I know bookshops are inundated with new books this time of year, but we only have a three this month. But scroll down to see news about the East Anglian Book Awards and recent press activity. I will also be putting out a post shortly with a roundup of our books for the Christmas market so watch out for that.
Saving Einstein: When Norfolk Hid a Genius
What a strange tale this is: who knew that Albert Einstein visited Norfolk? We all know that time slows down in Norfolk, so perhaps this is where some of his theories were formulated!
In September 1933, Albert Einstein, threatened by Nazi assassins, suddenly turned up in Cromer in north Norfolk, the guest of Commander Oliver Stillingfleet Locker-Lampson MP, a larger-than-life character straight out of a Boy’s Own adventure yarn. Saving Einstein tells the story of the events, politics and personalities behind the month he spent living in a hut at a secret camp on Roughton Heath. It was here where Jacob Epstein sculpted his bust and the Commander plotted to use Einstein’s rescue to awaken the nation to the dangers posed by Hitler and the rise of fascism. The irony is that he had himself only recently led his own fascist movement, the Blue Shirts, and had been seen as a possible British Führer by the Nazis.
This bizarre interlude in Einstein’s life, chronicled in full for the first time, would prove to be the last he would ever spend in Europe. For Commander Locker-Lampson, the encounter would turn him away from the dark allure of totalitarianism. He would join the fight against home-grown fascists like Oswald Mosley and support his friend, Winston Churchill, in opposing the appeasement of Europe’s dictators. He would help many ordinary Jews escape the Holocaust, which led him to being described by the son of one man he rescued as ‘Truly a Righteous Gentile’.
Saving Einstein: When Norfolk Hid a Genius by Stuart McLaren
Paperback 228 pages; Poppyland
ISBN 9781909796898; RRP £14.95
Wingfield: Suffolk’s Forgotten Castle
This is another excellent book from Elaine Murphy, the author of Monks Hall: The History of a Waveney Valley Manor and the 21st century commentary in Suffolk Scene: A Book of Description and Adventure. As with Monks Hall, this is not just a chronicle of a building, but an exploration of the social history of the families and workers that lived there.
Wingfield belongs to a clutch of late fourteenth century castles that must be seen in the context of a society in turmoil. Foreign wars, power struggles at the heart of government, popular revolt and the longer term effect of epidemic disease provide the backdrop for the creation of this mansion built with the appearance and defences of earlier castles but which was also home to powerful families who played nationally important roles in the story of England. The Wingfields, de la Poles, Brandons and Jerninghams made history and their stories shaped the nation.
Wingfield was well known throughout the late medieval and Tudor periods but later declined to become a residence at the heart of a farming estate. But these later centuries are just as important to understanding the story of the building and crucial to understanding the surviving remains. This book is as much about the story of Suffolk and its changing society as it is about the castle itself. The author’s meticulous research gives equal weight to these later centuries, creating for the first time a comprehensive history to shed light on this forgotten Suffolk castle.
Wingfield: Suffolk’s Forgotten Castle by Elaine Murphy
Paperback 396 pages; Poppyland
ISBN 9781909796881; RRP £19.95
Lost King’s Lynn
This is a new collection of photographs from Amberley Publishing with commentary by Paul Richards on how Lynn (as in local parlance) has changed over the last 150 years, with the focus on what has been lost. Rivers, trade, buildings and people all feature in the story to be told. Five chapters are linked to specific neighbourhoods or streets within the town and the sixth looks at Lynn itself since the 1960s. Lynn’s historic identity and townscape were transformed in a relatively short time span for a town over 900 years old.
Lynn retains an exceptional historic built environment to connect us with what was for centuries a premier English seaport and market town, but its identity has been reshaped over the last 150 years. This book illustrates the remarkable story of what the town has lost for better or worse.
Lost King’s Lynn by Paul Richards
Paperback 160 pages; Amberley Publishing
ISBN 9781445693705; RRP 15.99
East Anglian Book Awards Shortlist
Several of our titles are in the shortlist. Two Poppyland titles are listed for the History and Tradition prize (How Norwich Fought the Plague and Harriet Kettle), and Marion Addy’s lovely illustrated book of walks, Highways and Byways, is listed for the General Non-Fiction prize. The category winners will be announced in the Eastern Daily Press on Saturday 30 October, followed by the Book by the Cover Award, Exceptional Contribution Award, and the Book of the Year Award on Friday 26 November.
In the News
Monday’s Norwich Evening News carried a super feature of another Poppyland book, Manifestations of Madness. You can find the review online at https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/lifestyle/heritage/where-was-the-mental-asylum-norwich-8408818