Bury historian Martyn Taylor captures memories of the town in fascinating new book
For his latest fascinating book, a Bury St Edmunds historian has collected scores of memories of life in the town - filled with poignancy, humour and page-turning curios.
Martyn Taylor interviewed more than 70 people - many of whom he knew - from all walks of life to gather 152 stories for ‘Bury St Edmunds Memories’.
Under six chapters - childhood, schooldays, working life, pastimes, conflicts and almost a local - it reveals little known facts about the town and documents stories from 1908 to the 1970s which may otherwise have been lost to the passage of time.
Mr Taylor said: “It took a year to do and I was interviewing people on average once a week. I realised that I was writing down people’s memories that wouldn’t have been told - that are known to the family but not in the public domain.
“It was a real learning curb and it was humbling listening to some of them.”
Among those he interviewed were solicitors, public health inspectors, brick-layers and cleaners.
He spoke to Olive Catton, one of the first female police officers in the area, and Ann Pettit, daughter of Frank King, who was an attendant at the former swimming pool at The Playfields and taught hundreds of children how to swim.
Nigel Finch, from the West End Bakery, in Out Westgate, spoke to him about supplyling bread for Woolworths.
Meanwhile, Derek Bluett gave a fascinating account of his time as a stoker on a ship en-route to Japan while being attacked by kamikaze aircraft.
There are tales about Joseph Bruton, landlord of The Elephant & Castle pub, Ron Colson’s time in the army cadets and a local policeman giving mischievous youngsters a clip around the ear.
Mr Taylor included one of his own memories of Whitmore’s Timber Yard, which stood where Tesco is now in Fornham Road.
He has also written about how his father Percy received his middle name from the vicar who christened him at St Mary’s Church.
Bury St Edmunds Memories, published by Amberley, follows Mr Taylor’s two previous books Bury St Edmunds Through Time and Secret Bury St Edmunds.
It is due to be published from November 15 onwards and is available from Waterstones, Moyse’s Hall, the Cathedral Shop and WHSmith.