Norfolk’s fascinating and varied history is reflected in this section, ranging from the medieval period to the twentieth century. The Peasant’s Revolt, the Civil War, smuggling in the eighteenth century and the struggle for a living wage for the farm-workers all feature in this list, plus many other nooks and crannies of Norfolk’s history. Individual parishes, Trimingham, Necton and Castle Acre also have their place. The jigsaw of Norfolk’s history will never be complete, but here are some of the pieces.
The Norfolk Scene
The physical appearance of Norfolk, its natural history, village signs, weathervanes, and countryside all feature here. Norwich Cathedral also features in Martial Rose’s record of the Misericords. There are also walks books by David North and Simon Malone encouraging readers to go out and see this beautiful county for themselves.
The World Wars
This section contains books relating to the two World Wars of the twentieth century, titles which will arouse interest far beyond the boundaries of Norfolk and Suffolk. There are letters from a padre in Flanders during the First World War and moving memories from Norfolk ex-Prisoners of War in Singapore and on the Burma railway. The now-deserted airfields of Norfolk and Suffolk are covered by Roderick McKenzie, and the commemorative flight of Diamond Lil, a B24 Liberator) by David Hastings M.B.E. Pill-boxes are ably recorded by Christopher Bird and experience in small boats by John Townend. (See also Pavements to Ploughed Fields for an evacuee’s story.)
Of course all our books are ‘good reads, but this section contains an amazing collection of biographies and autobiographies of people who live or lived in Norfolk, plus one work of fiction (Midsummer School). A gamekeeper’s son at the beginning of the 20th century, the seventeenth child of a poor Norwich family in the early 20th century, a miller’s daughter in the 1930s, an evacuee in the 1940s, a Norwich schoolgirl and a young Jewish emigrée in wartime, and a nurse in the1950s, and more, all feature in this collection. They truly record the experience of living in Norfolk in the eventful 20th century.
The writing of Stuart Medland is original, sparky, and ideal for children at the top end of the Junior School. Parents and grandparents like them too. Stuart was for some years a teacher with a rare talent for interesting children in words and in developing their sense of humour and appreciation of poetry.