Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 11/A corner of Essex revisited


Without feeling, like Mr. Kingsley, an enthusiasm in east winds, or being their encomiast, we admit that there are a few weeks in the height of summer when the Eastern Coast of England, with its breeze from the German Ocean, is desirable and invigorating. Scarborough, Whitby, Cromer, Lowestoft, and several minor places, become filled, for a time, with guests quite to the extent of their accommodation. And spots nearer London,—Felixstow and Aldburghe (or Aldbro’) in Suffolk; Walton-on-the-Naze and Dovercourt, in Essex, procure as many visitors as the supply of meat and milk is capable of victualling, and as make them “without o’erflowing full.” The last-named place has an attraction for the pater and mater familias whose household is large and whose offspring small, in the easiness of its access from the metropolis. The old Eastern Counties Railway has changed its name, as a snake casts its skin, and hopes, under the title of the “Great Eastern,” to escape all the traditional jests that cling to it. We trust that it will try under the new appellation to provide better carriage accommodation, and to keep better time than it has done hitherto.

Two hours and a quarter from the Bishopsgate (fine for Bishopsgate Street) Station bring the family group and their baggage to Dovercourt, the terminus being two or three minutes’ walk only from the houses and the sea. The distance from London is seventy-two miles; so that it must be understood that the train which accomplishes this feat is one “de grande vitesse.”

The Dovercourt known to sea bathers is a small collection of new houses, so situated that it occupies a headland within a bay, the northern horn of which is Landguard Point and Fort, in Suffolk; the southern is the Naze, in Essex, the distance between the extremities being about ten miles in a straight line. The united estuaries of the rivers Stour and Orwell, forming Harwich harbour to the north, and the trend of the bay to the south, isolate the little borough and its watering-place on three sides; and Dovercourt, being seated on a small elevation, produce to it a combination of sea, inland waters, shipping, wood, and human habitations, which is certainly very beautiful. At a bathing-place the first object of visitors is health; the second, is generally amusement,—the latter often materially conducing to the main design. If subjects of interest are sought for in this neighbourhood they will assuredly be found, as they are to be discovered in every part of our land in which an intelligent person may locate himself. Independent of natural beauties, our country, being small and having a history, there is scarcely a corner that is not eventful, hung about with traditions, preserving memorials of wood and stone, or lingering names which are relics as imperishable as those more material objects. What Gilbert White did at Selbourne, each inquiring resident may do in his own village; and the casual visitor may do the same wherever he casts himself down, without fear of finding any locality utterly barren. The corner of East Anglia we have selected is perhaps more fruitful than some other places. The geologist will find fossils in the low cliff and in the coprolite beds in the neighbourhood. He will find tusks of elephants in the great estuary of the two rivers, and need not ascribe them now, as was formerly done, to the remains of elephants which the Emperor Claudius brought with him to England, because Essex has shown itself in its drift rich in these bones, which have been already described in Once a Week.[1] He may Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/531 Page:Once a Week Jun to Dec 1864.pdf/532

  1. See Vol. III., p. 53.