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Colourful history of Hayes out after 12 years in the making
Passionate historians have written a fascinating book on Hayes and its most colourful characters from a prime minister to poachers and smugglers.
Hayes – A History of a Kentish Village took Jean Wilson and Trevor Woodman 12 years to compile.
The two-volume book includes 360 black and white illustrations, 48 colour photographs and 46 maps.
Jean Wilson said: “Every village, every street, even every house has a story to tell.
“Just think about your own family history - with Hayes you are writing about hundreds of families and what life was about for all of them.”
Jean, a retired head of history at Baston School, was writing about Hayes up to 1880 when her co-author Trevor Woodman, who was working on the remaining years, died in September 2007.
The 67-year-old had, however, completed writing to the end of World War II when Jean took over to bring the 744-page project up to the present day.
Between them, they forged a formidable writing duo.
Both had already been involved in running local history exhibitions as well as writing books on such diverse topics as Hayes in two world wars and the arrival of the railways.
The idea of a complete history of what still largely remains a village, along with local anecdotes and fading photos, proved irresistible.
Jean added: “We knew there were still gaps to fill, so we decided to set up a database involving as many houses in Hayes as possible based on those listed in 1841.”
With Trevor’s meticulous knowledge of the area and Jean’s love of the human side of history, the 400,000 word project was pruned to produce a “good read, and one to have on the book shelf at home”, according to Anne Manning, a ward councillor and former Bromley mayor in her website review.
Citing accounts by ordinary villagers, such as Richard Winch a late 18th century village rat catcher, Anne, from Hayes, wrote: “In fact, this book isn’t just about history – history was actually made in Hayes, as the reader will find.”
The book is available for £25.
Email email@example.com to order or visit hayeskenthistory.co.uk
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