Dee Gordon
I have always wanted to write. When I left school (in East London) with a fistful of 'O' levels including good English grades, I wrote to every London publisher. The only response was from the London Weekly Advertiser, who offered me a job in their Accounts Department. Oh, well. It was a job. And, as I used to have to record the money coming in for the Personal Ads, it was a bit of an introduction to life's quirkier side... After a spell as a secretary at I.P.C. in Fleet Street (which also didn't lead anywhere), I was offered a job in the recruitment agency that had given up trying to find me a publishing opportunity. As a secretary, I had always had plenty of free time and had written endless romances: typed on the office typewriter. These were published in picture-story magazines such as Romeo, Marilyn, and Mirabelle, with one story paying more than a week's salary. But it never occurred to me to "give up the day job" and "go for it". If I had … but that's another story. I did well in the world of recruitment and ended up with my own business which I sold to my partner in 2000. Listed below are her current titles:
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond (from King Canute to Dr Feelgood) looks back at the people who made the town what it is today. Writers, actors, a mountaineer, a cartoonist, a murderer... 124pp, illustrated, £9.95 RRP Ian Henry Publishing, 2006 This book is now out of print. Please contact Dee Gordon if you are interested in purchasing it. Click on the image to read an extract from People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond
Southend Memories A nostalgic look back at the 50s and 60s, the town's heyday. 156pp, lavishly illustrated, £12.99 RRP Sutton Publishing 2006 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Southend Memories
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around Southend-on-Sea Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around Southend-on-Sea looks at real life crime in the area from the 13th to 20th century. 168pp, extensively illustrated, £10.99 RRP, Pen and Sword Books, 2008 Available for purchase from Pen and Sword Books and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around Southend-on- Sea
Bad Girls An anthology in praise of the notorious, the naughty, but not omitting the downright nasty... 152pp, £7.99 RRP Troubador Publishing, 2008 Available for purchase from Troubadour as well as from me. Click on the image to read an extract from Bad Girls
Infamous Essex Women Royal mistresses, murderers and the rest. 122pp, lavishly illustrated, £12.99 RRP The History Press, 2009 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Infamous Women
Essex's Own Contemporary and historic figures who spent their formative years in the county – including a few surprises. 128pp, illustrated, £12.99 RRP The History Press, 2009 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Essex's Own
The Little Book of Essex Entertaining bite-sized pieces of historic and contemporary trivia... Be amused and amazed at the stories and history of Essex's landscape, towns, villages, heritage, buildings and, above all, its people. 192pp, £9.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, Oct 2009 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from The Little Book of Essex
Voices of Stepney Anyone who knows Stepney, as resident, visitor, or ex-resident, will be amused and entertained, surprised and moved by these stories of the 50s and 60s. 127pp, extensively illustrated, £12.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, June 2010 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Voices of Stepney
Southend at War Vivid memories are recounted within these pages - with Land Army girls, evacuees and members of the forces and the Home Guard, plus memories passed down through the generations recalling WW1 in Southend. This book looks at how the town was affected during both wars of the 20th century. 127pp, extensively illustrated with new material, £12.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, July 2010 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. click on the image to read an extract from Southend at War
The Little Book of the East End Funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of frivolous, fantastic or simply strange information. A reference book and a quirky guide to dip into time and time again. 185pp, £9.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, November 2010 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from The Little Book of the East End
Haunted Southend A revealing collection of tales from around the town includes ghostly sightings in Prittlewell Priory, ominous sounds and smells on the seafront and tales of mysterious shapes at the town's pubs and taverns. 96pp, £9.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, February 2012 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Haunted Southend
Little Book of the 1960s The sights, sounds and lifestyle of the 1960s experience can be relived through the pages of this book, but be warned - you'll need a sense of humour. Quirky facts and fascinating data covering the whole of the U.K. - not to mention the rest of the world. 191pp, £9.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, September 2012 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Little Book of the 1960s
