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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Book Review: By Steamer to the Essex Coast


By Steamer to the Essex Coast.  Andrew Gladwell.  Amberley. 2012.  ISBN 978 1 4456 0376 6. 128 pages, illustrated (with an additional 16 pages in colour).  £14.99

Mention the ‘Waverley’ and the ‘Royal Daffodil’ to Essex folk of a certain age and they will wax lyrically about the golden age of the pleasure steamers which departed from Southend Pier for London or France.  This book taps into this nostalgia with an illustrated history since the 1820s, highlighting the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, through to the present day.  “The evocative mix of sea air, polished brass, watching the Thames landmarks pass by, a walk along the pier and fish and chips and ice cream at Southend is still as popular as ever!”  The book is illustrated with contemporary photographs, posters and postcards of London and Essex resorts.  There are views aplenty of a raised Tower Bridge with steamers passing through (‘Royal Sovereign’ on pages 27 and 29; ‘Queen of The Channel’ (1963), page 31; ‘Queen of The South (1967), page 41) and of the same vessel (‘Medway Queen’, pages 84-87).  The scenes of Southend, the mention of a Rossi Ice Cream, the Pier through all its fires, the Peter Pan Playground will stir the timeless memories of all Essex people and visitors.

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