6 October 2015

New book: Secret Newark by Jillian Campbell and Mike Cox

The authors are members of Newark Archaeological and Local History Society which offers guided tours of the town for a wide range of groups: the book is based on information assembled for these tours. The book is 'is an attempt to set down and explain many of the little-known aspects' of  the town, is illustrated with many good colour photographs of its built heritage and is structured around several walks of Newark's interesting streets.

I grew up near Newark and know it well but I have learnt much from this book. I particularly liked the story about the stone ledge in a side passage next to a pub that was probably added to deter customers from urinating against the neighbour's wall! It was also interesting to read that a North American Phippeway Indian is buried in the parish church graveyard but no one knows why!

There are a couple of errors (the architect Fothergill Watson was born in Mansfield so can't be described as a native of Nottingham; the Moot Hall in the Market Square was completely rebuilt in the late 1960s rather than 'heavily restored') and I was surprised how little reference was made to Newark's brewing heritage and the lack of a mention of the large Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Millgate. I also think that a few maps showing the layout of the town and location of major landmarks would help visitors follow the walks.

Minor criticisms aside this is a useful and entertaining book and should help people appreciate the heritage of one of our most historic and attractive towns.