New book celebrates 'Times of Old Retold' in the East Riding

Mon 9th April 2018
Womens Land Army 2 Photograph

East Riding Archives have published a new book – ‘Times of Old Retold’ – with a unique collection of memories of life in the East Riding during the twentieth century.

The book has been edited by Dr Alex Ombler, and represents the conclusion  of an oral history project carried out in 2017 by the Archives and Local Studies service, guided by Dr Ombler, which aimed to record and archive the everyday experiences and memories of local individuals and communities.

Extracts from recordings made with a range of contributors to the project are included verbatim in the book, giving a fascinating insight into life in days gone by.

Subjects covered include childhood; domestic life; town and village life; the Second World War; agriculture and horticulture; transport; industry; and sports, leisure, and entertainment.

One contributor recalls life immediately after the Second World War : “There was a lot of rationing. I can remember Sir Stafford Cripps , who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had a face like he was chewing a wasp and HE reduced the rations to almost half after the war. They talk about austerity now, that WAS austerity!”

Another mourned the changes to retail and shopping in recent years, referring to Withernsea in particular : “It was better generally, you ‘ad greengrocers’ shops in those days. You ‘ad Mr Kemp ‘e used to bake bread, Watts baked bread, Co-op ‘ad three shops, which is now the Meridian Centre, and there was a butcher’s, household and shoes and what-not. ..”

The book is illustrated with a superb collection of photographs from across the East Riding, including long closed railway stations; Hodgson’s Tannery in Beverley;  Driffield cattle market; and beach scenes from many decades ago.

Dr Alex Ombler said : “ We very much hope that the reminiscences gathered during the oral history project and included in this book will provide an enjoyable contribution and contrast to other existing histories of the East Riding and its inhabitants.”

The book is available, priced £5, from East Riding Archives in  the Treasure House in Beverley.

Just Beverley