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Redditch author brings Worcestershire to life in major new book
12:40pm Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
OVER the centuries, there have been many books produced about Worcestershire. But now one of the most comprehensive, but so far unpublished works, has been turned into major history of the county by one of its best known contemporary authors, from Redditch.
The basis for Worcestershire (Robert Hale Ltd, £40) was an in-depth project carried out over several decades by the late Peter Neville Havins, a Shropshire librarian and schoolmaster.
He died in 2007, but his manuscripts were passed to Redditch author Anne Bradford, well known for her series of ghost books, who has turned them into this weighty new tome which covers the development of the county from ancient times up to the present day.
Mrs Bradford said: “The publishers were looking for someone with a knowledge of the whole county to edit Peter’s book.
“I’m on the committee of the Worcestershire Local History Forum that looks after all the county’s history societies and have written several books about Worcestershire, including a history of Royal Enfield, Stourport -on-Severn, Redditch, and 10 or more collections of local ghosts, murders and scandals.
“In addition, my husband John is a keen walker and has written books that include Worcestershire’s rivers and hills, so we know the area well.
“Peter’s book was in a deep box and was eight inches or more in depth. He must have spent many years working on it.
“I had to cut it down considerably and after consulting knowledgeable friends I decided, regretfully, to cut out chapters such as the history of the Druids and children’s games and limit it to history that was specifically Worcestershire.
“Because Peter spent such a long time working on it some information was out-of-date, for example the size of Roman Worcester is much larger than previously thought.
“Everything written had to be checked to make sure the information was correct and up-to-date and my thanks go to those contacts who were able to help.
“Although Peter had some wonderful phraseology, his style was sometimes quite flowery so you had to read a long sentence several times to get the gist of it. I had to rewrite some sections to make it an easy read. “I had boxes full of old illustrations, but the publishers wanted photographs of Worcestershire as it is now. Fortunately, my husband is a retired photographic art director and produces photographic books so was able to take most of the hundred-plus photographs required.
“I was working on the book, with help, for three years and I enjoyed every minute.
“At first I was not very pleased when I learned the price would be £40, because I thought it was information which should be easily available to everyone. But when I saw what an excellent job the publishers have made of the book, I felt proud to be associated with it and I hope those who cannot afford it will put their name down to borrow a library copy.”