks were improving and the average speed expected of a 4-horse coach would be 10 miles an hour, including time for stoppages and changing horses.

In 1826 the White Hart Inn consisted of: 14 bedrooms over the bars downstairs, and stalls for 26 horses, a post-house stable for 12 horses, a loose box for hunters, coach houses with room for three carriages, and corn granaries and piggeries. By the time Victoria came to the throne in 1837, running a coaching inn was a substantial and profitable enterprise. The roads were getting busier; as the quality of the roads improved people had more confidence in their ability to arrive at their destination in a reasonable time, and so travel for both trade and pleasure was on the increase. The nearby Shenfield tollgate recorded 176 coaches and carriages, 24 post horses and 13 saddle horses passing through in a single day, and by John Larkin’s time (1850-1926) at least 40 coaches a day stopped at the White Hart.

Coaches of this time did not just transport travellers and mail, they were used to transport all manner of wares: fish, game, poultry; machinery, military equipment, linen; with heavy goods taken in stagewagons - huge things driven by 6 or 8 horses, or even 10 or 12 horses in snowy conditions.
At this time, the White Hart was a tied house controlled by the Ongar brewer George Williams.

As well as serving the needs of travellers, the White Hart was a popular meeting place for local toffs - a gentleman’s club is recorded as meeting there in 1713. Justices of the Peace held their sittings there in preference to the old Assizes building. After a gas company was founded in 1834, the first ever gas lights to be lit in Brentwood were lighted at a celebratory dinner in the White Hart. In 1854, after the laying of the first stone of the Essex Lunatic Asylum the local civic dignitaries retired to the White Hart for a meal.

However, things were not always this civilised. In the 1874 General Election, the Tory Party used the White Hart as their election headquarters. Elections were held over a period of 16 days, with free beer provided throughout by both political parties - and the entire town enjoyed a state of drunkenness for the whole of the 16 days. One drunken afternoon the Liberals hired a German brass band (which happened to be in town) to march down the High Street playing loud music. The Tories were incensed by this and charged out of the White Hart gateway and attacked them with fists and sticks. The Liberal supporters piled in and a bloody punch up ensued with many lying drunk or unconscious till next morning. The brass band were so terrified that they ran off, and legged it all the way to Romford! Superintendent Bridges had to close all the pubs in town, and the Riot Act was read. As night fell, the pubs were allowed to re-open at 10.00pm. During the debacle, nearly every pane of glass in the White Hart was smashed.

White Hart c1906
The Victorians changed the appearance of the White Hart, according to Larkin. While preserving the original timber medieval buildings behind, the Georgian 2-storey red-brick building was given a 3rd timber storey, and the entire front cemented. An outstanding - literally - feature of the White Hart was the 3 dimensional carving of a white hart, with gold collar and chain, and gold horns (matching the gold letters of White Hart on the front of the building) lying on a timber baulk.


White Hart c1910
In a photo circa 1910, this sculpture is missing and has been replaced by a sign saying "Garage - All Repairs", to cater for the small but growing number of cars. By the 1920s the front left of the hotel carried the sign White Hart Garage which was also known as Clarkes. The White Hart Hotel itself carried an RAC- approved sign, signalling the logical transition from coach to car.

White Hart 1990s
Later, a sculpture of a white hart (with the animal standing) was restored on the front of the building, although the pub itself was marketed as "TJs" to attract a younger trendy crowd. The traditional gold lettering saying "White Hart" was retained.

Permalink 21.11.04 @ 9:12:32 AM Categories: Tickle

A-Z of Essex English

ASSA COMMONS - Our Parliament Building.

ART ATTACK - Extremely perturbed, as in "Don't tell Sharon, She'll have an art attack."

ARST - Past tense of ask. "Jordan, I mustuv arst ya free fazzund times to clear up yer room."

BANNSA - A person employed to deny access or eject troublemakers at a
club. "Daves got izself a job as a bannsa."

BANTY - A chocolate and coconut snack bar.

BAVE - To wash oneself.

BOAF - The two. "Oi Dave, ooja fancy most, Sharon or Tracy?" "Boaf" is the reply.

BRANSATCH - Motor racing circuit in Kent.

CANCEL - Administrative body of a town. "Darren, weeve ad annuvva letter from the cancel."

CANTAFIT - Fake, as in money.

CHOONA - An edible fish purchased in a tin and usually prepared with

CORT A PANDA - A big hamburger (smaller than an arf panda)

DAN TO URF - Sensible, practical.

DANNING STREET - Where the Prime Minister lives.

DANSTEZ - On the ground floor , where the biggest telly is.

