Andrew Summers

Location: Hadleigh, Essex
About me...

My dad, a Polish national spent two years in a Soviet Labour Camp before escaping to the UK on the return leg of an Artic convoy . My mother worked at Bletchley park, but never told me a thing about it.  I was born within the sound of Bow Bells (on a quiet day) but now live in Hadleigh, Essex. I was a partner in a printing business, and after 10 years I moved into sales and for 25 years travelled Europe organising international book fairs. I now run a publishing business Essex Hundred Publications which specialises in local history books. Over my time I have bought books, sold books, printed books and now write and publish books too.  I went to the same school as Alan Sugar and turned down a job with him. We are all young (and foolish) once!

About my Talks...

Our talks are ‘Powerpoint’ illustrated. We will bring our own lap top or flash drive incorporating the presentation. We can provide a projector if needed at small extra charge. We rely on the venue to provide a suitable screen and audio/ sound equipment /mike if needed.
Timing is between 40 minutes and one hour and allows for breaks and questions. We cover a wide range of topics with history, mainly on Essex, East London, Suffolk and Hertfordshire borders the main theme. We always look at history from alternative perspectives and try to link past events to those of the present day.


The fee is £50.00 within 10 miles of Benfleet, Essex. For distances over 10 miles from Benfleet 35p per mile should be added for fuel costs plus an additional allowance made for travelling time.

My Contact Details:


The Enigma of Boudicca or Boadicea

Public Speaker in Essex Andrew Summers presents his talk The Enigma of Boudicca or Boadicea

The Roman occupation of Britain lasted over 350 years. In AD 60, seventeen years after the Romans arrived, Queen Boudicca led an uprising which resulted in the destruction of Colchester, London and St Albans. The rebellion was short lived and resulted in a harsh crackdown.

Yet in later years Roman rule was interrupted by several uprisings and incursions by the ‘natives’. In AD 185 part of the occupying Roman Army mutinied and 100 years later the Roman Commander Marcus Aurelius Carausius proclaimed himself Emperor of an independent Britain. Yet, in turn, the insurrections were supressed, the mutiny put down, the usurper overthrown and Roman rule returned to more or less normal.

Yet, despite of all the upheavals in the British Isles during Rome’s long tenure, it is only Boudicca who is especially remembered.

This illustrated talk explores the ‘facts’ of Boudicca’s rebellion so far as it is known and examines the resultant Heritage, Legacy and Mythology grown up around it.

BUFFALO BILL’S WILD WEST - Buffalo Bill in Essex

Public Speaker in Essex Andrew Summers presents his talk BUFFALO BILL’S WILD WEST

At the turn of the 20th century Buffalo Bill was one of the most famous men in the world. For nearly twenty years he toured America and Europe with his Wild West show. Nothing like it had been seen before—the cowboys were real cowboys, the Indians real Indians and the cavalry real soldiers. It brought the excitement of the American frontier to people who could never hope to see the real thing and people flocked to it in their thousands. It was a huge undertaking – three special trains were needed to transport the show and the arena could seat more than 12,000 people. The show came to Essex twice. Visiting Leyton, Southend and Colchester in 1903 and Chelmsford and Ilford a year later. This illustrated talk tells the story of what happened. (David Dunford)

The History of Horse Racing in Chelmsford - FULL CIRCLE

Public Speaker in Essex Andrew Summers presents his talk The History of Horse Racing in Chelmsford

In the 18th and 19th centuries Chelmsford Races, held on Galleywood Common, were the most eagerly anticipated event on the Essex calendar. They had something for everyone – the aristocracy flaunted their wealth and power; the working classes enjoyed a rare day off and crooks and conmen fleeced the unwary. Eventually flat racing gave way to steeple chasing but in 1935 the Galleywood races ended. With the dawn of the 21st century a new course opened at Great Leighs and once again the cheers of racegoers echoed across the Essex countryside. This illustrated talk tells the fascinating story of horse racing in Chelmsford. (David Dunford)



This is a Stand Alone and interactive session.

