Posted by: billpurdue | November 18, 2009

75 New and recent local history titles

It’s time for a round up of some recent and not so recent local history titles:

I’ll begin with a new book from the Skegby &Teversal  Living Memory Group called Time for Another [£3 available from various outlets in Skegby and Teversal including Skegby Library] . This latest offering, the seventh collection of reminiscences by local people published by the group, reflects the fact that fewer and fewer people these days live all their lives in the town where they were born and brought up. So we have a piece from Stan Quin about his 35 years working at Heathrow Airport and Reg Fittall writes about his childhood in Nairobi. Intermingled with these memories and a poem or two, there are fond memories of Stanton Hill, Skegby, Newton, Sutton and surrounding areas: Joyce Brown on learning to swim just after the war; Janet Langford, John Ward and Mary Hurst recall the change to decimal currency and H Cuthbertson writes about the old gas lamps and the various travelling tradesmen. There’s also a clever and amusing little story of a love affair that was not to be from Jack Townsend.

Next a book by and about one of Mansfield’s famous sons: John Harrop White. The Harrop White Memoirs [Old Mansfield Society £7.95 0951794884] is a transcription of Harrop White’s diaries spanning the years 1856 to 1904. In Harrop White’s youth Mansfield was just  a small market town when quarrying and brewing were the main industries: the collieries didn’t come until much later. A solicitor by profession, Harrop White played a major role in public life and was instrumental in bringing water, sewerage, gas and electricity to the town. The diary entries are often brief and in note form, but a full introduction explains the background essential to their understanding.

To be published at the end of this month, Minster People is a collection of potted biographies of twelve eminent people who were connected with Southwell Minster over the centuries. It begins with Paulinus, the Roman missionary who is credited with converting our area of England to Christianity and ends with Dame Betty Ridley, daughter of a bishop of Southwell and who supported the cause of the ordination of women. The book has been compiled by Stanley Chapman, Chairman of the Southwell Local History Society and Derek Walker, Chairman of the Nottinghamshire Local History Association, from a series of talks given in Autumn 2008 . The book is due to be launched at the Saracen’s Head Hotel in Southwell on November 28th between 10 am and 12 noon. My thanks to Mr Chapman for that information.

Back to Mansfield for a moment to mention a slim publication from the Old Mansfield Society called The Grace of God [£2.90 0951794868, published 2002, but still available] which looks at all the Christian denominations represented in Mansfield. At the time of publication all the places of worship in Mansfield were Christian: other faiths were almost invisible. A handy little book for those interested in Mansfield’s religious past.

Finally there’s a new book about Hardwick Hall from the local history publishers Phillimore which was featured in the Mansfield Chad for November 11th. In the “England’s Past for Everyone”(EPE) series , Hardwick: A Great House and its Estate by Philip Riden and Dudley Fowkes [ £14.99 9781860775444] charts the fortunes of the Cavendish family, the history of both the Old Hall and the “new” one as well as the coming of the coal mines and their decline. I will be looking for this in the shops to have a closer look and possibly put it on my Christmas list.

By the way, I do wish that the people responsible for updating the EPE website would keep it up to date: according to that (as of 18th Nov.), the book is still in preparation. The Phillimore site is, on the other hand, up to date

Next time – it’s time for a good old browse with Christmas in mind!

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