DREKKUN - Do you consider? as in "Which dog drekkun'll win the next

EFTY - Considerable. "Ere, Trace, this credit card bills a bit efty."

EJOG - A small, spiky animal.

ERZ - Belonging to her.

EVVY - A big geezer who protects a smaller and more intelligent geezer, usually for money. "My names Frank and this is my evvy, Knuckles."

EYEBROW - Cultured, intellectual.

FANTIN - A jet of water for drinking or ornament.

FARVA - A posh way of saying Dad.

FATCHA - Margaret, British Prime Minister 1979 - 1990.

FINGY - A person or object whose name doesn't come to mind. "I ad it off wiv fingy last night."

FONG - Skimpy undergarment.

FOR CRYIN AT LAAD - Mild expletive showing annoyance or surprise. E.G.
"For cryin at lad, Britney, if I say Yes will you give it a rest?"

GAWON - Go on. "Gawon Darren, eat ya grannys cabbage, ital do yer

GIVE IT LARGE - To be thorough or enthusiastic.

GRAND - A football stadium. "It all wennoff atside the pub near the

HAITCH - Letter of the alphabet between G and I.

IBEEFA - The Spanish holiday island.

IFFY - Dubious. "Ere, Trace, I fink this bread pudding you made last
munfs a bit iffy."

INT - Indirect suggestion. " I gave Darren a sort of int that it was
time to wash iz feet."

IPS - An unknown area of a womans body to which chocolate travels.
"That Mars Bar will go straight to me ips."

JA - Do you, did you. "Ja like me new airdo, Sharon."

JACKS - Five Pound note. "Lend us a jacks, wilya?"

JAFTA - Is it really necessary? "Oi mate, jafta keep doing that?"

KAF - Eating house open during the day.

KAFFY - A girl's name.

LAD - Noisy. "Jordan, turn that music dan, its too lad."

LARJ - Enjoying oneself.

LEVVA - Material made from the skin of an animal.

LOTREE - Costs £1 for a ticket.

MA BLARCH - An arch near Hyde Park.

MAFFS - The study of numbers.

MANOR - Local area.

MINGER - An unattractive person (usually woman).

NARRA - Lacking breadth, with little margin. "Mum wannid to come rand
but changed er mind. That was a narra escape."

NARTAMEAN - Do you know what I mean? (sometimes used as janartamean).

NEEVA - Not one nor the other.

NES - National Elf Service.

OAF - A solemn declaration of truth or committment.

OLLADAY - Time taken away from home for rest and adventure.

ONNIST - Fair and just, without a lie. "I never did it, onnist."

OPPIT - Go away , as in "Oi you, oppit."

PADDA PUFF - Soft, lacking aggression. "There alright up front but
they got a padda puff defence."

PACIFIC - Specific.

PAFFUL - Having much power or strength.

PAIPA - Sun, Mirror etc.

PANS AN ANNSIS - Imperial weight system.

PLAMMANS - A pub lunch usually made up of cheese and bread.

QUALIDEE - Good, as in "West Ams new strikers qualidee."

RAND - A number of drinks purchased for a group.

RANDEER - Locally. "There aint much call for it randeer."

REBAND - Period of recovery after rejection by a lover. "I couldunt elpit. I was on the reband from Craig."

ROOFLESS - Without compassion.

SAFF - A direction of the compass, opposite north.

SAFFEND - An Essex seaside town.

SAWTED - Done, arranged, resolved.

SEEVIN - Very angry. "I woz seevin when I urd wot e sed."

TALENT - Attractive members of the opposite sex. "Daves gan dan tan to eye up the talent."

TAN ASS - A modern terraced house.

TOP EVVY - A woman of plentiful bosom. "Ere look at that, Darren, shes well top evvy."

UG - An unattractive person. "Sharons new geezers a bit of an ug."

UMP - Upset, as in Got the Ump.

VACHER - A document which can be exchanged for goods or services. "I got a vacher to get in cheap at Forp Park."

WANNED UP - Tense. "I'm all wanned up at the moment."

WAWAZUT? - I beg your pardon.

WENNOFF - A fight commenced as in "It all wennoff".

YAFTA - You must : "Even if yer guilty, yafta av mitigating

YOOF OSTALL - A place where holidaymakers can stay the night.

ZAGGERATE - To suggest something is better or bigger than is true.
I mustav told ya a fazzund times olready." "Dont zaggerate, mum."

Monday 15th November 2004

Permalink 15.11.04 @ 7:54:02 PM Categories: Politics

Clear and Present Danger

Tell me gentle readers, what is the biggest threat to western civilisation we are currently facing?

