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“I had a really great day out with the kids. Everything was reasonably priced and the security cameras, armed guards and teams of attack dogs really made me feel safe. 10/10!”
East England Urban Regeneration Area
(A Subsidiary of Samsung Philippines R&D)
Formerly The Extended Municpally Governed Semi-Urban Principality of Uwottam8a
|Motto: "The Management (peace be upon Them) Are Watching You"|
|Anthem: "All Glory to The Management (peace be upon Them)"|
Essex's location within England
|Largest city||Chelmsford (formerly Harlow)|
|Official language(s)||Doublespeak (formerly English)|
|Population||1,729,200 Loyal Consumers|
|Major imports||Recycled plastic|
|Native Inhabitants||Devotees of Saint Chav|
|Colonised By||Samsung Philippines R&D and the Thatcher Administration, c.1981 A.D.|
|Principal Investors||Walmart Conglomerate, News International, Government of the United Kingdom|
|Average Family Income|| |
Where A = average family income, M = Minimum wage,
F = Number of employed family members, T = Taxes and
B = Benefits.
Essex™ is a Premium Retail Destination (PRD) and Urban Regeneration Infrastructure, Non-Esoteric class (URINE) on the east coast of England. Strategically placed within a Designated Easy Access Demarcation zone (or DEADZONE) with a Streamlined High-Intensity Transport Endeavour (SHITE) infrastructure of high-speed railway and motorway links to London and Cambridge, Essex offers a retail experience like no other, with all of Britain's favourite brands in one place, as well as fine dining, sports, and a media centre with Thought-provoking Relevant Intellectually Thrilling Entertainment (TRITE) for the whole family.
Our capital, the Lakeside
Shopping Centre Targeted Urban Retail Destination (TURD), boasts over 1200 shops and a Designated OAP Weekly Niceties Exchange and Response (DOWNER) where our elderly customers can socialise in a safe, comfortable, high-security environment, and two Alcohol Ingestion Districts (AIDs), each with 5 pubs, serving local ale and red wine. There used to be ten AIDs but eight have been turned into Caffeine-Oriented Complexes (COCs) dispensing over four kinds of coffee from either Starbucks or Costa Coffee outlets. Tea is also served We regret to inform our customers that tea is no longer served from the COCs at Lakeside TURD, however Chingford TURD has an excellent pair of Tea Ingestion Terminals (TITs) which also produce their own fresh milk.
edit History (UNAPPROVED SECTION - DO NOT READ)
NOTE: This version of events has not yet been approved by a certified Thought Inspector® or any other representative of the Management (peace be upon them). You may wish to proceed with caution, as we do not want to distract or detract from your shopping experience here in Essex™ PRD.
edit Early History
The wastelands of Essex were among the first to be settled in the Stone Age. Tribes regularly fought for land there; the region was officially claimed by the Anglo-Saxon Chieftain Raedwine in 200 AD. The name "Essex" dates from this time, as a corruption of the phrase "Great Sex"; the region was famed for its expensive and classy prostitutes, who were often leased out to rich Roman generals in the rapidly expanding port town of Londinium. The prostitutes in question were often educated city girls "in it for a bit of fun at weekends".
For several centuries, England's capital was situated in Colchester, Essex; eventually, many of the huts and hill-forts were bought up as summer homes by young Roman couples from the city, causing a serious housing problem. Historians believe this is why the first ever housing estate was built by the Pagan Council in Walthamstow, around 570 AD. This estate attracted all sorts of dodgy types, including Celtic gypsies and homeless Roman war veterans, and dramatically lowered the real estate value of the surrounding area, scaring all the young rich Romans back to Colchester. The estate, which was soon engulfed by the ever-expanding city of Londinium, was the birthplace of Saint Chav and, much later on, the location of the UK's first home-grown marijuana crop.
