Coronation Village, the book written by Trevor Frecknall about the surprisingly fascinating folk who populated North Muskham in the 1950s, will be launched at the Riverside Festival on 20 June 2009.

 

Consisting of more than 80,000 words and illustrated by photographs kindly donated by villagers who fondly remember the golden decade when the community had almost as many shops as television sets, the book is being published by History Into Print, a Warwickshire-based company that has a national reputation for helping to bring local history to life.

 

Trevor, who was born in Bathley and has lived in North Muskham for most of the last 50 years, began to research his childhood heroes in 2001 while he was convalescing from a couple of heart attacks. His theory was that trawling through old documents in the various libraries and talking to the village’s ‘old-stagers’ would help him get back into shape for his job as a journalist.

Author Trevor Frecknall in 1953, when he was a pupil at South Muskham Church of England Primary School.

Many fellow villagers were also happy to share their recollections of the era when North Muskham possessed:

 

  • A transport cafe that doubled as a dance hall in the evenings

  • An old Chapel, bought for a bargain price by the Church of England, that served as the Village Hall

  • A family building firm that gloried in the nickname ‘Midnight Cowboys’

  • A locally-based bus company that ran excursions to the seaside and many other destinations

  • Village cricket and football clubs plus three public houses that all fielded their own darts, dominoes and skittles teams.

Square dancing - part of the 1953 Coronation celebrations in the grounds of the crumbling fairy castle known as The Grange.

The result of the years of research is that every house in North Muskham in the 1950s has yielded a story for Coronation Village. Among them:

 

  • A dedicated mother refused to go into hospital when she contracted tuberculosis but lived in the garden of her home in Crab Lane so that she could see her son grow up ...
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  • A former debutante froze to death in abject poverty in her home in Nelson Lane ...
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  • A compassionate nurse emerged out of Africa to run the village’s mother-and-baby clinic ...
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  • A schoolboy received one stroke of the cane for every year he spent at the village school...
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  • The Grange – the ancient house that looked like a fairy castle – became a nightmare for its tomato-growing owner...
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  • A widow's son from Chapel Yard lied about his age to go to War...
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  • A ‘little princess’ whose death at the Lord Nelson Public House broke the village's heart...
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  • A library of D. H. Lawrence originals in the wooden bungalow of a smallholding off Vicarage Lane.

All these stories – and many more – are in Coronation Village – North Muskham in the 1950s’, priced £10.95 and on sale at the Riverside Festival and thereafter from the Frecknalls’ bungalow at, 9 Main Street, North Muskham, Newark, Notts NG23 6EZ between 10am and noon daily.

 

For more details, please phone Trevor or Gill on 01636 702200.