Is it:

  • Islamic terrorism ?
  • American imperialism ?
  • Stock market collapse ?
  • Nuclear proliferation ?
  • Rogue states ?
  • Israel /Palestine ?
  • AIDS ?

The answer, of course, is none of these.

=> Read more!

Friday 12th November 2004

Permalink 12.11.04 @ 6:25:51 AM Categories: Arty Graphix

Shepherd's Holocaust

Red Sky over Romford

Thursday 11th November 2004

Permalink 11.11.04 @ 10:14:34 AM Categories: Arty Graphix

6 Snow Scenes, Weald Park

Snow, Jan 2003

Weald Park, Essex

January 2003

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Monday 8th November 2004

Permalink 08.11.04 @ 7:39:36 PM Categories: History

Just passing through...

I’ve been struggling with the idea of how to explain to people who don’t know Brentwood, just what it is about the place which makes it officially the most boring town in the UK. All small towns have their petty party politics, all have neglected areas, all have urban sprawl dominating the heart of the community. And then it hit me. "The heart of the community". That’s it. Brentwood has not got a heart. And more to the point, it’s not even a community. It never has been. Brentwood is not a place you go to, it’s a place you go through.

What makes a community? It certainly isn’t an accumulation of houses, whatever the estate agents tell us. I think that a community is made up of people with a shared interest in something that transcends the minutiae of their daily lives. The reason why 'community' is so often used to describe a town or village comes from our history. Through most of England, through most of time, people have been fairly static.

High St c1906 A village would be made up of perhaps 100 families, all of whom have known each other over generations. Small kindnesses grow into friendships which last across generations, small grudges grow into feuds. Because everyone’s past and everyone’s future is centred in the same place they learn this lesson (mostly) and try, on the whole, to get on with each other. The feeling that grows is held in the network of relationships between the people themselves, not in the place, as anyone who has moved into an English village and been perceived as the outsider they are, knows to their cost. The physical proximity is a coincidence.

In Brentwood, the number of residents has historically been small compared to the number of strangers. The small kindnesses (and small grudges) have not just been shared within the town but shared with all who passed through. In this process, instead of accumulating and creating a bond, they have dissipated. In the same way, the constant flow of arrivals and departures over the centuries has created the sense that there is more to life than Brentwood; life choices such as career, marriage, and political allegiences have historically not been dictated by what happened locally but were drawn from a far wider canvas. This has given the town a sort of restlessness, a rootlessness. It’s as if we locals were living in an airport, with everyone else on the move, off to exciting adventures or heading back to home comforts; but we few are cursed to live there permanently in the shadows, looking after the weary traveller’s luggage.

London Road up to Brentwood c1906

The name Brentwood comes from "Burnt wood". Some people say this ancient name relates to a community of charcoal burners living in the woods, some say it comes from a fire in the woods which created a small clearing. Either way, there was nothing much here. Neighbouring villages have evidence of ancient earthworks, roman artefacts, and are mentioned in the Domesday book. Not so Brentwood.

What seems to have happened is that there was virtually nothing going in Brentwood until the murder of Thomas á Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th 1173. This seems an odd argument. How could a murder in Kent influence events in a clearing in the woods in Essex? However this gets to the essence of Brentwood; it’s not a town, it’s a place with houses.

The murder was so shocking that people wanted to pay their respects in person and crowds began to arrive at the Cathedral. Within days of his death rumours began to circulate that miracles were occurring, and travellers began to make long and arduous journeys to Canterbury from all over the country. These journeys became pilgrimages, people made them for the glory of God and the good of their souls; but of course their physical needs had to be met as well. Burnt wood happened to be close to the main Roman road running from Colchester into London, (now the A12) and came to be a resting place for pilgrims. A smattering of houses and inns came into being, the name was changed to Brentwood, and in 1221 a small chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket was built for the pilgrims. The town’s real history began at this time.

Roman map
The Roman roads of Essex; green roads are known to be Roman, the red ones are less certain.

By 1277 there was a ferry operating between Tilbury and Gravesend, linking the A12 to Watling Street which went from London to Dover. This created a much shorter route to Canterbury for pilgrims from East Anglia. The new settlement of Brentwood, with its chapel, was perhaps only half a days walk from Tilbury. Shops and market stalls began to open up to provide goods for the pilgrims, and inns and hostelries were set up to provide shelter. And so the life of Brentwood began; local people having to live here in order to serve the needs of other people who would actually prefer to be somewhere else more interesting.

