Ursula Bloom was a British novelist, biographer and journalist. She wrote over 560 books, which earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for many years as the world’s most prolific female writer. She was born in Springfield, Essex in 1892 and moved to Walton-on-the- Naze during the winter of 1914 living in Saville Street with her mother during the early years of WW1. She married her first husband in 1916 and moved to Frinton until his early death in 1918. Now on her own, she decided to earn a living as a writer and her first novel was published in 1924.
Bloom references Walton in several of her books. In her novel ‘The House That Died Alone’ (1964), she portrays the tragedy of the Manor House (Walton Hall), which stood alone on the Essex Estuary. The story is set in the fictional town of Delstone at the time of the Dutch wars in the seventeenth century. 'A young lady Rose marries a middle-age squire who lived there, but falls in love with a Dutchman imprisoned in the Manor’s cellar. When he dies escaping she weeps for him, and after her own death it is said that her ghost haunted the house and wept there forever.'
Ursula Bloom wrote about her time living in Walton in her biography ‘Youth at the Gate: A young woman’s memoir of life during the First World War.
(Republished by Wyndham Books in 2016 available as an ebook).
I sat on the dry sand, the only person who would come here on a December afternoon, but I had wanted to be alone. Then I knew that I was not alone, for the horror had happened again. A man in a blue suit lay by the water’s edge almost as if asleep. The waves came to and fro, playing with him like a cat’s paw curling round the mouse she has destroyed, amusedly. Against his stillness the perpetual movement of the water was somehow horrifying.
I got up quickly, stumbling through the loose sand, and by the parapet a Sea Scout stood whittling a stick with a jack-knife. I called to him
‘There’s something down there.’
He would have been about sixteen years old, I suppose; he glanced, then said: ‘Oh, that’s another from the Harwich wreck, I expect. You’d better go home Miss. No good hanging about here.’