A Different World
Ashwell before 1939
by Albert Sheldrick
Hardback, 160 pages, many illustrations, no index
ISBN 0 904378 37 3
A beautifully produced book, with lots of photographs, and many references to names and places - but unfortunately no index so that is is hard to find whether your relatives are mentioned,
From the Dust Jacket
Albert Sheldrick, Bricklayer, Builder's Foreman, Schoolboy co-founder of Ashwell Museum and later its Curator, has written this wonderful book about Ashwell in Hertfordshire - described by a former President of the Royal Academy, the late Sir Albert Richardson, as the most beautiful village in England With its 176ft high church spire dominating the village landscape, its unique Springs, remarkable Museum and its many ancient buildings, Ashwell is a magnet for visitors from far and wide, and is the much loved home for some 1700 inhabitants.
The authors main theme is Ashwell village Life and its people during the 1920s and 30s, the village in which he grew up.
He introduces us to the twentieth century with strands from the past which vitally influenced Ashwel l- the tragedies and the triumphs - the origins of its name, the building of its majestic church (interrupted by the Black Death), the coming of the railway and the Great Fire of 1850, the Coproliters, the Nonconformists, the parsons, poets and personalities, ghosts and soldiers -local history with a difference, full of humour and humanity
He writes of Ashwell's schools, churches, pubs, farms and its characters in a marvellously entertaining way.
The book contains a rich and unique collection of over 170 photographs from the past - both from the museum and from family albums to include a great array: Ashwell's first car, last windmill, the Brewery's fleet of lorries, the sights which are seen no more, the streets and shops as they appeared 80 or 90 years ago -all these and a host of others make this a superb and fascinating book.
It has an interest and appeal which goes far beyond its borders, as it shows us a way of life which has changed so much since 1939 and which rightly can be described as a different world.
At the end of the book, we have provided an Ordnance Survey map of 1924 which shows many of the features, including the schools, shops, churches, pubs, farms and streets described and illustrated in the book.
Boys at The Merchant Taylors School in 1908
While these children are not named many of the later group photographs contain many names.
The top picture shows Westrope's shop
The middle pictures show the blacksmith's shop, Searle's shop, and Christys grocer s and drapers shop.
The bottom picture shows a Royal mail van and Searle's shop in 1939.
At the time this page was last updated second hand copies were available online
Page updated March 2011