On 28th November (1910) Braintree and Bocking Rat Club held its first annual dinner to celebrate the numbers of rats caught and killed locally that year.
Sad, serious, quirky or perhaps those of great national significance ‘366 days In Essex’ gives details of one or more events through every day of the year in Essex including 29th Feb. You give us a date and we’ll give an answer.


Public Speaker in Essex Andrew Summers presents his talk Battlefield Essex.

Although titled Battlefield Essex, it’s is not all blood and gore! We explore conflicts on Essex soil over a 2,000 year time frame. Some have been violent battles, but there have also been many that didn’t involve loss of life, yet nevertheless fought with passion. In many cases such battles have been hyped in contemporary media as ‘battles’ and the term has stuck. The ‘Essex’ area includes the part of the county now absorbed onto Greater London, in what is loosely termed ‘Metropolitan Essex’.


For one thousand years the county of Essex stretched westwards from Harwich to Waltham Cross on the River Lea. The county boundary then continued south along the course of the Lea to the River Thames at Trinity Buoy Wharf, before turning eastwards following the north bank of the capital’s river all the way to Shoeburyness. This changed in 1965 with the formation of the Greater London Council. Five new London Boroughs were created. Whilst only a tiny proportion of the land was taken, nearly one third of the existing Essex population was removed from the county. Despite these changes over two generations ago, many residents who live in these boroughs still refer to themselves as Essex people, as does much of the media.

The UNSEEN ENEMY (The Great Influenza Outbreak of 1918)

In November 1918 as the First World War came to an end a new and deadly foe established itself on the home front. It was unseen, advanced rapidly, took no prisoners and was commonly known as the Spanish Lady or Flu. Reporting widespread sickness in the military was considered detrimental to the morale of soldiers and civilians alike and although the news of the outbreak in the military was largely supressed, nothing could or was done to stop the spread of the infection itself. The pandemic of 1918 to 1919 was the deadliest in modern history and infected an estimated 500 million people, about one-third of the then world’s population.


A Stand Alone Session – interactive.

The history of the ‘corner’ is outlined on how some of the 130 poets and writers came to be buried or commemorated there (and the arguments they so caused).  A selection of the well-known works will also be available to give the audience a chance to participate and read extracts from them.


The Magna Carta agreement at Runnymede, on June 15th 1215, between England’s most powerful barons and King John made little difference to the lives of ordinary people. Most men (and women) were not ‘free’ but tied their feudal overlords. In 1215, nearly all of Essex was designated ‘forest’ and it was where ‘Forest Law’ applied and used as a means levy harsh taxes. Essex Barons were at the forefront of those who pushed hard for the Magna Carta and Robert Fitzwalter, Lord of Dunmow was the leader of the council of twenty five charged with overseeing the enforcement of the charter. Yet within three months England was at war. The charter was effectively dead and Essex racked by conflict.


This talk has three themes. Firstly, it tells the story of Essex Farm and Calvaire (Essex), two First World War cemeteries in Belgium that will forever bear the Essex name. Secondly, we give an overview of the Essex Regiment in the First World War. In the third part we look at the home front through the eyes of the local press, criss-crossing the county, to see what readers were given by way of news. It has to be remembered that during the First World War there was no radio, no television and of no course no internet or social media. Even telephones were a rarity. Essex Farm is also the setting for the Memorial to John McCrae, the author of the poem In Flanders Fields, one of the best known poems in the world.

The NUMBERS HAD TO TALLY (A story of survival and escape)

On 1st September 1939, Poland was invaded from the west, north and south by the Nazis. Three weeks later the Soviet Red Army moved in and occupied the east of the country. Twenty three year old Kazimierz Szmauz was picked up and taken into custody by Red Army border guards whilst trying to cross between the Soviet and Nazi occupied zones of Poland. After months of interrogation by the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, he was convicted by a court he had never seen of trying to leave the Soviet Union illegally and was sentenced to eight years in a labour camp. In the following 18 months he found himself thrown into a living hell of backbreaking work norms, dominated by the stark realisation that the amount of food allocated was dependant on work output. No work literally meant no food. The sick were considered unproductive so were put on a starvation diet and left to die. Amazingly Kazimierz Szmauz did survive and was perhaps considered one of the more fortunate of those that fell into the clutches of the notorious Gulag system.

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