BEDFORD ARCHITECTURAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL & LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
BEDFORD LOCAL BOOK REVIEW
BOOK REVIEW by Bob Ricketts
By John R. Waller III
Published by Grafton Press, Northampton. 128 pages. Paperback.
Obtainable from Grafton Press on 01604 620384
or from Milton Ernest Garden Centre, price £8. No ISBN given.
The sequel to John Waller’s longer history of Harrold. This volume focuses on Harrold during the twentieth century, drawing heavily on material
from the Rating Survey of 1927, from which a street-by-street commentary has been produced.
The starting point is a short excursion through Harrold’s early history, covering the Black Death to 1899 in five pages. There is no clear narrative, largely quotes from unrelated documents and speculation, for example: “The Black Death was in the 2nd or 3rd week of June 1349 when several deaths were recorded, but certinly didn’t have the disastrous consequences other towns experienced… Tournaments. No accounts exist but as Harrold was such an important place, we can’t dismiss any possibility of such an event happening.”
More interesting, especially to family historians, is the detailed perambulation of the village based on the 1927 Rating Survey, local knowledge and oral history, which makes up much of the book (pages 13-67), providing information on residents and living conditions. This is followed by short sections on such subjects as the Riverside Café, public houses, institutes and societies. There are two black and white photographs (of a tractor mowing Mowhills Meadow in the 1980s and a tractor at the T junction after the blizzard of March 1947. There is no index and there are no references.
Not recommended, unless you have a particular family interest in Harrold.