Shanty Towns

Surprisingly in the UK we have our own history of shanty towns. Mostly springing up in the depression of the 1930's and the post war period, these buildings have existed on the margins for decades, but many are now disappearing. The main shanty areas I know of are Canvey Island, Basildon, Herne Bay, Shepperton, Dungeness and the daddy of them all, Jaywick, next to Frinton-on-Sea in Essex. Jaywick has the honour of being one of the most deprived places in the whole of Europe. The buildings were originally thrown up by poor londoners looking for escape from the slums and bombsites of their lives, gradually morphing through necessity and creativity into cosy little fragments of home. They are private places that many people don't visit or even know about. Gradually the government and richer neighbours are trying to having the shanty towns removed. For many they are an embarrassment, but for some they are normality - a symbol of freedom and removal from societal strictures. This post was inspired by
Gaw's description of the Outsider play, Jerusalem.