Monday, December 4, 2023

New Land of the Fanns book published

THE Land of the Fanns is delighted to announce the publication of a new book which details the history, natural history and heritage of the area from its earliest beginnings to the 20th century.

Researched and written by local historian and buildings conversationist Sue Smith, The Land of the Fanns and its history is an essential guide for all students of this intricate and complex landscape: an area of 185 square kilometres diverse in agriculture, urban settlements, industry and green spaces.

Sue has spent more than five years gathering information, searching old records, and making site visits to produce an incredibly detailed account of human activity in the Land of the Fanns, recording the changes in use of the land over time, the geography and geology of the area and how this has impacted its development.

Throughout the book are ideas for projects and activities for children and young people to do to enrich their understanding of the history before them. The book is guided by the national curriculum and will be an important tool for teachers and home educators, helping them to translate the past in a meaningful way for their students.

The book is more than a school text. It offers a compelling insight into a much misunderstood and often overlooked area that, when looked at more carefully, reveals a fascinating tale of the ways land has shaped the human story.

Sue Smith said of her book “The Land of the Fanns and its history draws together the interesting, surprising, sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing tales of the local area for the pleasure and education of all. For the first time, from Dagenham to Langdon Hills, from Havering Ridge to Thameside, the natural heritage, pre-history, history and stories told here will enable those from 9 years old and upwards to better enjoy, value and respect this hard-pressed landscape for the future.”
Benjamin Sanderson, Land of the Fanns Scheme Manager said: “The Land of the Fanns and its history is a fantastic piece of work and a credit to the huge amount of dedicated research by local historian, Sue Smith. I would urge anyone who is interested in the local history of the Land of the Fanns to pick up a copy.”
To obtain a copy of The Land of the Fanns and its history, please go to or call into the Thames Chase Forest Centre.. There is a suggested donation of £20 per copy.

The Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme began in 2016 with an aim of reconnecting people with the land and heritage around them. Over 26 projects later, the investment of money, people and time has made a significant difference in the perception of the area, the cooperation between groups working in the landscape, and the sense of pride taken locally in the heritage and green spaces on offer here.

Partners in the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme are Essex County Council, Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, MOLA, Brentwood Borough Council, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Thames21 and Thurrock Council. Thames Chase Trust is the lead partner and legacy body for the Scheme as it comes to a conclusion in 2022. These partners have a shared goal of enabling local people to discover, restore and enjoy what’s special about the local landscape.

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