Photo gallery: Harling history will be revealed in new book

PUBLISHED: 15:57 12 December 2012

Author David O'Neale from Bridgham who has written a book about Harling Memories. Photograph Simon Parker

Author David O'Neale from Bridgham who has written a book about Harling Memories. Photograph Simon Parker


Hundreds of black and white photographs coupled with personal accounts of the past will unlock the history of a south Norfolk village when they are published in a new book.

Harling Memories spans the years from a record lamb sale in Harling in 1899, when 19,430 sheep were sold, to the outbreak of the second world war.

Due to launch on December 15, the book has been compiled by local man David O’Neale. He drew on more than 400 photographs, colour images from pupils’ autograph books and school certificates from the first world war, to name just a few items from local people, as well as their memories.

Further accounts were taken from Harling School log books, records of East Harling and District Bowls Club, founded in 1907, a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings dating back to the 1890s and the 1912 diary of Evelyn Nugent of West Harling Hall, among others.

“This has been an amazing community event with the support of around 70 villagers,” Mr O’Neale said.

“In August, about 40 people came to the Old School Hall, where many of them went to school, to help identify people in pre-war photographs.

“As well as people from Harling and the surrounding villages, I have had contributions from across Norfolk, Essex and Leicester.

“The most remarkable link has been by email with 90-year old Gladys Davis in Tasmania, via her daughter, Suzanne.

“Gladys, whose father was Harling baker, George Leist, helped identify old school friends in photos.”

The book came to fruition largely thanks to accounts made by Harling resident Edna Nicholson, who died in 2005, and archive photos from the late Harold Lock who regularly held popular slide shows in the village.

“In the last year, I have met so many wonderful people who have provided around 200 more photographs than Harold had,” Mr O’Neale said.

“They have also helped identify people in photos, loaned me many documents of life in Harling before the war and related several amusing anecdotes which will be found within the pages.

“Two people had glass-plate negatives dating from around 1905 to 1935, which had to be developed using chemicals. Hardly anyone in Harling will have ever seen these photographs.

“I am indebted to around 70 people aged 58 to 99. The younger ones have spotted parents and grandparents in photos, but the more senior ones were there when history was being made and are witnesses of yesteryear.”

The book will be on sale from December 17 for £16 at Market Stores, and FL Edge and Sons in East Harling, Thetford Garden Centre and Jarrolds in Norwich.

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