Wickford is a product of the last 150 years. It is a town that has grown in population from around 600 in 1901 to 30,000 today. On the other hand people have lived here for thousands of years. Wickford was a centre for the Roman army. It was important enough to be mentioned in Domesday book. Flooding was frequent and health was poor. A mainly agricultural community, it did not go untouched by the religious and political upheavals that affected the nation. Within hailing distance of the 14th century revolt against the king, in the 20th century its nearness to London put it in the way of bombing raids in the Second World War. It was also the home of the Darby Digger, a 20 ton machine that moved like a crab. The expansion of London and the coming of the railway changed it from a rural village, to a frontier shanty town, to a thriving commuter suburb.
This book attempts to outline and explain the growth of this typical suburban town, through the study of documents, maps, photographs and the memories of the people of Wickford.