Review of ‘Under Grin Low : A Burbage History’, by David G. Owen

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by David G. Owen
ISBN unknown (2007)

Author David G. Owen, who last year (2006) published a history of Fairfield, has now turned his attention to Burbage, where he has spent much of his married life, where his wife was born and where both families have deep local connections. David modestly describes this work as 'another foundation from which historians of the future can hopefully build upon and develop'.

And all the building blocks are here, beginning with prehistoric settlement and continuing through the years when Burbage variously boasted a corn mill, church, school, public house, village institute and the Burbage Permanent Building Society. One contributor looks back half a century to recall some 16 shops, one of them a confectionery owned by a French chef. The former vicarage is now three dwellings, stretches of open fields 'have gone forever' and David voices present-day concerns as to whether the special identity of Burbage will survive 21st-century expansion and change. So strong has been this identity that in the First World members of Burbage Band signed up together rather than get split up, and marched off together to the Somme.

Many people are brought back to life - one centenarian recalls his childhood at Ladmanlow, where in just three neighbouring houses there were 21 children plus adults but no mod cons whatsoever. Strange field names have also been set down for posterity, along with such places as Dolly Peg Row, Nickety Nell's lime house, the Cottage of Content, the 'spitfire shop' and a grand residence built for a former Bishop of Madras.

Fading memories have been gathered in from a time when house building had yet to get under way and trees 'seemed to arch the road'. David himself recalls playing football on the road, using small roadside trees as the proverbial goalposts; in later years he played for the local team in a legendary match that resulted in a 36-0 loss. Enough said!

Profits from Under Grin Low will be shared by Burbage Band, Burbage School and Christ Church, Burbage.

Review by Julie Bunting

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