JAYWICK SANDS ESTATE has a chequered history. Renowned for its expanse of golden sand, it has long attracted fisherman and smugglers. Only in the 20th century, however, did people settle there, responding to the offer from F.C. Stedman, the original developer, of chalets for less than GBP50. These were no ordinary people either, but pioneers in the true sense of the word. Escaping the drudgery of city life, London's Eastenders found at Jaywick a place where they were free to build their own homes with their own hands, unhindered by planners or building societies. They formed their own Association - a `local authority' in all respects though without official status - to look after the residents and the estate, and with good reason Jaywick became known as `the happiest resort on the Essex coast'.
This account of Jaywick Sands Estate, the creation of entrepreneurs, pioneers and carefree holidaymakers, is an important addition to the published history of this part of Essex, and will intrigue local historians, residents and visitors alike.
Mary Lyons has been associated with Jaywick Sands for more than forty years. In 1963 she acquired two holiday homes, and retired there in 1984 to open a guest house. She was inspired by Hilda Grieve's classic account of the disastrous flood to write about Jaywick, and her research - much of it based on personal interviews and oral history - has occupied her for many years.