Schools will soon break-up for summer, followed shortly after by a mass exodus of families out of the area, if not the country, on holiday.

However, this was not always the case, and up  until the explosion of cheap air travel it was often the case that people would only go a matter of miles to enjoy themselves on day trips.

A popular destination for day-trippers between the mid 1800s and mid 1900s in Essex and east London were the Retreats in Theydon Bois.

President of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, Bob Day, remembers visiting the retreats in his youth.

He said: "As boys we used to go up there to the helter skelter and we used to help stack the mats up at the bottom.

"We used to have a good time and enjoyed all the people coming to visit them.

"It was amazing how many kids used to come off the buses and trains."

For the full version of this story see next week's Guardian - on sale on Thursday.