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Encyclopedia > Essex, England
This article is about the county of Essex in England. For other places named Essex, see Essex (disambiguation).
Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Administrative County
Region: East of England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 11th
3,670 kmē
Ranked 11th
3,465 kmē
Admin HQ: Chelmsford
ISO 3166-2: GB-ESS
ONS code: 22
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 6th
442 / kmē
Ranked 2nd
Ethnicity: 96.8% White
1.2% S.Asian

Essex County Council
Executive: Conservative
Members of Parliament
David Amess, John Baron, Simon Burns, Mark Francois, Alan Haselhurst, Ivan Henderson, Alan Hurst, Bernard Jenkin, Eleanor Laing, Andrew Mackinlay, Eric Pickles, Bill Rammell, Bob Russell, Angela Smith, Bob Spink, Teddy Taylor, John Whittingdale
  1. Harlow
  2. Epping Forest
  3. Brentwood
  4. Basildon
  5. Castle Point
  6. Rochford
  7. Maldon
  8. Chelmsford
  9. Uttlesford
  10. Braintree
  11. Colchester
  12. Tendring
  13. Thurrock (Unitary)
  14. Southend-on-Sea (Unitary)

Essex is a county located northeast of London, part of the East of England region. As well as Greater London it borders on Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, and has a defined boundary with Kent in the centre of the River Thames.

The name of the county is derived from the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Essex.

In 1998 the districts of Southend-on-Sea (pop. 160,300) and Thurrock (pop. 143,000) separated from the county of Essex becoming unitary authority areas.


Population and settlement

Because of its proximity to London and the economic magnetism which that city exerts, many of Essex's settlements function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families.

The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. The London Green Belt has effectively prevented of the sprawl of the metropolis into the County, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, originally developed to resettle Londoners following the destruction of London housing in World War II but since much expanded. Part of the south east of the county, already containg the major population centres of Southend and Thurrock, is within the Thames Gateway and designated for further development. To the north of the Green Belt, with the exception of major towns such as Chelmsford, the county is rural, with many small towns, villages and hamlets largely built in the traditional materials of timber and brick, with clay tile or thatched roofs. Colchester in the north east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating back to Roman times has a rich history.

The reputation of the County has been maligned in recent years by rather unfortunate associations. White stilettos and a garish fashion sense have come to represent the vulgar "Essex Girl", while the Ford Escort has come to represent the carnal Essex Man. The Essex stereotype was coined in the 1980s as the County homed the many upwardly-mobile children of the Thatcher generation, parodied by the Harry Enfield character "Loadsa Money", while TV show Birds of a Feather also made a prime example of this. These stereotypes do not reflect the history or the "Little England" atmosphere of much of the county.

Transport, commerce and industry

The Lakeside Shopping Centre at Thurrock was one of England's first out-of-town shopping centres; it remains popular despite congestion on the nearby M25 motorway and direct competition from Bluewater Shopping Centre.

Essex also contains Stansted Airport and several smaller aerodromes that have evolved from bomber or fighter bases constructed during World War II.

The port of Tilbury is one of Britain's three major ports, while the port of Harwich links the county to the Hook of Holland. Despite the road crossing to Dartford in Kent across the River Thames, a pedestrian ferry to Gravesend still operates from Tilbury during limited hours.

Industry is largely limited to the south of the county, with the majority of the land elsewhere being given over to agriculture. Harlow is a centre for electronics, science and pharmaceutical companies, while Basildon is home to the Ford Motor Company and many related businesses. Chelmsford has been an important location for electronics companies since the industry was born, and is also the location for a number of insurance and financial services organisations, and is the home of the soft drinks producer Britvic. Other businesses in the county are dominated by light engineering and the service sector.

Towns and villages

Places in traditional Essex, now within Greater London

Until 1965 the county also included the present-day London boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Newham (except for the small enclave of North Woolwich, formerly in the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich of the County of London). The following towns were incorporated into Greater London from Essex in 1965:

Places of Interest

See also

United Kingdom | England | Ceremonial counties of England

Bedfordshire | Berkshire | City of Bristol | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumbria | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | East Riding of Yorkshire | East Sussex | Essex | Gloucestershire | Greater London | Greater Manchester | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Isle of Wight | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | City of London | Merseyside | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | North Yorkshire | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | South Yorkshire | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Tyne and Wear | Warwickshire | West Midlands | West Sussex | West Yorkshire | Wiltshire | Worcestershire

  Results from FactBites:
ESSEX, England, UK. @UK - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Complete UK holiday guide to help plan your ... (301 words)
A county of eastern England, to the north of the Thames Estuary.
Essex has no mountains or hills but the chalk uplands of the north-west make up for the lack of more rugged beauty.
Finchingfield is supposedly the prettiest village in Essex, with fl and white timbered houses around a village pond.
  More results at FactBites »



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