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Author's Preface

No doubt there are many who think it was a very easy matter to write a sort of preface to such a singular, insignificant, and unworthy book as this is, but as there has been certainly not a little trouble involved, and necessarily so, in getting together the various constituent elements, or items, of which it is composed, so also there is there some little difficulty in writing anything likely to be useful or accepted in the shape of a prefatory note. or argument, in reference to its content ...

Thomas Lewis Wilson

27 December 1893

(Essex Record Office T/P 67/2)

        T.L.Wilson's word of a century or more ago, despite their evidently Victorian use of language, convey the sentiments of any local historian who treads the ground where others have gone before. The bibliographical notes at the end of this book confirm that there have been no shortage of books about Upminster, from Wilson's own original history to a recent pictorial history and a book which includes a former resident's youthful memories. Why then another book on Upminster ?

        As my interest in Upminster developed about four years ago I realised that what had been written to data, for a variety of reasons dealt mainly with Upminster as it used to be with very little attention paid to how Upminster came to be developed since the early years of this century. Although the key points had been recorded, the story had not been told in the same details that Upminster's earlier history had been covered. I therefore decided to find out more and to set it down in the form of a modern history.

        My interest in local history grew from my interest in family history and I like to think this book reflects this. I have tried to tell the story as it developed for the people of Upminster who have no doubt mostly shared my indifference to the intricacies of local government administration which   still attract much attention from local historians. In any event this aspect has been dealt with well before, as has the history of buildings, past and present. Neither have I tried to make this an assembly of people's memories, although I have drawn on oral history in many cases. This book has involved a considerable amount of first-hand research, much in contemporary newspapers. This had allowed me to provide exact dates for events, which in some cases conflict with earlier accounts, some well-known. The Bibliographical Notes give more detail about many of the sources used but if anyone wants a specific reference or evidence for anything in this book please contact me.

        To many people in and around London Upminster perhaps signifies "the end of the line", as it marks the easternmost terminus on London underground's District Line. (Indeed The end of the Line had been suggested to me as a possible title, one I rejected as being to negative.) But to numerous others Upminster remains a suburb which many people progressing up the ladder in Havering and beyond aspire to move to. For those who have grown up in Upminster, or who have managed the desired house move, Upminster remains a very pleasant place to live, with the advantages of closeness to London but ready access to the Essex countryside. But these relative newcomers and many residents of longer standing alike may know very little about the development of Upminster was shaped during the first half of this century and the events an people who contributed to this process. This book aims to fill this gap.

Upminster - The story of a garden suburb    By: Tony Benton with Albert Parish        ISBN 0 9529359 0 2    

Tony Benton and Joan Parish 1996

(Published on the internet with kind permission from Tony Benton)

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