Black August and Shingle Street

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oldjiver
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Black August and Shingle Street

Post by oldjiver » Mon 24 Mar, 2014 18:39:22

Black August was always one of my favourite DW books, and luckily my holiday home is very near Shingle street. I have often been there for a stroll (when I could walk properly) or just a little wander now I am disabled. I went there today with my camera and took a few pictures that I hope you will find of interest. The street itself is incredibly beautiful and remote, and has changed little from the books description, except that the pub has gone (blown up in the war for target practice) Conversely the Martello Tower that WAS blown up in the book is still looming over the shingle.
I drove through the Hollesley Bay Labour Camp mentioned in the book, where Gregory got his vegetables, on the way there. It is now an open prison!!. Having locked my car in case there were any criminals about, I thought I should ask permission before taking photos, but I was told that it was only possible after making a special appointment with the Govenor. As there seemed to be very little of the original labour camp left, I politely declined. You can see from the picture
of the signpost it is still wildly beautiful around the prison, The marshes leading to the street have been partly farmed, but would still be a good defence against an attacking force.
On the shingle is a bit of an enigma, "VERONICA COTTAGE" (the red line points to its position near to the Martello Tower) I have never caught the residents at home to enquire the origin of the name. But it begs the question, did DW name his heroine Lady Veronica, after the cottage, or is the cottage named after the heroine? Or is it simply named after the flower?
The history of the street can be found on wikipedia, as can the Labour Camp in Hollesley Bay, so I wont go on. Any way I had a great day and here are the pictures.
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oldjiver
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Post by oldjiver » Mon 24 Mar, 2014 18:43:29

I forgot to add the prison signpost!
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Cibator
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Post by Cibator » Mon 24 Mar, 2014 19:05:20

Welcome aboard, OldJiver. Always good to have new posters on here. And photos of DW-associated sites are much appreciated.

As I've remarked elsewhere, the Tendring Hundred is much changed from sixty years ago, so it's good to see Shingle Street hasn't suffered to the same extent (though the loss of the pub - any pub!) is a serious blow. That b****y military, and the things they're allowed to get away with ....

Looks as though the "Albert 'All" (Rudd's term for it) is inhabited - proper glazing in the windows, that little staircase outside, and what looks like a water tank peering over the roofline. What's the story there? And what is that queer circular object in the middle foreground?
Fas est et ab hoste doceri

oldjiver
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Post by oldjiver » Mon 24 Mar, 2014 23:42:26

Hello Cibator, Yes the Martello Tower is inhabited. Looks quite posh really. Seems like some kind of conservatory on top. The thing in the fore ground is, I think, a plant support hoop made from cane. You can see it when blown up. The plant is surrounded by wire mesh to protect it from rabbits. I notice you are a fair way from Tendring now, did you live there once?
I will do a post on "To the Devil a Daughter" soon as that includes my last home village of Great Oakley and nearby Great Bentley (Benfield in the book)

Charles
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Post by Charles » Mon 24 Mar, 2014 23:44:59

Thanks for a wonderful piece of inaugural research, Steve - absolutely fascinating.

An excellent contribution to the site ... and it will be great to have some pieces to add from 'To The Devil A Daughter'.

Kindest regards,
Charles

Cibator
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Post by Cibator » Tue 25 Mar, 2014 19:26:17

oldjiver wrote:I notice you are a fair way from Tendring now, did you live there once?
Yes, though never permanently. My family relocated to Alresford from north London in 1969, and my mother lives there still. I was there only for university vacations, and afterwards the occasional week-end. A few years before, we'd holidayed a number of times at St Osyth, in the days before that ghastly shanty-town had grown up around Hutley's Beach and the nearby Martello tower. And I worked one summer at the Clacton Butlins, now long-gone. I shared my chalet with Danny Clough, who's just retired as chief honcho at the Colchester Institute.
Fas est et ab hoste doceri

ericmocata
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Post by ericmocata » Thu 10 Apr, 2014 01:50:18

It has been a little while since I read Black August, but if I re-read it, which I likely will, I think I'll have a look at these photos first, just to get some basic grasp on the terrain.

Even if we had places like these in the U.S., we'd probably tear them down to build some new monstrosity. Then we'd tear those down after a bit and build something even dumber. Few cool old buildings exist here. Although, I currently work downtown, where there are a good few old buildings, at least in certain blocks.

oldjiver
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Post by oldjiver » Thu 10 Apr, 2014 11:18:23

The great thing about Shingle Street is the way it changes with the weather. On the day I took the pictures it was warm and calm. Near the cottages someone had planted a garden that has gone wild. There were Wallflowers struggling through the grass and shingle, and the glorious smell was wafting in what breeze there was.
Normally there is a howling gale blowing off the sea that will blow all the cobwebs from your mind and send you home refreshed and frozen.

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