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A Mixed Harvest: Stories of New Mills

Maurice Hope

A Mixed Harvest: Stories of New Mills is a fresh look at the history of this Peak District town, perched atop the torrs above the gorge of the River Sett. By turning his focus on the people of New Mills and the stories of their lives, Maurice Hope deftly draws pictures of a changing town: recreating the atmosphere of the Industrial Revolution, the two World Wars and the modern technological revolution through details of everyday life gleaned from books, newspapers, parish records, advertisements and other published sources.

Here are the people of New Mills through the years, at work and at leisure, bringing to life the history of the town – a cast of often forgotten but fascinating characters. Nineteenth-century industrialists and philanthropists lay the foundations of the modern town: homes, almshouses, factories, libraries and schools. Six young men vounteer to fight in World War One, but not one of them returns home at the end of the war. A generation later, as revealed through another man’s story, history repeats itself. Yet whenever the town has a chance to celebrate, whether it be VE Day, the Festival of Britain or the Coronation, the people of New Mills rise to the occasion and fill the streets with stalls, parades and decorations.

This engaging account of life in New Mills is lavishly illustrated with photographs, postcards and other ephemera and offers a fascinating insight into the social history of the town. As the Torrs Riverside Park and the Millenium Walkway become symbols of New Mills’ future, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the people of the past and their personal contributions to the life of the community.

 

 

 

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