The Ascent of Man...

... and the Birth of Essex Girl

In pre-history, there was Piltdown Man
In 1912, an amateur archaeologist claimed to have discovered the "missing link" between ape and man. This supposed discovery of early humanoid remains, in gravel beds near Piltdown, was eventually proved to be a fraud, but the phrase 'Piltdown Man' entered common parlance.
Then came Selsdon Man
In February 1970 Edward Heath gathered his party leaders at the Selsdon Park Hotel to agree on a strategy with which to approach the upcoming General Election. It focused on promoting the free market. From the opposite side of the House, Harold Wilson mockingly proclaimed: this is not just a lurch to the right, it is an atavistic desire to reverse the course of twenty-five years of social revolution... what they are planning is a wanton, calculated and deliberate return to greater inequality... 'Selsdon Man' is designing a system of society for the ruthlessness and the pushing, the uncaring: his message to the rest of us is clear - "you're out on your own".
Followed by Essex Man
Writing anonymously in October 1990, Sunday Telegraph journalist Simon Heffer identified an emerging type: 'Essex Man' was working class, Thatcher-supporting, self-made, wore sharp suits, drove flash cars, had little education, was coarse and vulgar and drank too much lager, most of which ended up on the floor of the last train home. The following year, Heffer owned up and claimed that the good points he had attributed to Essex Man had been ignored: hard working, patriotic and aware of the difference between right and wrong.
And finally: the birth of Essex Girl
Essex Girl arose soon after Essex Man, and she shared many of his characteristics. Essex Girls wore high heels, very short skirts, tons of jewellery, far too much make-up, had fluffy blond hair, were called Sharon or Tracey, had no brains and were of negotiable virtue. They were the subject of innumerable jokes, largely unkind but perhaps with a grain of truth...

Some of the above information was sourced from the Press Association News Library


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