Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Unmitigated England

A lovely book that should be in the collection of everybody who loves the history and heritage of England is "Unmitigated England".

Subtitled "A Country Lost and Found", it is written by Peter Ashley.

As the dustcover says, he "draws on his unique collection of images to show both how this country once looked and how what is left is increasingly coming under threat. His photographs are supplemented by his watercolours and evocative items from his archives of ephemera and packages, even items from scrapbooks he has kept for over thirty years."

Candida Lycett Green, the daughter of that most English enthusiast John Betjeman, contributed the preface in which she tells us "my dad, John Betjeman, would have loved this book .... so many of his passions seem to be Peter Ashley's too; railway stations, churches, old-fashioned shops, the seaside".

There is a loving text to accompany a fantastic collection of images, most of which will lead to great clouds of nostalgia swirling around the reader.

Trawling through the book, there are images of, among many others, "Eagle"; Ovaltine: John Bull cycle repair outfit: Penguin Books: Dinky Toys: Ladybird Books: Mr. Therm: Senior Service: Donald McGill postcards: Fotheringhay Church: Hallaton Church: St. Peter-ad-Murum Church: "Tom Jones": Lavenham: Shell Guides: Old Trip to Jerusalem: Stamford Station: Leicester Station: Liverpool Street Station: Signposts: Whitby: Southwold: Kings Lynn .... and I've got just over halfway through!

Would John Betjeman have loved this book? Absolutely. So do I.