Lovejoy: The Judas Pair & The Grail Tree

“Antiques and Women are my only interests. It sounds simple, but you just try putting them in the right order.”

The third instalment of the CSB East Anglian trilogy takes us to Essex. We immerse ourselves in the unreconstructed 1970s world of the UK’s favourite antiques dealer-cum-private eye – Lovejoy.

We use Books 1 and 3 in the series – ‘The Judas Pair’ and ‘The Grail Tree’ – to explore Colchester and its environs and track down key locations, such the main antiques arcade where Lovejoy spends a lot of his time, the White Hart pub where all his deals get done, and his cottage where a dramatic showdown takes place with a villain with a crossbow.

Starting their odyssey at a sex shop on the A12, Lloyd and Tim find themselves deeply troubled by the casual violence towards women and the general misogyny that colours Lovejoy’s world view. We consider how the womens liberation movement of the early 1970s might have been impacting on Lovejoy’s world  – or not.

We search for the lost Colchester, crumped under a shopping centre. We find a pub in West Bergholt that has been through countless refurbishments. We guess at where Lovejoy’s cottage might have been before it was burned down. We realise that much of what we’re looking for has disappeared – as lost as the mythical antiques that Lovejoy searches for in the books.

We end at Witham train station after a racy car ride, keen to return to the more ‘enlightened’ times of the present day…

Each month we road test a work of fiction that appears to be curiously specific about dates and locations. We go to the places mentioned and see if descriptions are accurate, journey times credible, dates and days all in order. Along the way, we learn things, about the book, and its author.

Sources & credits

Womens Liberation March in London, 1971:

Billericay Dickie, Ian Dury:

Lovejoy Theme:

Germaine Greer in debate:

Oi, Baxter Dury:

Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Colchester punk movement:

Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Colchester walking around:

Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Undistract yourself:

Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, English roads:

Sheila Jeffreys on Kate Millet:

Hurry Up Harry, Sham 69:

Carry on At Your Convenience (1971), Theme tune:

Canteen scene:

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Bachman Turner Overdrive:–f8

Top Gear, Clarkson:

Girls and Boys, Blur:

Every Move You Make, Ian McShane:


The Jonathan Gash Project:

The James Bond of Antiques Dealers:

Sexual Politics, Kate Millet:

West Bergholt:

History of Colchester:

Colchester Castle:

Colchester: coins from hoard go under the hammer:

Uri Geller:

Colchester’s historic Red Lion Yard in the news:

Timeline of Women’s Liberation Movement:

Braithwaite engines:

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