A FORMER Thurrock woman has put pen to paper in a book detailing the horrific emotional and physical abuse she suffered growing up in Orsett’s The Kings Arms pub.

Yvonne Mandeville, now 69, spent many childhood days behind the bar, which her grandfather owned, and has now published The Girl in The Kings Arms, detailing the first 18 years of her life.

As a baby, Yvonne tells how she was rejected by her mother, who had avidly wanted a son - even to the point she was sent to school dressed as a boy.

Her grandfather lived at the Kings Arms - where punters would call her Bill - alongside her grandmother, but also his mistress.

Shortly after Yvonne was born, she went to live in the pub, with many people in the village believing her grandfather’s mistress was her mother.

The abuse she received at the pub, was largely mental and physical, but it was only when she was older she realised it bordered sexual abuse - and was a story that had to be told.

The book details her childhood, with the contrasting tales of post-war rural life and the abuse she suffered from her family.

She said: “It was just something I had to do, because I have kept quiet for decades, and little things were urging me on to get it out there and let people know.

“I started writing about my childhood, and with every chapter, which in effect is a story in its own right, no matter how much I put myself in the fields, playing with friends, describing the flowers, the happy memories, all the time I was writing the good things, these dark memories were creeping in.

“I couldn’t let go of them, because they were very big parts of those memories.

“So I had all these stories, and I was writing a certain amount about the darker side, but I wasn’t writing it all, I had been indoctrinated into not saying anything for all these years.”

With the support of her husband, Mike, she was able to finish the book, despite him finding her in tears at the keyboard on numerous occasions.

Yvonne has an old photo where she met Father Christmas, but she was wearing boy’s trousers, a cap, and had her hair cut short.

And has memories of a letter from school stating her mum should “dress her appropriately”.

She added: “My mother, she didn’t want a girl, she wanted a boy. I found a lot of this out later in life through my father and grandmother, she would put gin in my milk to make me sleep, and throughout my childhood alcohol was very prominent, every ailment was treated with alcohol.”

Despite the turmoil she endured at the hands of her loved ones, even to this day Yvonne is certain her father loved her, but she feels that he could do nothing about how she was treated.

She added: “My grandfather would creep up behind me, and I would be this little girl, and he would twist my elbow, give me Chinese burns, he would hold a teaspoon from his coffee on my wrist to burn me.

“I saw his violence towards his wife, his mistress, but no-one seemed to care, I was there witnessing it all, but I was not allowed to talk to anyone about it.

“I had a lot of happy memories with him, walking in the fields, and I do think he loved me, but things would change in the pub.”

The book, which flicks from darkness to light, from positive to negative at ease, almost has a shift of focus as Yvonne gets older in each chapter, with her consciousness understanding the abuse she suffered.

Yvonne first put pen to paper on the first part of her life story in 2012, which is now available to purchase.

Will there be a second book? Yvonne certainly hasn’t ruled it out, “my life and my story definitely didn’t finish then”, she says defiantly.

Her father passed away in 1994, leaving Yvonne little opportunity to get answers.

The pub was sold many moons ago and is no longer in the family.

  • To find out more about the book click here, or buy a hard copy or digital version here.