44 Stansted Close (erected 2020)


John Alec Baker (1926 to 1986) was born in Essex and educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford. 

He grew up an only child in Chelmsford with his parents, father Wilfred Baker (borough councillor and later Mayor of Chelmsford, 1964) and mother Pansy Baker. 

Chelmsford would remain his home for much of the rest of his life, and it was in walking and cycling the surrounding Essex countryside that his passion for wildlife first flourished.

In the 1960s, Baker gave up his job at the Chelmsford branch of the Automobile Association to commit to writing full time. During this period, he wrote his first and most critically acclaimed work, The Peregrine, whilst living at his home No. 44 Stansted Close with his wife Doreen (died 2006). 

The Peregrine was published by Collins in 1967 and awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize for its innovative depiction of nature through poetry and prose. 

In 1969, a second book, The Hill of Summer, followed but was unfavourable compared to its predecessor.

There is also a piece of public art inspired by his work.

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