23 February 2012

New book: 'Awsworth through time' by Bryan Maloney

Amberley Publishing have recently published another attractive book in their 'Through Time' series. Awsworth is a little known village on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border about 6 miles north-west of Nottingham. Glass was made here in the late 17th century and mining was the principal occupation of its inhabitants by the late 19th century. The Nottingham Canal was constructed around the village in the 1790s and two monumental railway viaducts were built nearby to carry lines across the Erewash valley in the 1870s: the brick-built '40 Bridges' was sadly demolished in 1973 but the impressive iron-built Bennerley Viaduct still stands.

The author, Bryan Maloney, has assembled a fine selection of images to show how the village and its people have changed over the last 120 years. What is striking is just how much of the industrial past has vanished from the area: much of Nottingham Canal in the area was removed as part of open-cast coal mining or to make way for roads, the chemical works and Bennerley ironworks have long since vanished, the railway network torn up and the mines closed. 

Rather than just provide an endless succession of photographs of streets and buildings Bryan has wisely opted to give equal weight to the human dimension so there are many photographs of village events, sporting teams, school classes and local characters. I was particularly struck by the photograph of Don Brown which shows him seemingly leaping to his doom from the 40 Bridges railway viaduct (he was, in fact, jumping onto the earth embankment at the western end of the viaduct). The sepia image of the Awsworth Bicycle Club, gathered in an orderly fashion outside The Gate pub in the early 1900s is another favourite.

Bryan should be commended for making this collection available to the wider public as many of the photographs are from private sources and have not been seen before. I should admit a personal interest here as I had a minor role in helping to prepare the photographs for publication and it is rewarding to see how well they look on the page despite the poor quality of some of the originals.

It is a splendid collection of images with very informative captions.


Alistar Roberts said...

On my own opinion, I think that the new book entitled Awsworth through time by Bryan Maloney is truly interesting. I know that many people are interested to read that book. It would be a great experience to read such an interesting book.

Harry Riley said...

Very interesting blog: Could the Don Brown mentioned, apparently leaping off bridge the by the same Don Brown, still alive and kicking and living in Eastwood? Not having viewed the photo I can't make the comparison.
Stimulating intro to the book though. i shall certainly look out for it.