The King's England: Derbyshire

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The King's England: Derbyshire'There have been many books on Derbyshire, but never one like this.' Thus began the publisher's advertisement for the original edition of this book, first published in 1937 Today, some fifty years later, that boast still holds true. Arthur Mee's guide was described as 'The Indispensable Companion of the Motor Age' and celebrates Derbyshire as 'one of the delightful counties, not overpowering with history, but filled with Nature's lovely places.' However, many things have changed in Derbyshire since Arthur Mee's day, with some places and scenes described having vanished from the Derbyshire landscape, under motorways or reservoirs and, apart from being the perfect travelling companion, this guide now gives the modern reader the added perspective of seeing a 'snapshot' of Derbyshire as it was fifty years ago, illustrated with over 130 period photographs.

Yet the pictures are only part of the book's general appeal. The author never fails to find some local anecdote and present a familiar scene in a new way, skilfully interspersed with descriptions of Derbyshire's buildings and the stories of Derbyshire folk, such as John Heiron, who survived in the course of his life being tossed by a cow, falling out of window, and being carried down the flooded Trent in a boat, or Judge Denman of Stoney Middleton, who kept black pigs and sent them round in his carriage as presents to his friends.

Derbyshire's natural features, from the grandeur of Mam Tor to the valleys of the Dove, Derwent and Wye are fully explored, as is the splendid tapestry of local history, interwoven with that of the Nation by the appearance of famous Derbyshire figures, including the novelist, Samuel Richardson; John Flamsteed, first Astronomer Royal; Florence Nightingale; George Stephenson; and Izaak Walton, who talked of rod and line with Charles Cotton of Beresford Dale.

Essential reading for all those who know and love the county, the facsimile edition of Arthur Mee's Derbyshire will appeal both to those who know and love his remarkable work, and those who have newly come to see Derbyshire through his eyes.