The area suffered a further economic blow when the Anglo-Saxon capital shifted from Colchester to Londinium, which was by now called London. The Romans retreated from Britain, leaving the Anglo-Saxons at the mercy of the Viking hordes, who targeted the east coast in particular. King Alfred the Great offered the county protection, but at a cost: the county became part of the Kingdom of Wessex, its oldest rival - except the residents of Harlow, among the most stubborn and zealous followers of Saint Chav, who declared the town its own independent nation. After a particularly nasty Viking raid, they realised they weren't all that hard, and opted to join Alfred's kingdom. However, the people of Essex very much retained their local spirit.
Essex only regained its independence after the Kingdom of Wessex dissolved at the start of the 10th century. The original name of "Essex" was lost for centuries, and the county, which was financially crippled, became known as "Uwottam8a County". By this point, many of the Vikings had actually settled down and proved themselves to be, on the whole, quite nice people. One particularly enterprising Swede began making furniture for the locals as a sign of respect for their culture; his wife would regularly cook traditional Swedish meatballs for customers. The Viking grew rich, set up stalls at every market in the land, and never looked back.
edit 1066 and all that
“Do you know what nemesis means?”
In 1066, King Edward the Confessor, last of England's great Anglo-Saxon rulers, died. William The Conqueror, an upstart Norman duke whose armpit hair came down to his waist, was close friends with Edward; the day before the sick king died, William forced him to sign a legally binding contract that would entitle him to the throne of England. However, Edward's nephew Harold Godwinson claimed the throne before William had time to cite the contract. Outraged, William declared war; before the two armies could fight, however, a London gangster called Harold Hardrada, known to everyone else as Brick Top, took advantage of his shared name and began wreaking chaos around the country. Harold Godwinson and his advisor, Æthelwulf, holed themselves up in an Essex flat for the duration of Hardrada's killing spree, ignoring all pleas for help from the English people and allowing William the Conqueror to fight them off. This made Harold somewhat unpopular with everyone except the ultra-conservatives who didn't want to be ruled by Europeans.
News soon reached them that Hardrada knew where they were hiding and demanded a rare and enormous jewel as tribute. The pair located one from Harold's personal stash, but a dog belonging to their Celtic neighbours swallowed it. After failing to find the dog in question, and nearly getting caught by one of Hardrada's patrolling gangs, as well as a lynch mob thirsting for their cowardly blood, Harold eventually sent the gangster one of Æthelwulf's kidney stones, and was allowed respite from Hardrada's barbaric hordes. Æthelwulf, however, was kidnapped and appointed Hardrada's official kidney-stone producer; he died at the Battle of Hastings along with Hardrada, Harold Godwinson and countless English soldiers when William the Conqueror launched the final attack from which he took his name.
William is notable for introducing the first bureaucracy to the UK, which Essex would greatly benefit from in later years.
edit Essex under the Tudors
Very few things happened in the centuries that followed. The economic prosperity of Uwottam8a County, as it was still known, rose and fell along with that of London. But mostly fell. However, as the entire country became more and more religious, followers of Saint Chav dwindled; he had been de-canonized by the Pope in 945 AD. The Pagan Council officially disbanded in 1203; however, an effort from the ancient Celtic communities that remained in Essex and the neighbouring counties, including London, led to Saint Chav being appointed as an official Roman Catholic saint again. The Church of Saint Chav prospered; numerous shrines were erected in his honour, especially in Essex; a further change to Catholic doctrine in 1480 made him the patron saint of the county, replacing Joey Essex, who became the patron saint of tanning and later melanoma.
Then Henry VIII, selfish bastard that he was, came along and ruined it.
The king had just discovered that, as a dutiful Catholic king, he was forbidden from taking cocaine, drinking highly alcoholic spirits, having anal sex, eating human meat, cheating on his wife, or bringing animals into a church. Sadly, he told his army of naked supermodels to leave the church, and take the goats, pigs, and rabbits with them, as well as the cocaine and booze. The orgy was off. He wearily resolved to get a divorce instead, but was informed that divorce was banned by Catholic law as well. So Henry banned the Catholic church and created his own religion, with blackjack and hookers, which allowed divorce, drinking, drug ingestion, anal sex, animal cruelty, and adultery. This was the sleaziest, nastiest faith the world had yet to see, and it met his needs perfectly. However, during the Protestant Reformation, as all Catholic monasteries were torn down and their monks sold into slavery, all the books containing Catholic doctrine were burned. This meant that the nation lost record of all its saints, including Saint Chav. There was a very long queue of people waiting to have their saints re-canonized, and Uwottam8a County's much-loved patron saint was quite far down the list. His followers largely ignored this fact, however; they were allowed to do some fairly twisted things now, and took full advantage.