Not a Guide to Southend-on-Sea A book full of intriguing information on the incredible residents, visitors and events that have played a part in Southend’s story. Southend-on-Sea, the largest town in Essex, has had an amazingly rich history,and this book collects together hundreds of little-known facts and anecdotes that will make you see the town in a new light. 128pp, £5.99 RRP The History Press Ltd, April 2013 Available to order from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image for Table of Contents of Not a Guide to Southend-on-Sea
The Secret History of Southend-on-Sea A book full of intriguing information on the incredible residents, visitors and events that have played a part in Southend’s story. Southend-on-Sea, the largest town in Essex, has had an amazingly rich history,and this book collects together hundreds of little-known facts and anecdotes that will make you see the town in a new light. 191pp, £9.99 RRP Published by The History Press Ltd, February 2014 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from The Secret History of Southend-on-Sea
Essex Land Girls This book not only includes interviews with some of the last surviving land girls but also contains a wealth of material unearthed in diaries, letters and in the stories handed down from one generation to the next about women in Essex who were, literally, wearing the trousers. They were not all local girls, and many arrived from the cities never having seen a cow or a tractor before. But the British spirit persevered, and the wit and camaraderie that serves us so well during those tumultuous years shines through in every story. 191pp, £9.99 RRP, published by The History Press Ltd, March 2015 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Essex Land Girls
My Little Brother, My Little Life This novel, available as a paperback and e-book, tells the story of Linda, from the harsh abandonment of her mother, at the age of ten, through adolescence, marriage and children of her own. The one constant in Linda’s life is her little brother, Douggie, whose autism sets him apart, but at the same time, forces him to be included. As middle-age, divorce and a new love approach, Linda is faced with a series of difficult decisions, all of which revolve around her constant feelings of guilt. She wonders whether it was her fault that her mother left; whether she did enough to help her father; whether Douggie is really happy and if there’s anything she can do about it. 213 pp, £9.99 RRP, published by GWL, August 2015 Available to order from Amazon, Waterstones and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from My Little Brother, My Little Life
Bad Girls from History Mistresses, murderers, smugglers, pirates, prostitutes and fanatics with hearts and souls that feature every shade of black (and grey!). From Cleopatra to Ruth Ellis, from Boudicca to Bonnie Parker, from Lady Caroline Lamb to Moll Cutpurse, from Jezebel to Ava Gardner … Less familiar names include Mary Jeffries, the Victorian brothel-keeper, Belle Starr, the American gambler and horse thief, La Voisin, the 17th century Queen of all Witches in France – but these are random names, to illustrate the variety of the content in store for all those interested in women who defy law and order, for whatever reason. The risqué, the adventurous and the outrageous, the downright nasty and the downright desperate – all human (female!) life is here. From poverty stricken backgrounds to the aristocracy, class is not a common denominator. Wicked? Misunderstood? Naïve? Foolish? Predatory? Manipulative? Or just out of their time? Read … and decide. 148pp, £12.99 RRP, published by Pen and Sword, November 2017 Available from Amazon and all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Bad Girls from History
The Little History of the East End Although born and brought up in Whitechapel, and someone who has written a couple of books about the East End, not to mention the number of books I have read on the subject, I thought I was well acquainted with the area’s history. Not so! On this journey, I have learned such a lot about the area, its people, its shifting status, its highs and its lows. My affection for my roots is undaunted, and it is this affection I hope to share, from the East End’s embryonic beginnings to its 21st century façade – and it is indeed a façade, for it is necessary to dig deep to find the true nature of the place. I hope you will love learning about it as much as I did. You will notice that I have only touched on some of its more famous “stories” – Jack the Ripper and The Krays for instance. This is for two reasons – the East End has a light side to offset the dark side, and there are shedloads of books and websites dedicated to such specific parts of its history. As you will see, the East End has a lot more to offer than criminals and, in a “Little History” with its suggested limitations, the main focus is on local growth and change with just a nod to its elaborate and extensive political and religious history. It could have otherwise proved to be quite a daunting read and that is not the intention. Apologies if I have left out your favourite bit of East End history however! 186 pp, £12.00 RRP, The History Press 2020 Available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, W. H. Smith, The History Press and from all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from The Little History of the East End
