“[The] organised working class is disappearing as people have more individualistic aims, more privatised aims,” Basildon’s Conservative MP, David Amess, told Channel 4 News with an air of triumph in 1992, despite his slim majority in that election. A new wealthy sector emerged during the industrial revolution. If you can visualise the map of Great Britain as a wild-haired angry monster shouting at Ireland, then Essex rests above its rectum, the Thames Estuary. London. Among these nuances we find some of my favourite Essex dialect words, such as these examples: Now it was surrounded by hundreds of houses. “We’re an entrepreneurial county, we don’t like being interfered with, we don’t like bureaucracy,” the MP for Harwich, Bernard Jenkin, told me when I asked him why Essex voted Brexit. Norman Tebbit (left) and the new towns of Harlow and Basildon in the 1950s and 60s. “For us it was a dream come true.”, Before winner-takes-all individualism came to represent Essex, the building of Harlow and Basildon embodied, through their architecture and planning, a utopian vision of society. “Essex actually symbolises the rise of multicultural Britain,” says James. “These were the people who turned their backs on Labour and thought that by buying their own houses in a new neighbourhood, hanging net curtains to shut themselves off from a world they didn’t have to look at and thus care about, they could take over the country for themselves.”, Then, in words that seem like they could have been lifted from a present-day jeremiad against leave voters, Fanshawe continued: “Not that they knew that was what they were doing, or understood the effect it might have on the rest of us. "They're not confident to say they're from Essex, or they feel their accent or what they wear is the subject of ridicule," she said. British accents vary depending on who you're asking and where you are in the British Isles. His star has risen in line with an increasing demand for polarising soundbites on Brexit: infamous moments include Francois angrily quoting Tennyson behind a picture of Margaret Thatcher, angrily ripping up a letter from the German CEO of Airbus about Brexit on live TV and angrily making a throat-slitting gesture as Theresa May spoke in the Commons. A grammar-school boy, Tebbit preached the gospel of self-improvement from the beginning of his political career; he was already advocating a free-market agenda when first agitating to become an MP in the 1960s. But Basildon is where the Essex myth collides with reality. But the spectre of Essex man is still haunting our politics – now as a gung-ho hard Brexiteer. In the debate that surrounded a 1993 article about Estuary English, a London businessman claimed that RP was perceived as unfriendly, so Estuary English was now preferred for commercial purposes. Amazingly, there are 56 recognised accents in the UK. Still, the rise of manufacturing in these newly metropolitan Essex hubs did not create prosperity for everyone. By . Rural/agricultural Essex accent: speaker grew up near farms around old farm workers, learnt his accent from them, different to east London/south east Essex accent. Before the influx, his classmates were the children of farmers and agricultural labourers, with old Essex accents more akin to the rounded rural burr of Suffolk or Norfolk. ne of the key architects of Thatcher’s revolution was an Essex boy, or near enough. Cockney. “This was a new time when they weren’t just going to sit in some little house somewhere and put up with it.”, Two years after Abigail’s Party made its debut, the working-class Essex enclave of Basildon, along with many Labour-voting constituencies in south-east England, switched to the Tories. And I’m Tracy from Essex as well,” she said. Scouse accent: Maria talks about her husband’s involvement in the Torside industrial dispute of 1995; Burnley accent: Bernadette and Keelie discuss the difficulties associated with being single mothers; Nottingham accent: 80-year-old Frances describes St. Ann's in the early part of the 20th century; Shropshire accent: Darren describes his home Ferne McCann, Sam Faiers and Bille Faiers in The Only Way is Essex in 2014. f you can visualise the map of Great Britain as a wild-haired angry monster shouting at Ireland, then Essex rests above its rectum, the Thames Estuary. , Older rural dialects were once mainly confined to Kent and the north and the east of Essex, which showed a few early features of, as well as some features distinct from, the modern Estuary dialect that has since spread through the region. In the late 80s, when Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran came up with the idea for Birds of a Feather, a sitcom about two sisters who end up living a life of luxury after their husbands are sent to jail for bank robbery, they decided to set it in Chigwell, a Conservative-voting south-west Essex town that “represented new money, unabashed,” said Gran. Villages along the Thames were flattened to make way for towns that extended the logic of London as more and more people surged into Essex in the early 20th century. Make of that what you will. Essex named sexiest British accent followed closely by, um, Glaswegian . In India, the sudden metamorphosis of Gurugram, an old farming town just south of Delhi, into a Dubai-like city of skyscrapers and flyovers, has made it a cultural shorthand for unabashed vulgarity. For many observers, it was a warning about where this new assertive individualism would lead. Occasionally words are prefixed by S, such as scringing for cringing, and some words appear to have been formed by imitation of sound, such as bobbery and bonx. Essex girl was permitted even fewer redeeming features than her male counterpart. Yet Tebbit beat Newens by offering Thatcherism before Thatcher, arguing that the government should abolish council housing while aggressively attacking Newens for his leftwing values. This accent is very widely used, especially among people under 60 years old, as people of all social classes mix together much more than they used to. “But I knew of a girl who would say: ‘Oh me and my sister went out at the weekend.’ They would pick pubs that had posh cars in the car park,” she said. It was a shorthand for the way the whole country seemed to be changing, for the emergence of a brash and crass new individualism – and soon, it would become a shorthand for the discomfort with those changes, for a fear about what Essex man and his pushy girlfriend threatened to reveal about the true nature of Englishness. Formerly bucolic outposts such as West Ham, East Ham, Ilford and Barking became bustling metropolitan centres. By the 70s, the constant destruction of weatherboarded cottages and the concreting of country lanes was causing consternation among some commentators. A place that offered hope to working-class Londoners in the form of “new towns” such as Basildon and Harlow, which were built by the state to meet dire housing, sanitation and civic needs after the second world war. Some are not much more than a lump of hardy grass protruding from a river; others, such as Canvey and Mersea, are inhabited by thousands of people who trace their roots back to London, as much of Essex can. Before the summer break, his school, in an Essex village called Woodham Ferrers, had backed on to fields. ", "The case of Estuary English: supposed evidence and a perceptual approach", "A contribution to an Essex dialect dictionary", http://roa.rutgers.edu/content/article/files/1208_amos_1.pdf, "Archivists launch campaign to save Essex accent", The Imperilled Inheritance: dialect and folklife studies at the University of Leeds 1946-1962, Part 1: Harold Orton and the English Dialect Survey, "Estuary English: is English going Cockney? The persistent rhetorical power of this invented Essex – as a land of a million Marks Francois, ready to die for No Deal – requires that we continue to overlook the reality of the actual place. 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