Revue of Aspects of Saltash from the Observer
Glimpses into the rich past of our ancient former borough in pictures and in writing are afforded by the newly published "Aspects of Saltash". Writer Bruce Hunt previously published the definitive work on the training ship "Mount Edgcumbe", for so many years a feature of the Saltash shoreline. Now he has turned his attention to a wide number of aspects of our past with the aid of the pictorial and written archives of Saltash Heritage whose funds benefit from each book sold.
The town grew as an important passage point across the Tamar and the history of the ferries from the earliest recorded, with reference to the Black Prince, to the funereal celebrations of the last crossing before the opening of the TamarBridge, features large. It is a tale enlivened by incidents such as sundry sinking’s, drowning, the none too successful early steam ferries and the crewmen who lingered too long in the Waterside bars.
The coming of the railway was perhaps the greatest single significant occurrence in the town's long history. As well as a vivid account of the building and grand opening of the RoyalAlbertBridge, there are detailed resumes of its subsequent strengthening and of the wooden viaducts that featured in rural Saltash.
Especially fascinating are the many pictures of the old Waterside and many of its characters. The book also explodes the myth of one supposed Saltash character, Mary Newman. But there are many others who were fondly remembered and their tales intertwine with the stories of fishing, ferrying, and boat building. Especially intriguing is the tale of the nautical adventures aboard the Saltash built "Tamar" in hitherto unexplored southern seas.
Each and every one of the premises now lining Fore Street features in an account of the street and the businesses that have served the townsfolk from 1873 to the present day. Many of the traders were familiar to many long gone generations of Essanians such as the butchers Jane and Cory and baker Widdecombe, others more recent such as greengrocer Freeman, butcher Davey and chemist
Underhill are already becoming a part of the town's history.
The rural communities also feature in particular around Forder and Antony Passage with their long gone tramway and ferry being recalled.
The book concludes with the reminiscences, recorded in the 1950's of a resident born at Wearde Quay in 1880 and with his vivid memories of the lively river traffic, the peaceful rural community and the self sufficient borough at its heart. Among his many memories are the long gone rowdy scenes in Fore Street caused by those who had come across from the "three towns" to over-indulge in its various bars – perhaps the "good old days" were not so much better than today as some might recall.
Lavishly illustrated and filled with detail on a wide variety of subjects of local historic interest, "Aspects of Saltash" is published in time for the Christmas market.
Available in Saltash Bookshelf it is the perfect seasonal present for anyone with even just a passing interest in the town – such an interest is almost bound to be kindled by the fascinating facts and pictures acquired by Bruce Hunt and put together in this attractive publication.