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The Church of England and the Home Front 1914 – 1918: Civilians, Soldiers and Religion in Wartime Colchester


Robert Beaken

The sub-title of this fascinating social history of the 1st world war is ‘Civilians, Soldiers and Religion in Wartime Colchester’. And indeed it a detailed and focused look at how the Church was involved in the life of Colchester during the wartime years. The permanent garrison was built towards the end of the Crimean War between the Mersea and Military Roads. It was a great boost for the town, although things did not always run smoothly. Drunkenness and brawling between soldiers and townsfolk became a problem for the town council- as did prostitution and by 1914 the population was approaching 50,000. From the leafy Lexden suburbs, where the social elite resided, to the factories and slums of the Hythe, the clergy of the seventeen parishes of Colchester were active within their communities offering practical and pastoral care. The book provides a vividly detailed look at the lives of ordinary people in Colchester during the 1st World War.