Reviews "I was hooked from the first page... great story... a novel that I couldn't put down… I would definitely recommend it... must read for all lovers of chicklit... something that almost anyone will enjoy." (The Supplement) "Fascinating new book... highly recommended." (The Times Group) "Inventive style... well-written work... a light, entertaining read." (Sesame) "An enjoyable romp" (Recruitment Consultant Magazine)
Reviews "fascinating stories" (Southend Times)
Reviews "something to interest them [readers] from start to finish" (The Times Group) "Wonderful book... fascinating comparisons" (Essex Life) "heart-warming stories... fascinating snapshot... endearing black-and-white photographs" (Southend Standard)
Reviews "a triumph... a gripping account..." (Leigh Times) "fascinating... an insight into society..." (Essex Life)
Reviews "Difficult to choose a favourite... excellent collection ... not treated too seriously ... one of my favourite poetry books of the year - highly recommended!" (The Supplement)
Reviews "an insightful look at the role of Essex women" (Essex Life) "shows the Essex Girl in a different light" (Southend Yellow Advertiser)
Reviews "Dee's catalogue of Essex personalities... is long and heavy enough to squash any outsider who regards Essex greatness as a contradiction in terms" (Southend Echo) "a rich bounty" (Essex Life)
For further information:
Reviews "This great little book includes everything you ever wanted to know about Essex ... in entertaining bite-sized pieces ... wacky facts ... some authentically bizarre bits of historic trivia." (Step Ahead)
Reviews "Dee Gordon has done a wonderful Job,well worth a read, well done Dee." (Amazon UK - A. Nicholl)
Reviews "Nobody until now has told the full story of Southend at war. Who better to fill the gap than Dee Gordon, whose previous books about Essex people qualify her as an expert on the county's history... Dee Gordon's book finally does justice to a magnificent municipal story that will make any Southender proud. Her eye for detail makes this a colourful read, but the book amounts to a lot more than that. It proves that the Battle of Britain spirit was no myth." (Southend Echo - 22nd July 2010)
Reviews "Dee Gordon's compendium of facts and strange trivia is perfect for anyone with an interest in the East End." (Newham Recorder - 2nd January 2011) "Following on from her brilliant title The Little Book of Essex, Dee Gordon has gone back to her roots and picked out countless trivia gems from the East End. Every Cockney should own a copy!" (Amazon UK - 27th October 2010)
Reviews "A new spectral roundup ... Coverage of the Southend ghost scene is comprehensive and solid." (Southend Echo) "This is a great book and has many pictures and ghostly stories featured. Dee Gordon has really done a great job of covering some truly interesting tales of haunted Southend." www.ghostseen.com
Reviews "This is not a guide book. This little book brings together past and present to offer a taste of Southend-on-Sea. Learn more about the movers and shakers who shaped this fantastic city. The great and the good; the bad and the ugly. Small wonders, tall stories, triumph and tragedy. Best places and the worst places. Local lingo, architecture, green spaces, events, traditions, fact, fiction. Origins, evolution, future. Written by a local who knows what makes Southend-on-Sea tick." www.abebooks.com
Reviews "Trip down memory lane ... a treasure trove of facts about that magical decade ... a fun compilation about the period ..." (Yorkshire Post - 2nd October 2012) "Full of quirky, off-beat information on the 1960s." www.guardianbookshop.co.uk
Reviews "The book is so full of interesting, golden nuggets that it is difficult to select any one of them to emphasise how good the book is... I understand the enormous amount of research that Dee Gordon must have put into this very informative book to bring it to the market place, and I would strongly recommend reading it to obtain its full flavour." The Woman Writer, Review - August 2014 issue "A book about the secrets that the town holds … focuses on a brief history of the town, as well as secret places and people that have lived in the town… finding secrets isn’t the easiest thing to do!" Yellow Advertiser - 07.03.2014 "From indiscreet MPs to 'crop circles' and a horrific murder that inspired Hitchcock – Dee’s dug it all up in her book... Dee has managed to discover not just the existence of mysteries, but their solution. For instant, diligent trawling through back copies of the Southend Standard identified the truth behind a mystery object in Southend Museum – and in historical terms, the solution is a sensation." (Read the book to find out more!) Southend Echo - 21.02.2014
Reviews “Dee Gordon has clearly had to do a great deal of research for her latest book, but it is a story that needed to be told. There have been many books about Land Girls, but this is one devoted to their role in Essex. Essex Land Girls gives us an insight into the part they played in this area and the experiences they had.” Leigh Times - 02.06.2015 “Well researched book covering not one but both world wars and showing the importance of Essex Land Girls in saving the country from starvation in both conflicts. Loved the personal interviews and good use has been made of recorded interviews held at museums all over Essex and at the Imperial War Museum. Favourite anecdote? Elsie's use of Ex-Lax to replace chocolate for the 'conchies' she didn't like working with." Review on Amazon - June 2015
