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By: Brian Everitt

Made in Essex

Pages: 146 Ratings: 4.5
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My parents, Lucy and Sidney, married in 1925 and lived in a small house in Custom House, East London. From their marriage until 1937, they had nine children, all girls, three of whom died in infancy. The family was bombed out in 1941 and evacuated to Reading. In 1943, they found their way to Brentwood in Essex where they all lived in a small rented house in the nearby hamlet of Pilgrims Hatch. To everybody’s surprise, my mum gave birth to her tenth child in June in 1944, the only boy, and I was christened Brian. The family was poor and none of the girls had received much of an education during their time in Reading. My dad worked as a painter and decorator but was often unemployed. My three youngest sisters were all prototype ‘Essex Girls’ with all that now applies. Despite having six sisters, my life was often akin to that of an only child. However, I was fortunate to have lots of friends when growing up and, despite the lack of money, I had a wonderfully free and entertaining childhood. This book documents my memories of this childhood as seen from the perspective of a 75-year-old.

Brian Everitt is professor emeritus, King’s College London. He retired in 2004 at the age of 60. In his career as a statistician, he wrote over 70 books on various aspects of medical and psychological statistics. Post-retirement, he now spends his time playing very gentle tennis, going on long walks and playing classical guitar in private.

Customer Reviews
2 reviews
2 reviews

    For those born at the end of WW2, or soon thereafter, Everitt's 'Made in Essex' is a wonderful nostalgic reminder of simpler days when imagination and improvisation were the watchwords for children. Innocent pleasures without parental oversight- and often without parental interference as children were allowed greater freedom than is the case today. Parents in the 1950's were happy to allow young children to play with friends with minimal control.This book is a happy reminder of times when money and material goods were limited and children enjoyed what little they had.
    The anecdotes and memories of childhood , evoked by Professor Everitt, are a fascinating social history. I particularly enjoyed the Festival of Britain recollection. Exactly 70 years ago it was a celebration of British achievements post war with the 'Dome of Discovery' and the futuristic 'Skyline'- both shown in pictures.
    This slim volume is packed with so many interesting snippets- cooking, sport,cinema,racial tensions,,childhood occupations. Everitt has produced a delightful evocation of past times that cannot fail to interest anyone looking to gain a window on the past. He has an eloquent style which draws the reader into the mischievous upbringing of an Essex boy!

  • Michael Wilkins

    Brian Everitt has written an excellent book of reminiscences from his childhood. He was brought up in a world that has been lost in many ways but those who had a childhood in the 1950s will recognise the experiences Brian describes. The expectation that children will fill their time in unstructured play encouraged to go out and only return for meals. It shows how children had to entertain themselves through creating games and their own imaginative world. Brian shows how it was a time with less organised play through clubs and sports coaching.

    Brian also shows how one family survived a lack of income but clearly had a love for each other although not overtly expressed. It has poignancy and celebration.

    This book is a great addition for those interested in the history of childhood and a snapshot of a time that has disappeared.

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