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A Grim Almanac of Nottinghamshire - Kevin Turton

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Paperback: 160 pages / Publisher: The History Press Ltd / Published: 1 Oct 2009

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      23.04.2013 22:10
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      A mediocre offering.

      I love history, particularly local history pertaining to Nottingham, the city that has been my home now for some 23 years. My parents know this, so when my mum saw this book on sale in The Works for £2.99, she picked it up and passed it on.

      As you'd expect from a book called an 'Almanac' it is essentially a book listing the days of the year from January right up to December, and on each day there is an entry of something that happened in Nottingham - usually something a bit grim, such as a mysterious death, the conclusion of a murder trial, the ducking of a which, or a strange haunting. On the occasional days where there isn't a specific event, they fill the gap for that day with an old punishment that would have been used in the past.

      Entries vary in length from very short at just a couple of lines long, to around half a page, and many are accompanied by illustrations and photographs. Because the entries are so short, it does seem that in many cases there just isn't enough detail to really make them interesting, and for the most part there is very little information, if any, to be had elsewhere so it can be quite frustrating.

      Because the entries are so short, I've basically been using this every day to look up what happened on this day in the past. For example, on the 23rd of April 1685 , Highwaywoman Joan Phillips was hanged for highway robbery on a scaffold at the junction of Loughborough Road and Wilford Lane. There is a little bit of detail about how she came to this life - coerced into it by a lying lover with whom she eloped, and about where she would rob people. Its a fairly good entry, one of the longer ones in the book. However, if we take a look at events of the 2nd of March 1680, we are merely told that Joshua Pleasley was ordered to be whipped in Mansfield for begging in the town - not a lot of info at all.

      Some of the entries are interesting, and I have learned a few interesting little titbits from the book, but overall I have to say I've found the entries really quite dull, and not nearly detailed enough for my liking. I do however like the illustrations and photographs used throughout the book, so for this reason I'll give it three stars.

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