The East of England is one of the nine official regions of England. Its counties include Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk. The 2001 population census recorded 5,388,140 residents.

The East of England region is generally not considered to be one of the more ethnically diverse areas in the UK. However, the town of Luton is noted for its high number of ethnic minorities living within the district; its most recent ethnic population census was recorded as: 71.9% White, 18.3% South Asian and 6.3% Afro-Caribbean. Luton is also home to more than a quarter of all Asian people residing in East Anglia, although the Asian community only accounts for less than 3% of the total regional population.

Previous to the creation of the East of England region, there was a smaller standard statistical region of East Anglia that did not initially include Essex, Hertfordshire, or Bedfordshire. These counties had previously been included in the South East of England region, and the East of England civil defence region shared boundaries of the current region.

In common usage, the easterly parts of this area have long been, and continue to be, known as East Anglia. The areas that are closer in proximity to London are more commonly considered to be part of the South East of England, with Hertfordshire and Essex included as being part of the “Home Counties.”

The East of England Regional Assembly was created as a voluntary regional chamber in 1998 by the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. The assembly is based at Flempton, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, which was created in order to coordinate the work of the local councils as well as to provide other civil functions.

The association held its first meeting in March of 1999. In July of 2003, the assembly was reconstituted to combine its existing functions with those of the regional arm of the Local Government Association and also of the Regional Employers Organisation.

The government headquarters of the East of England region are based in Cambridge.

Essex one of the more prominent counties in the East of England; its county town headquarters is based in Chelmsford. Its population census records the two prominent racial groups being white (96.8% of the population) and South Asian (1.2% of the population). 

Nestled between London and East Anglia, the Essex accent spoken by locals has had influence from both of these regions. Due to a large amount of migration from East London to Essex during the 1960’s and 1970’s, Cockney English was assimilated into the Essex accent, which then became widely known as Estuary English. The increasing pace of such mobility and migration around the South East of England has triggered significant accent and dialect leveling.

One of the more famous towns, and the most populated, in Essex is Colchester, which is also the oldest recorded town in Britain. Originally a settlement before the Romans invaded, they were attacked and the town was destroyed by Queen Boadicea in the year 60 A.D. The Romans subsequently built a wall around the town with a gateway; the arch and certain parts of the wall still remain to this day.

Today, Colchester has become well-known for its family-friendly environment and tourist attractions that include museums, a castle, a zoo, and various specialist shops and arcades. Some points of interest include the Firstsite art gallery, the Colchester Castle Museum, the Mercury Repertory Theatre, and the Colchester United stadium, home to the town’s football league.   

Another famous Essex township, Clacton-on-the-Sea, is one of Essex's and England's best known resorts. It is well-known as the playground of London, replete with sandy beaches and piers, small villages, resorts and river creeks that await a vast amount of tourists year after year. Historically, Clacton-on-the-Sea grew from developments since 1864, taking its name from a nearby village called Great Clacton. The resort was officially founded in 1871 – although initially, it was meant to be the main means of access to the sea – and prospered with the introduction of the railway in 1882.

Clacton-on-Sea is also famous for the 'Mods' and 'Rockers' fights in the early 1960's. Along with its infamous seaside attractions, Clacton-on-Sea also has two regional theatres and was once home to one of the oldest Butlins sites, but it was closed in 1983 and replaced with the Martello Bay housing estate. Clacton’s population has grown hugely over the course of the 20th century. In 1901, the population was recorded at 7,456 residents; in 1991 the population was recorded as 45,065 residents; today, the population boasts over 53,000 residents.

Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, a modern town that is also home to a range of ancient structures and landmarks. It is home to the Cathedral and Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Peter and St Cedd, as well as the Chelmsford Cathedral, which is notable for its beautiful 15th-century tower. The Cathedral was installed with new organs in 1994 and 1996. Other places of interest include Hylands House – a former country house and parkland dating back to 1730 – and the nearby village of Writtle, where Robert the Bruce supposedly married his second wife in 1302.  
In 1898, Guglielmo Marconi (the “father of radio”) opened the world’s very first “wireless” factory in Hall Street that employed about 50 people. Chelmsford is often credited as being the “birthplace of radio”, and in 1920 the factory became the location of the first officially-publicised sound broadcasts in the United Kingdom.

Chelmsford also is home to Britvic soft drinks, a concept initially formed as the British Vitamin Company in 1948. The origins of this company can be traced back to a chemist in Tindal Street, which had been producing and selling flavoured waters as early as the mid-19th century.
Besides being the headquarters of Essex County and Chelmsford Borough Councils, the town is home to a variety of national and international companies that include: M&G Group, e2v Technologies, BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) and EBM Papst (UK) Ltd.  