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, attempted to stage a rebellion, but he was captured and imprisoned after just a month. Henry originally wanted to behead him, but Devereux persuaded the king to release him with the offer of two-for-one on tequila shots at Devereux's bar, The Wobbly Seaman.
The nation's religious interests went to-and-fro, according to the beliefs of the various Tudors. Mary Tudor wanted to bring Catholicism back, but she hated Essex, having been mugged there on her way back from a strip club in Basildon in 1512, and eventually sold it to the French. Her Protestant successor, Elizabeth I, forgot that the county existed; it remained an overseas territory of France for over two centuries.
edit 18th century
In 1702, a young English prince was riding through the Hertfordshire countryside, when he stumbled upon a road leading eastwards. Certain that the road would lead straight into the English Channel, he followed it, only to discover that there was an entire county nobody had noticed. He spent the next decade researching Uwottam8a County, and made a strong campaign for its reincorporation into the UK. He was not able to officially repatriate it, however, until he was crowned King George I in 1714, and even then he had to sell the Channel Islands to King Louis XVIICX. It was around this time that Uwottam8a's original name was discovered. From then on, most people referred to it as Essex, but legally it remained The Extended Municipally Governed Semi-Urban Principality of Uwottam8a.
The French had successfully civilised the people of Essex since the Tudor period. Many of the native inhabitants fled back to inner London during this time; when Essex was reinstated as a county of the UK, their descendants returned, horrified to discover that the mythical estates described in bedtime stories had been replaced with outdoor cafés and patisseries. So, naturally, Essex's first year as a UK county is famous for its numerous massacres, raids, riots, and general depravity.
“The lanes were crowded with fleeing Frenchmen. Local children surrounded them, and when the French took pity, the children would stab them and steal their wallets. The River Lea and the River Stort ran red with blood. The cafés were mostly burned to the ground, and Indian takeaways built in their place... The chateau at Chipping Ongar was demolished and new tower blocks built there. The cottages were pillaged and replaced with terraced houses, the high-class bars became pubs and off-licences, the cheese factory at Tiptree was taken over by brewers, and the Grande Patisserie in Billericay was looted and then bought up by Tesco. Wherever there was a French flag to be found, the rioters tore it down... and replaced it with a Burberry sigil. The French ambassador was publicly beheaded.”
“All that parc nature bollocks in Epping Forest was bulldozed. All the pikeys plonked their caravans down there. The look on them Frogs' stupid faces when they did that! It was safe to be a highwayman again, so I donned me DC cap and me bandana, swigged me Monster, and jumped on me trusty motorbike, Black Bess, with me slag by me side. I robbed some French geezers who were stuck in a traffic jam on the M11 with all the other fleeing Frogs. They only had bleedin' Euros.”
edit 19th and 20th centuries
The 19th century passed relatively pleasantly for the people of Essex, and it remains a small, happy footnote in the history of the county. Interest in the ancient Anglo-Saxon and Celtic traditions peaked in the Victorian era, and romantic interpretations of old myths became incredibly popular. One notable example is a painting by the great artist John Collier (at least, Barry from down the road thinks it is), depicting Saint Chav on one of his pilgrimages to Manchester as he stops to wee on a tramp. For many years it was the most frequently stolen item in the National Gallery; during one successful theft, it was badly damaged. The thief in question tried to get his mate Rob to fix it, but to no avail. The police never bothered to track the painting, and to this day it hangs above the altar at the Shrine on the Estuary, Essex's largest shrine to Saint Chav and his twelve followers, known collectively as the "LIDL Crew". £2 a head to get in, and 50p for children. Don't ask about the insurance, and don't tell the fuzz nothing.
