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Uppingham & the Villages Through Time
- By Trevor Hickman
Published by Amberley Publishing, Stroud - ISBN 97-1-4456-1760-2
96 pages, paperback, £14.99
Trevor Hickman’s enthusiasm for the history of Leicestershire and Rutland is well known
locally and so any new title from this author always attracts attention. This nicely-produced
volume from Amberley Publishing’s ‘Through Time’ series is in the same vein as many other
such books which contain reproductions of historic photographs, sometimes, as here,
combined with recent views (in this case, mostly from 2006), but one of the attractions of
this series is the use of full colour throughout, which enables us to appreciate the carefully-
applied tints often to be found on old postcards. Also, improved printing techniques here
generally bring a sharpness to the historic views which has sometimes been lacking in
books like these and better reflects the skills of the original photographers: but of these
unfortunately, as so often, we are told nothing even though in many cases their names are
recorded on the postcards.
The title of the book, even with its sub-title enumerating some of the villages concerned,
doesn’t really reflect its geographical range since in fact it extends all the way to Ryhall and
the Castertons – not villages that one would normally associate with Uppingham which
after all lies near the southern extremity of the county. This means that in the case of many
villages we are only treated to one or two photographs where perhaps we might have
expected more, and often the more recent views are those of public houses: in fact, a better
sub-title might have been ‘Rutland pubs I have known’!
The format of books like these means that the extent of information that can be contained in the captions is limited. This makes them
hard to write accurately and concisely, and precludes the possibility of giving references to sources unless there is a more extensive
general introduction; thus several line drawings from the Rutland volumes of Victoria County History remain unacknowledged.
Sometimes a single caption is used for two photographs, which doesn’t always work well since the heading may not sufficiently reflect
the content of each of them. However, the captions do contain much information about dates and individuals (incumbents, publicans,
stationmasters, shopkeepers), although where dates are attributed to individual views these may be on the basis more of the postmark
than the actual photograph. Occasionally, where the present tense is used, there can be traps for the unwary reader: on p30, for
instance, Normanton Hall was  the home of the Earl of Ancaster, and on p95 Uppingham School’s Boer War memorial hall had
then  been renamed the Concert Hall and Gymnasium – now it is the Uppingham Theatre.
reviewer’s face since he spent (mis-spent?) many terms in the study and dormitory block shown.
Despite such reservations, this volume is a useful addition to the Rutland bookshelves because it does contain some particularly
interesting photographs. Of these one might mention just two which merit further investigation. On p45, there is a view of the Glaston
Coffee Tavern in 1905, with a motorcar outside bearing a Rutland (FP) number plate – if this could be read on the original, its owner
could be traced in the vehicle registration archives in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland. On p41, there is an
intriguing view of Barrowden with a LNWR train on the viaduct over the Welland – surely not ‘a goods train ... travelling along’ the railway
since it is clearly posed with the driver, fireman and others facing the camera, and with another man standing on top of an unfinished
structure, perhaps a water tank, on the right; the viaduct all looks very new – what does this photograph commemorate? One would
rather like to know.
Note: A companion volume in the same format - Oakham & the Villages Through Time, also by Trevor Hickman (ISBN 97-81-4456-1687-2) -
was published by Amberley in August 2013