In my third and final year of studying History at the University of Exeter, I had to produce an independent dissertation study on a topic of my choice. Being forever fascinated by the home front in the Second World War, exploring defensive installations, and the history of my local area, I decided to investigate the following topic

‘How did home front defensive installations and activities impact communities, environments, and infrastructure in the Thames Estuary during and immediately after the Second World War?’

I found the process incredibly rewarding as whilst this was essential to completing my university degree, it was also the culmination of a great deal of personal interest I have developed over my time working with local people, archives, museums, and my work on Beyond the Point. I drew from a wide range of resources and enlisted the help of wartime Canvey residents, the Canvey Community Archive, and the Bay Museum. It focuses upon Canvey Island as the primary case study but also reinforces its points using examples from Southend-on-Sea, Great Wakering, Benfleet and Hadleigh.

Not only did this sizable project fulfill a personal itch, but it clearly pleased the examiners as a piece of highly competent academic research. It was awarded 80%, with a first being 70+, which needless to say I was over the moon with!

You can read and download my dissertation by clicking the image below:

Click to download PDF

It is heavily illustrated so both academics and casual enthusiasts in local history should find it of interest. If this research interests you or relates to your own work please contact me at liam.heatherson@sky.com.