‘We Didn’t Know Owt’

Words by:
Yusef Sayed
Featured in:
October 2012

‘We Didn’t Know Owt’ by Maureen Sutton
Published by Shaun Tyas, £14.95
Many Lincolnshire Life readers will already be familiar with Maureen Sutton, a contributor to the magazine, and a well-known oral historian. Some may even be familiar with portions of her new book, an extended and updated version of her 1992 collection, ‘We Didn’t Know Aught’. Sutton has spent years researching the attitudes that Lincolnshire women and men had towards death, sexuality and superstition between the 1930s and ‘60s. Some readers will no doubt blush, or even frown on some of the topics discussed, but as this collection makes clear, Sutton has an obvious knack for getting people of all ages to open up, share their experiences and even laugh at some of the old wives tales that once abounded. The book is rich and fascinating, capturing detailed memories of the way people lived and thought in our county decades ago. While there are plenty of interesting books on the shelves that document personal histories and the changes that have occurred in Lincolnshire, what makes Sutton’s book invaluable is its focus on those taboo areas that are nevertheless essential to explore to ensure a more thorough and insightful social history is maintained, and not just in Lincolnshire.

Maureen Sutton will visit Boomark in Spalding on Tuesday 30th October at 7.15pm. Tel 01775 769231.

by Ralph Needham
Published by Tucann Books, £12

Another reprint, this time of a more recent publication that recounts the experiences of author Ralph Needham from the time he spent growing up in Lincolnshire during the Second World War to his adult experiences as a farmer. Using the curiously named spot, located between Louth and South Cockerington, which gives the book its title, as a position from which to reflect on the numerous changes that farming has undergone, Needham presents a colourful and informative account that is both historical and personal. Blending autobiography and agricultural history, and also illuminating aspects of South Cockerington history dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth century, there will no doubt be county readers who will recognise some of the people and events that Needham documents. Needham’s experiences as a cattle farmer, his association with the YFC, as a horticulturalist, and the economic realities of independent farming are all related in an open and informative way, and with humour. This reprint also includes an introduction to Needham’s forthcoming trilogy of novels, ‘Mantrap’, about wealthy landowners and poor farmers, set in Lincolnshire.

by Winston Kime and Ken Wilkinson
Published by The History Press, £12.99

While this photographic history of Skegness will have nostalgists and those interested in the town’s past intrigued, it is worth noting that the overall format it develops entails numerous photographs of famous bank, retail and fast food chains. This might not sound captivating, but the idea is to present pairs of photographs of specific locales in order to illustrate the changes that have taken place between the turn of the last century and the present day. A simple format but one that really foregrounds the ways in which Skegness has been able to retain its identity and its attractions in the face of the wider economic and social changes during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There are short, informative stories of people and places providing a wealth of historical interest despite the apparent emphasis on the images.

The Lincoln Book Festival will take place this year between 1st and 4th October and will include talks by television personalities Dan Snow and Adam Hart-Davis. The emphasis will be on the historical, with writers Robyn Young, Conn Iggulden and Alison Weir discussing their latest books. www.lincolnbookfestival.org

Linkage Community Trust, a charity based in Lincolnshire has recently launched a special publication. ‘Our Voices, Our Choices’ covers the success stories of thirty-one young learning disabled people from Lincolnshire and further afield. www.linkage.org.uk

Spalding based writer Gemma King’s new book ‘Haunted Spalding’ explores the spookier aspects of the market town. With information on paranormal investigations and ghost stories that will give you chills, this is a recommended read as we head towards Hallowe’en. www.thehistorypress.co.uk

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