Reviews “As a novelist, Dee Gordon [writing here as Dee H. Gordon to differentiate the title from her local history works] shows a strong ability to evoke the pulse of everyday life, and a mastery at evoking unspoken feelings and the quiet compromises that make life manageable. Anyone who reads My Little Brother, My Little Life will wait with keen expectation for the next [novel].” Tom King, Southend Echo - 2.10.2015 “Brilliantly written. Very touching. Couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it." Review on Amazon - 07.09.2015 - Kindle version
Reviews "British historian [Dee] Gordon delivers a slim yet rollicking survey of 100 female renegades, many of whom would otherwise remain on history’s margins. Gordon categorizes her subjects by different aspects of notoriety and opens with sexual misconduct, focusing mainly on the class of women who consorted with the English royal family, including Camilla Parker-Bowles’s ancestor Alice Keppel (1868–1947), the most enduring of King Edward VII’s mistresses. Biographical sketches of mass murderers, such as the 19th century Mary Ann Cotton, known as the Black Widow, are separated from those of wives who took revenge on abusive husbands, such as “Killarney Kate,” who fed her husband arsenic in 1935. Gordon rounds out the book with pickpockets, plunderers, gunslingers, and eccentrics such as Princess Caraboo, aka Mary Baker, an English servant who reinvented herself as a foreign princess. Newspaper clippings and photos of the subjects bring colorful characters, such as accused axe murderer Lizzie Borden and Bonnie Parker, to life. This compendium of historical trivia is a lot of fun to read." Publishers’ Weekly Review 9.10.17 "Local author Dee Gordon has published her latest book which, for a change, focuses not just on local people but on a medley of international womenfolk with quite a range of interesting reputations. Bad Girls from History - Wicked or Misunderstood" has been a labour of love by a writer who has always been interested in what makes women, in particular, rebel against what is regarded as acceptable - which varies from century to century, decade to decade. ... includes Camilla Parker-Bowles's ancestor Alice Keppel (1868-1947), the most enduring of king Edward VII's mistresses ... a lot of fun ..." Leigh Times - 12.12.2017 "The author’s style is engaging and, despite the briefness of the vignettes, she manages to make these women compelling (and horrifying in some cases), and she is at pains to try and paint as balanced a picture as possible, rather than just present them according to the prevalent morality of their time. Reality and legend are sometimes difficult to tell apart, but the author, tries (and at times acknowledges defeat and provides the most interesting versions of a woman’s story available). Among the many women in the book, I was particularly intrigued by Jane Digby (1807-1881), a lover of travel and an adventurer who also had a talent for choosing interesting men, Enriqueta Martí (1868-1913), who lived in Barcelona and who, according to recent research might not have been guilty of the horrific crimes she was accused of (I won’t talk about it in detail, but let’s say that, if it was true, she was not called The Vampire of Barcelona for nothing), Princess Caraboo (aka Mary Baker: 1791-1864), who knew how to come up with a good story, or Georgia Tann (1891-1950), that I felt intrigued by when I read that Joan Crawford (who has featured in one of my recent reads) had been one of her clients. But there are many others, and of course, this is a book that will inspire readers to do further research and look into the lives of some of these women (or even write about them). The women in each chapter are organised in alphabetical order, and that means we jump from historical period to historical period, backward and forward, but there is enough information to allow us to get a sense of how society saw these women and how class, patronage, social status, money… influenced the way they were treated. There are personal comments by the author, but she is non-judgemental and it is impossible to read this book, especially some of the chapters, without thinking about the lot of women, about how times have changed (but not as much as we would like to think, as evidenced by recent developments and campaigns), and about how behaviours that from a modern perspective might show strength of character, intelligence, and independence, at the time could condemn a woman in the eyes of society, ruining her reputation and/or destroying her life. A book to dip in to learn about social history and the role of women, and also one that will inspire readers to read more about some of these women (and others) that, for better or worse, have left a mark. A great starting point for further research into the topic, and a book that will make us reflect about the role of women then and now" Extract from a review by Olga Nunez, academic and writer/blogger on www.authortranslatorolga.com
Reviews Packed with facts, very interesting! An amazing book, well written and full of snapshots of what it was like to be a woman living in Southend-on-Sea, a century ago. Packed with interesting anecdotes, it is a real eye-opener and a must-read for any woman unhappy about life in the 21st century!! Highly recommended. Amazon review - 28.06.2019
