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New book on village life published

PUBLISHED: 08:48 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 12 July 2010

A new book based on memories of village life in the 20th century has been published by the Pulham Market Society.

The book was inspired by local farmer Peter Blackburn, who started interviewing villagers in the 1950s about their recollections.

A new book based on memories of village life in the 20th century has been published by the Pulham Market Society.

The book was inspired by local farmer Peter Blackburn, who started interviewing villagers in the 1950s about their recollections. His hobby gathered recordings of more than 70 people over the years who have provided fascina-ting facts about the rural community, near Harleston.

Fellow members of the society felt the unique archive should be transcribed into a written document to safe-guard it for posterity.

A successful bid for lottery funding enabled the production of the new book - Memories of Pulham Market. An Oral History of the Twentieth Century - with every household in the village invited to claim a free copy.

Frank Howard, the society's treasurer, said: “We wanted to get as many people as possible involved in the project which has taken three years, and we couldn't have done it without the grant of about £14,000 from Awards for All.

“It cost about £6,000 to print and the transcription was expensive as you need the professionals.”

The work started in 2005, with a small group also searching for suitable photographs to illustrate the book whose chapters include childhood memories, the Depwade Union Workhouse, farming, transport, the national health in Pulham, and the second world war.

The village has always had strong links with agriculture, its origins dating back to at least the 10th century when the land belonged to Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester.

In Tudor times, it became famous for its cottage industries including making hats and coverlets, but the market eventually lost its appeal because of a larger one at Harleston.

Mr Howard added: “We are in the process of giving out free copies of 450 books to householders. We printed 1,000 and have decided to sell the balance in support of future projects.” Copies will cost £8.50 plus a fee for postage and packing. For more details, call the society's chairman, Brian Carr, on 01379 676292.

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