Hertfordshire, located to the north of Greater London, is another renowned county that is part of the London commuter belt. With a wide range of transport links – including the M1, M10, A1 (M), the M25, and many among other motorways – running through Hertfordshire, the county has become vital in providing travel links between the suburban county and the city of London.

Most of the counties in England have nicknames for residents of a particular area, and the traditional chosen nickname for a Hertfordshire native is a “Hertfordshire Hedgehog” or “Hertfordshire Hayabout”. The county’s population is 93.7% white, 3.0% South Asian, and 1.1% Afro-Caribbean.  

The starting point of the New River, a man-made waterway opened in 1613 to supply London with fresh drinking water, is located in Hertfordshire. The only classified city in the county, St. Albans, was built near the site of Verulamium, the third largest city in Roman Britain. The modern town was named after the Christian martyr Saint Alban.

In 1965, the Barnet Urban District and the East Barnet Urban District were abolished under the London Government Act of 1963, and their area was transferred from Hertfordshire to Greater London, forming the London Borough of Barnet. Around the same time, the Potters Bar Urban District was transferred from Middlesex to Hertfordshire.

From the 1920s up to the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwood was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including MGM-British Studios. Elstree Studios, the site of several television productions, were taken over by the BBC.  

The county town of Hertford serves as a commuter base for London, providing rail links from Hertford North to London’s King Cross-St. Pancras and Moorgate underground stations. From the Hertford East station, trains run to London via the Liverpool Street underground station, being the older transport link although it is also now slower and less frequent. Employment in the town is based at the Hertfordshire County Council, the East Hertfordshire District Council at Wallfields, and the McMullens Brewery, one of the last remaining independent brewing companies in the UK.

A county south east of London, Kent borders East Sussex, Surrey, and Greater London. Kent also shares a nominal border with France halfway along the Channel Tunnel, and a defining boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames estuary. The population of the county is 1,621,000 as of 2005, with 96.5% of the population classified as white and 1.7% of the population classified as South Asian.

Nicknamed “The Garden of England,” Kent is often associated with being home to rural areas with farming industries still integral to the region. One of the more traditional crops is hops, mostly used as an ingredient for beer. Over the centuries, industries such as woollen cloth and iron-making, paper, cement, tourism, fishing and various forms of engineering have also become popular. The two major cities of Kent are Canterbury and Rochester, the latter city being the site of a small airfield that provides a link to Europe. 

When the county of London was formed by the Local Government Act of 1888, it was subsequently incorporated into part of the north-western region of Kent that included Deptford, Greenwich, Woolwich and Lewisham. In 1965, there was further change when the county of London was abolished and replaced by Greater London, which then led to the formation of the London Borough of Lewisham and the London Borough of Greenwich. Two other boroughs were also created: the London Borough of Bromley – a merging of Bromley, Beckenham, Chiselhurst, Orpington and Penge – and the London Borough of Bexley – consisting of Bexley, Sidcup, Erith and Crayford.

Most of the north-west sections of Kent are part of the London commuter belt; the Thames Gateway regeneration area includes riverside areas of north Kent that range as far east as Sittingbourne and largely to the north of the A2 road.


Out of every 1,000 people (on average):
 914 are White British
 37 are White non-British
 23 are Asian
 11 are of Mixed Race
 9 are Black
 4 are Chinese
Source: Office for National Statistics

The largest ethnic group within the East of England is classified as the White Other group, which makes up for 2.5% of the regional population (136,000 residents). The percentage of black people residing in the region is less than 1%, although this figure shows that the populous of black residents in East Anglia remains to be one of the more prominent concentrations outside of London and the West Midlands. Of the 48,000 black citizens in East England, about 60% are of Caribbean origin and nearly a quarter live in Luton. The remaining 10% of the black population reside in Milton Keynes.

In 2001, about 6.1% of East Anglia residents were born abroad, a figure that elevated from 5.1% in the 1991 census.

Total East of England Population: 5,388,140

 Local Area/ UK National Average  
Ethnic group/sub-groupPopulationProportion compared to national average
White 5,125,00395.1%
Mixed 57,9841.07%
 White and Black Caribbean19,8820.36%
 White and Black African6,1090.11%
 White and Asian17,3850.32%
 Other mixed14,6080.27%
Asian 121,7522.25%
 Other Asian13,4240.24%
Black 48,4640.89%
 Other Black5,2970.09%
Chinese 20,3850.37%
Other ethnic group 14,5520.27%
Source: Census 2001, Office for National Statistics


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