This pattern has been repeated through the centuries. More and more people arrived and departed, more and more Brentwood became a place about other places, and not about itself. The identity of the town was one of serving the perpetual motion of others (although some outsiders stayed in the town - but not because they wanted to: a hospital for lepers was founded here in 1233; dependent on donations from pilgrims for its survival). More usually strangers were to a greater or lesser extent transient. The wool trade in the 14th and 15th century passed through Brentwood on its way from Flanders via the ports of Colchester and Harwich into London; in the 16th century Brentwood School opened, and boys were sent there from across the county (and these days boys and girls are sent there from across the whole world) and sent home again, and military bases were established with yeomen mustered from Norfolk and Suffolk assembling in the town and later returning to their homes. None of these people wanted to actually be in Brentwood. None of them had any choice in the matter.

Brent-Wood and Ingarstone ... have very little to be said of them, but that they are large thoroughfair towns, full of good inns, and chiefly maintained by the excessive multitude of carriers and passengers, which are constantly passing this way to London, with droves of cattle, provisions, and manufactures for London..

Daniel Defoe, 1724

The 17th century was the era of the stagecoach. Brentwood was a day’s coach ride out of London on the main road to Harwich. A great variety of strangers passed through the town, taking with them the smiles and kind words of the locals, and leaving their money behind. In 1686 the War Office records that Brentwood contained 110 beds in inns and alehouses, and the stabling for 183 horses. All these inns and stables needed staff and supplies, and Brentwood prospered. Again though, the energy of the travellers was essentially about being in Brentwood temporarily in order to serve the greater purpose of getting somewhere else.

In the 19th century it was the turn of the army to occupy the town. Barracks were built in 1805 for 2000 cavalry; this in a town of 1001 population. This led to a proliferation of pubs and eating houses in the town, a trend that continues today. The soldiers obviously didn’t want to be here – safe at home, or off fighting for king and country, but please, not sitting on our arses in Brentwood. Seven Arches vast railway cutting The railway line also arrived around this time. In 1840 trains began to come from London to Brentwood. Going out from Brentwood to the east there is a steep rise, and at that time the railway technology was not up to the job of getting a train up such a steep slope.Despite the wide variety of pubs, it seems that the railway owners knew that there was no call for an actual terminus in Brentwood. That would imply people had Brentwood in mind as a destination. Instead, a cutting was made through the rise. Such was the scale of this enterprise that several construction firms were bankrupted in the process, and the Brentwood Cutting pushed the gearing of locomotives of the time to their limit. It took 3 long years to extend the line from Brentwood to the next town of Shenfield. But it was worth it so that travellers could keep on going not to, but through, Brentwood as they had since the beginning.

The next phase of unwilling visitors to Brentwood began to arrive at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Their stay was destined to be fairly long term. These were the health migrants. Because Brentwood is on a hill, the air was deemed to be healthy (at least compared to the smog of industrialised London) and hospitals began to spring up all over the place. High Wood, for children with TB; St Faiths, for epileptics; Warley Hospital, the county lunatic asylum, for psychiatric disorders; the Marillac hospital originally for TB and now for people with physical disabilities. Brentwood residents took care of these people, as always, in the knowledge that although these people were in the town they were not of the town.

In modern times Brentwood has grown enormously. Modern Brentwood The current population is around 68,000. At last it seems that people actually want to be here; they buy houses in the town and send their kids to local schools. But that’s just the surface. Brentwood is still a large throughfare town, full of good inns, and to be honest, a large smattering of horrible inns full of out_of_town Essex boys wanting a ruck. We have some good restaurants. We have many fine charity shops. We have an excellent road network leading away from the town in all directions, and a great by-pass. And that's about it.

The new residents don't take any part in the life of the town – we can’t even sustain a local cinema, local shops are struggling, the pubs and restaurants are full of people from elsewhere and the civic society has just closed due to lack of interest. It seems that the new wave of residents are still here reluctantly; they live here because they really want to live in London but can’t afford it, or because they really want to live in some rural village but can’t afford it. So they reside here, but don’t invest their hearts in the town.

And do you know, I don’t blame them?

Permalink 08.11.04 @ 6:33:43 PM Categories: Arty Graphix

Sunset from St Faiths

St Faiths Sunset

Permalink 08.11.04 @ 6:30:57 PM Categories: Arty Graphix

Sunset Burst

sunset burst

Sunday 7th November 2004

Permalink 07.11.04 @ 6:32:26 PM Categories: Boredtown

..these people are RESPONSIBLE ?

Some Brentwood councillors (August 2004)






Now you know who to blame.

Saturday 6th November 2004

Permalink 06.11.04 @ 7:34:39 PM Categories: History


Thermos Flask 1946

The Thermos factory in the Ongar road, Brentwood opened in 1954. Employing over 300 people, it took over the premises of the City Coach Company memorable for their distinctive brown and cream coaches seen on the route between Brentwood and Southend.

