Why Essex is crap, or at least why everyone thinks it is

Absolutely. I always eat at Lee’s for breakfast and get lobster from the local spots. Love the docks and fisheries.

The first time I went to the Crow’s Nest I thought I’d “fit in” by ordering a Dark & Stormy at the bar. “Zat a cocktail?” the barmaid said and asked what it was. She gave me a glass of Malibu rum with a little Canada Dry ginger ale in it. A pirate looking drunk at the pool table said “Who do you think you are, George f’kin Clooney?” and laughed. It’s a great dive.

It’s a great party! There’s a whole fiesta down at the seafront with carnies and Italian crooners, and the greasy pole is like nothing else. Can’t wait.


I grew up in Newburyport, which long ago had a very salty vibe. Before 1980 or so, it was a run down wasteland. Totally economically devastated by the loss of the factories, the silting of the Merrimack, and nothing really going for it. In fact, in the early part of the 20th century, it was so run down that Lovecraft partially based Innsmouth on it. However it was a true diamond in the rough - it has the largest collection of federalist architecture in the country. Half the city is federalist and a lot of it is brick.

During the Urban Renewal phase in the 70s, Newburyport resisted federal investment, which would have destroyed the historic buildings and ruined the community’s character. So a bunch of the downtown property owners got together and renovated the town themselves while keeping ALL the architecture. It was a huge success and Newburyport is now absolutely (and literally) picture perfect. It’s so quaint it hurts. But it’s real.

It was so much of a success that by the end of the 80’s the working class were being pushed out and a lot of the artists were moving to Gloucester or the Salem/Beverly area. Now it’s mostly a bedroom community of Boston. It’s still a beautiful city and a special place, but it’s definitely lost most of it’s working class culture and it’s pretty much impossible to afford to actually live there. But I live close enough to bike there and the restaurants are excellent.

I hope Gloucester continues to be able to prosper without squeezing out the people that really make it special.

Newburyport Pre Urban Renewa Circa 1972l:



Dismaland was set up in in Weston-Super-Mare, which is on the other side of the country from Essex. Although it is a perfect example of shitty-English-seaside-town, so it has definite parallels to Essesx.

On a separate note, I grew up near Gloucester in the UK, so I still find it weird when someone talks about one of the places (presumably) named after it. Not much sea fishing there, but they did used to gather the eels that spawn in the Severn.


Well, I’ve never been to Essex, but this reminds me a bit of parts of Pittsburgh.


Came here for this; was not disappointed.

I still say ‘Essex’ (and occasionally ‘Laaahndan’) the same way internally to this day.

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The Anglo-Saxons thought it was worth dying in

The Prittlewell Prince, the King of Bling


does the severn bore help fisher men to fish I wonder… :slight_smile:

Ha ha! I live in Pittsburgh now.

You’re right, too. I wonder why it doesn’t register to me? I would literally walk from where I lived in the fancy pants Mexican War Streets to the blighted shops along Federal (mostly gentrified now too) 12 years ago and it was exactly the same.


Essex deserves it. I was at uni there for three years, and it deserves it.

It’s pretty, and the people have a sense of self-identity, and many are nice. But it’s not got enough room for the head-butting crazies and vomiting, ethics-unburdened financial center workers. That’s why they’re Essex people - over the centuries they’ve siphoned and amplified dirty money, they know how to stay quiet. They’re greedy too. Very greedy.

It’s a bemusing place.

But then Colchester was once the capital of England, and as with all old capitals, fundamentally ignored in all senses since the center of power moved.

I’ve not returned.


Alter Road in Detroit separates some of the poorest neighborhoods in its Lower East Side from one of the richest suburbs in the country. Reading about Essex immediately brought that to mind.

I lived in Essex for 15 years (also quite near Chelmsford) and have gone back many times recently. The thing about it is, a good majority of the county isn’t like this, but this stereotype definitely exists and only seems to have gotten worse over time. In some of the worst areas it has become so ingrained that people actually celebrate and play up to it, giving birth to trash like The Only Way is Essex. This has only blighted the county further.

What I find even more fascinating is that very rich “old money” areas, for example Saffron Walden, exist right next to these urban wastelands and tasteless morons and do their best to ignore each other. However they have recently found common ground on Brexit and seem to be making the county a no go area for anyone more liberally minded


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