Reviews "Though ambitious in scope, the book is also very readable, packed full of fascinating details and narrated in lively prose. As a Whitechapel native, Gordon has a keen sense for topics that are especially worth examining, and the text is divided into short thematic sections on subjects such as prostitution, ship building and religious institutions… We discover how the imprint of successive waves of inhabitants shaped the area. Our classical conquerors gave us Roman Road and Ermine Way (the A10 from Bishopsgate to Lincoln); the East End tradition of cloth production dates from Saxon times; Bow Bridge was brought to us by the Normans in 1110; Shakespeare’s first theatre was built in Shoreditch under the Tudors; Truman’s Brewery began life in Brick Lane during the Stuart period and had by 1873 become the largest brewery in the world. The Victorians brought gentrification, and by 1911 Thomas Cook was selling an ‘Evening Drive in the East End’ for 5s." Part of Review in Hackney Citizen, 10th November 2020 "As readers will see, the East End has a lot more to offer than criminals, and in The Little History with its suggested limitations the main focus is on local growth and change... It charts its beginnings in the Stone Age ... all the way to its jam packed 20th century status as a place of innovation and diversity… Fascinating … with plenty of tales to share." Review in Southend Echo, 28th October 2020 "... informative, easy read, entertaining, well-written, engaging..." Amazon Reviews 7 (of 8): 5 stars reviews - as at 16th December 2020
Struggle and Suffrage in Southend-on-Sea: Women's Lives and the Fight for Equality While Southend-on-Sea, like many seaside towns, may not have been at the forefront of the struggle for suffrage and equal rights in the lives of women between 1850 and 1950, there are surprisingly famous names linked to the town and its women. Novelist Rebecca West, living in nearby Leigh-on-Sea during the First World War (and her lover, H. G. Wells) played a key role in the suffrage and feminist movements and in women’s entry into the scientific and literary professions. Princess Louise, a visitor to the town, was known to be a feminist, regardless of her position, and Mrs Margaret Kineton-Parkes (founder member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League and involved in the Women’s Freedom League) gave a number of talks to the town’s female population. The most high profile of local residents was Mrs Rosa Sky, the one-time Treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union and an active member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, but others were quietly active behind the scenes. However, this book is not about the distinguished and illustrious, it is about women from all classes, from all kinds of backgrounds, who entered the world of business, who rebelled against the traditional roles of mother, home-maker or domestic servant. It is about women struggling to come to terms with changes at home, in marriage, in education, in health care and in politics. It is the first to look at these issues as they impacted on a town whose population and visitors were growing in line with the expectations of its female population. 131pp, £14.99 RRP, published by Pen and Sword, April 2019 Available from Amazon, publisher and all good bookshops. Click on the image to read an extract from Struggle and Suffrage in Southend-on-Sea
TITLES AVAILABLE IN OTHER FORMATS BOOKS AVAILABLE AS E-BOOKS The Secret History of Southend-on-Sea Little Book of Essex Little Book of the East End Little Book of the 1960s Haunted Southend Essex Land Girls LARGE PRINT Southend Memories Available from The History Press. AUDIO BOOKS These unabridged audio CD titles are available from the RNIB Talking Book Service. To request a copy call the RNIB Helpline on: 0303 123 9999 Little Book of the East End Southend Library Book of the Month February 2013 - Adult Non-fiction, Local History: London - Narrated by RNIB Volunteers - Playing time 6 hours and 38 minutes - RNIB CD Order Number: 404792 "The Little Book of the East End is a funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of the sort of frivolous, fantastic or simply strange information which no-one will want to be without." This review was supplied by the Southend Library Reading Group for the Visually Impaired. Southend Memories - RNIB ref 409032 "Includes many conversations with Southendians. This title aims to recall life in their town, during the 1950s & 1960s. It focuses on social change, as well as school days, work & play, transport, & entertainment. It also includes memories of the late 1960s clashes between Mods & Rockers, & of the infamous Wall of Death at the Kursaal." People who mattered in Southend - RNIB Ref 407866 "Although Southend-on-Sea is of fairly recent foundation, the area of which it is now the hub can boast eminent residents - some life- long, others simply important visitors. All played their part in shaping history at various levels either locally, nationally or internationally. A few have been honoured by having local streets, parks, or houses named after them. Here is a kaleidoscope of kings and princesses, heroes and villains, authors and politicians, entertainers and lawyers."
Meat Market Meat Market is for you if you enjoy office politics or if you've ever wondered about the attraction of toy boys... 197pp, £6.99 RRP, Vanguard Press, 2004 This book is now out of print. Please contact Dee Gordon if you are interested in purchasing it. Click on the image to read an extract from Meat Market

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