The City Coach Company was nationalised in 1952 and merged into Westcliff Motor Services, which in turn became "Eastern National".

Thermos closed its factory in the 1980s and it was demolished to make way for Sainsburys supermarket and car park.

Thermos staff 1956
City Coach Co.
Thermos, Ongar Road (1980s)

Friday 5th November 2004

Permalink 05.11.04 @ 5:59:34 PM Categories: History

Warley Hospital

In this old map of Brentwood (around 1900), one of the largest developments marked is Essex County Lunatic Asylum. Yes folks, nutters from all over the county were locked up in Brentwood.

Essex Lunatic Asylum map

This massive Victorian Gothic building with extensive landscaped gardens was built on land purchased for £8000 from Brentwood Hall Estate and opened on 23 September 1853 to house 450 patients.

The names for the institution changed from County Lunatic Asylum to Brentwood Mental Hospital in 1920.
A 1953 centenary commemorative booklet, printed by patients in the occupational therapy department states:

Although not legally abandoned until the Mental Treatment Act of 1930, the name 'Asylum' was dropped from 1920 onwards and the term 'Mental Hospital' used with its indication of a more hopeful outlook in the care and treatment of the insane.

Warley Hospital

In 1953, although still a long-stay psychiatric institution, it was renamed 'Warley Hospital'. As part of the NHS cutbacks it was run down and eventually closed by 2000, so that it could be sold off to property developers to make massive profits. Meanwhile homeless and hopeless schizophrenics roam the streets as part of the "Care in the Community" approach to mental health.

The new estate that's been built on the site of the old County Lunatic Asylum is now called 'Clements Park, Warley'. It is supposedly a stylish new luxury development but it’s pretty horrible – towering walls of bright red brick, tiny slit windows like in some besieged fortress. There’s already been a murder in one of the flats within a year of it being built. I wonder about all the generations of poor demented and possessed souls who suffered the pain and anguish of mental hell in their life in the asylum, and who died on the very site of Clements Park Estate. Would their tormented ghosts invade your dreams as you slept in your luxury apartment?

The property developers don't mention the real history. Prospective buyers are lured with words like "Clements Park, in the picturesque village of Warley is situated within beautiful mature parkland which once formed part of the prestigious Brentwood Hall Estate."
Funny that, no mention of the Lunatic Asylum.

Personally, I'd have to be insane before I'd agree to live there.

Wednesday 3rd November 2004

Permalink 03.11.04 @ 6:37:29 PM Categories: Arty Graphix

Shadow Fox

The Fox: a shadow of his former self

Permalink 03.11.04 @ 6:36:01 PM Categories: Arty Graphix

Squirreled away

Squirrelled away

Tuesday 2nd November 2004

Permalink 02.11.04 @ 1:15:14 PM Categories: Alt History

The Fire at Wilsons Corner, Brentwood

The fire which destroyed the large shop called Wilsons was started by a local Brentwood lad called William Hunter, who died before you were born.

He was a chain smoker who set up a book-stall outside the shop, where he sold all sorts of old books including silk-bound English bibles. He would carry all his books to the stall in a wheelbarrow all the way from South Weald, passing along the back of Brentwood High Street in a narrow lane which became known as William Hunter Way.

Wilsons Corner fire in Brentwood

One day he must have dropped a lighted cigarette amongst his books and the whole lot went up and causes the whole of the Wilson's shop to burn down. There are cracks in the memorial stone (on the right of the picture), such was the intensity of heat from the blaze.

For his crime he was taken before the local magistrate Anthony Browne who was extremely annoyed at his carelessness because Brentwood School which Sir Anthony had founded was only next door and could have gone up in flames if it was not for the quick-thinking of Matron. As punishment, Justice Browne ordered poor old Bill Hunter to be flogged and burnt at the steak-house. Smokers ever since have considered Hunter to be a martyr to the cause of Freedom to Smoke.

An interesting footnote is that in 1968, a decendant of Sir Anthony, Arthur Brown was inspired by his ancestor's pyromania and brought us that great single/LP "Fire" with his band the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

(But was it inspiration or genetics???)

Monday 1st November 2004

Permalink 01.11.04 @ 3:35:16 PM Categories: Boredtown

German Nazi Luftwaffe View of Brentwood

Trust me, it doesn't get any better close up!

Aerial photo of Brentwood

Several German bombs and V1 and V2 rockets hit Brentwood between 1940 and 1945 causing 432 casualties including 43 dead.