Book Review Rutland Local History & Record Society Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273
Barrowden Past and Present. Village Life in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II Limited edition Privately published Available at Barrowden Community Shop This book started as a project undertaken by a committee of enthusiastic villagers in Barrowden to record the life and times of the village during the 60 years of the present Queen's reign. Over a period of two years the committee collected photographs and reminiscences and organised them into this publication. The results of their endeavours are twofold, firstly it brought the village together, both old and new residents, to reminisce, recollect and record their memories and impressions of life in a Rutland village during the last half of the 20th century. Secondly, the success of this community endeavour can be witnessed in this book. The book records all aspects of village life both past and current over the last 60 years. It is subdivided into a number of chapters with such prosaic titles as 'Development' and 'Amenities'. However within these chapters and others recording 'Clubs Societies and Institutions', 'Events and Celebrations', 'Industry and Farming', 'Countryside' and 'Community' is a wealth of history recorded in written contributions by the villagers. It is as comprehensive as one could expect in a book of this length covering both the controversy over new building on one hand and the installation of the village defibrillator on the other. It is as complete a work of village history as one could hope for in an affordable publication. One of its main strengths is that of the wonderful collection of photographs of people and places, past and present, most reproduced in full colour. Over 500 photographs were collected and many new photographs taken. 57 interviews and articles were submitted and incorporated into the finished book. The resulting publication is a handsome hardback, full of colour, both pictorial and metaphorical, and teeming with personalities and stories which illustrate how Barrowden has not only survived into the 21st-century but changed, developed and thrived. Today Barrowden is one of Rutland's most vibrant communities. As Toby Carr, who grew up in the village in the 1980s puts it, ‘Growing up in Barrowden gave me the chance to experience the true meaning of community'. It is difficult to find fault in this entirely commendable publication. My only misgiving would be that a lot of the wonderful illustrations are reproduced too small on the page to be fully appreciated. However given the limitations of publication, I can understand why this may be so. The Barrowden Book Committee, the book sponsors and all the contributors, indeed the whole community of Barrowden should be proud of their achievement. I can hardly praise this book too highly and would commend anybody with an interest in the village to beg steal or borrow a copy to see how a contemporary village history could be written and produced. HJC