I’m reading “The Village Carpenter” by Walter Rose. I bought this on the recommendation of a blog I was reading (which I don’t seem to be able to find just now but it has certainly been on Sean Hellman’s and Peter Folansbee’s). This was written in the 1930s by Mr Rose who was born in 1871, so his grandfather’s business went back to very traditional times.
I’ve just read the chapter on making and repairing wooden pumps cut from green elm on the farm where they are to be used. Excellent!
There is some nostalgia to this book, but it is tempered with facts like it was getting difficult to hire sawyers for pit sawing shortly before it became defunct. The book is therefore nicely balanced between the old fashioned ways and the changes taking place way back then. Here’s a sample about tin roofing (it should get bigger if you click on the scanned image):
You can still buy the book, it is a real classic and immensely enjoyable. The modern print is paperback, I managed to get a secondhand hardback copy (with a 1947 inscription inside).
Last night Jane and I attended a talk by Ian Dewhirst
This was about Keighley between the World Wars. Ian is an old time raconteur who used to work in the reference library in Keighley, well I say worked there – he was more of an institution and dedicated to recording local history.
There were many gems in his talk, but the one I’d like to share is about a lady who brought a spoon to the library for the archives. Ian had an open invitation for people to bring him historical material. It turned out the wooden spoon was her father’s issued to him when he was posted to Russia after the First World War fighting with the White Army, because metal spoons would have been impractical. The punch line of the story was that she had also had all his letters home from Russia – but they had burnt them all! SHe didn’t think they were important because he was only a lance corporal.