The Victorian era also brought with it the Industrial Revolution; finally, the many mechanics of Essex had something to fix other than horse-drawn carriages (the problem with these generally had something to do with the horse being dead; the phrase "flogging a dead horse" originated in Essex). Another notable innovation was the invention of concrete - the last tower block to be built out of daub-and-wattle was constructed in 1950, then knocked down a decade later and replace with a massive concrete phallus.
Essex swaggered into the twentieth century with the kind of cocky carelessness that only comes from several years of underage smoking, drinking, sex and almost supernatural levels of Red Bull consumption. Little did its denizens know that its fate would soon be decided by Margaret Thatcher and a board of corporate overlords.
edit The Swindon Agreement and the 21st century
In 1981, as the vast council estates in towns like Harlow, Basildon, Southend-on-Sea, and Ilford were finally completed, the country once again found itself in an economic crisis. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK and the woman buttocks such brilliant ideas as the mass execution of miners for public entertainment, decided that as a quick money-making scheme, she would auction off a couple of counties to the highest bidder. One county, the tiny and little-known Chumbershire, was immediately snapped up by the global company that owns KFC, Subway and McDonalds, among others, and airlifted to New Zealand, where it was remodelled as an attractive tourist destination, its population turned into hobbits using a potent chemical perfected by food synthesis experts at McDonalds.
The only other county to be sold was, in fact, Essex. Its fate was decided by Margaret Thatcher's shadow cabinet, an assembly of demons and other spirits dating from pre-history, in the
Essex town of Swindon in late 1981. It was bought in 1982 by the Disney Empire, which was soon acquired by the same company that bought Chumbershire, in the world's largest-ever business deal. They transferred it to a subsidiary branch, the WalMart/ASDA Corporation, in 1989, and in 1996, after a series of failed deals with over thirty-eight companies to purchase different towns in the county, they temporarily transferred it to another distant shareholder, Microsoft, to take the heat while they relaxed with an X-Files marathon, a bowl of jumbo-sized pretzels and a glass of Southern Comfort. In 1999, Microsoft were asked to give Essex back, and initially refused, but after a tumult of several hundred major lawsuits, they admitted that they didn't know what they'd done with it, to be honest. After quickly buying up the Microsoft Corporation and replacing Bill Gates with an auton, the mysterious corporation tracked Essex's deeds to the mobile phone and nerve gas manufacturer, Samsung. (Technically, it was their second-newest subdivision, Samsung Philippines R&D, but this is an encyclopedia. There's no need to be pedantic, or, indeed, factual.)
In collaboration with the British Government, Samsung renovated Essex and turned it into a prime retail destination. Under very heavy surveillance. A small government, the Management, was created as the object of worship for consumers and local louts the whole county over. It remains like this to this day, with levels of oppression to rival North Korea; Kim Jong-Un once described the county as "smashing". Many people took objection to Essex's new ownership and re-branding, so the BBC commissioned a new, engaging and entirely fictitious drama series to depict the day-to-day lives of residents, and approval ratings went through the roof.
NOTE: Our customers will be pleased to note that a Thought Inspector® has reviewed the rest of this article, and you may continue reading. For reasons of health and safety, the dangerous section mentioned above does not exist. Customers who have read the preceding section on Essex PRD's so-called "history" - which does not fit with the official documents from the Management (peace be upon Them) - will be expurgated. The following, moderated sections were written in accordance with our regulations. Have a fun day!
Snugly placed between the wastelands of Suffolk to the north and the Thames estuary to the south, Essex also borders Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and, of course, London - which, as everyone knows, is in the exact centre of the country and borders every single county. Of course, the house prices in Essex are completely unaffected by its proximity to London, because there are, in fact, no houses. The cottages have been converted into apartment buildings for rent, and the hideously outdated tower blocks are now summer homes for yuppies, given exclusively as rewards for our up-and-coming shareholders, along with a courtesy car and a private train line to commute into London. All this is part of our local regeneration programme (see the Official Management Document (peace be upon It), part 1, section 16, subsection 83, article #400, clauses 33-90).