Anyone who is interested in local history of the area near Southampton, north of the River Itchen including Bitterne and Woolston, would enjoy popping into the Bitterne Heritage Centre on Peartree Avenue. There are all sorts of artifacts donated by local people which they sometimes loan to schools in the area, but it is also a treasure chest of books and resources including old maps.
On three occasions I browsed though various books, giving myself a flavour of life in Woolston in the early part of the last century, under the guidance of Martyn Basford, who was more than willing to halt his task of classifying and cataloguing items, in order to discuss at length a query I had, or direct me to somewhere where I might find the answer. Areas of research included Supermarine, the history of Southampton and Woolston, the Floating Bridge, local businesses and shops, in fact anything which would add authenticity and colour to the lives of Harriet’s imaginary family who lived in Woolston between 1910 and 1920.
It was Martyn who suggested that I should ask for Colin van Geffen, ‘a local historian and expert in the Schneider Trophy’ when I was on my way to Solent Sky.
More recently I cannot thank him enough for planning the actual launch of my novel
Ancasta ~Guide me Swiftly Home
on 7th July
I sent Martyn an e mail saying that I felt it important to celebrate the event in or near Woolston itself and asked for suggestions. I didn’t hear from him for over a week, but didn’t worry because it was Jubilee weekend and everyone was busy, one way or another.
I was so surprised and grateful to receive his email later on saying that he’d planned the morning for me.
At each of the following venues I will give a short talk for ten to fifteen minutes and then have time to sign books for anyone who would like one:
10am Woolston Library
11am Bitterne Heritage Centre
12 noon Bitterne Library
What a wonderful morning Martyn has planned for me and I cannot thank him enough! If you are anywhere in the neighbourhood then pop by and say hello. They also have a bookshop and charity shop a few doors away from the Bitterne Centre which is worth a visit too, and you can find details on their web-site: