New book compiles diaries of an ‘ordinary man’

This photo is taken from the book's cover page.
This photo is taken from the book's cover page.

A ‘fascinating’ collection of diary entries written by a Hartington villager during the mid-20th century have been compiled into a newly-published book.

The book - which contains the memoirs of John Robert Sherratt - is accompanied by more than 100 photographs of Hartington and its inhabitants.

In A Village Life: Hartington 1933-55, John’s brief diary entries are put into context by a timeline of national and international events.

It also features on other village personalities, buildings and institutions - creating a record of village life in the middle of the 20th century.

Author Richard Gregory, of the Hartington History Group, told how John - who was born in the village in 1900 and died there in 1977 - was a quiet, contemplative man and his diaries reflect this.

He said: “It contains occasional references to events elsewhere in the world, for example the day Great Britain declared war against Germany in 1939.

“But this momentous event merits no greater emphasis than those for the birth, death or marriage of local inhabitants.

“When his son Jeffrey was born in 1937 his diary records no more than ‘Son born 7.20pm. Good.’ The entry for VE day is alongside one recording the fact that John sowed his garden peas.

“Diaries like these are rare because few working-class people kept them and those that were written rarely survive.

“And such social histories of ‘ordinary’ people and communities is usually concentrated on urban rather than rural localities.”

The book is priced at £7.99. For more information, phone Richard Gregory on 01298 84368 or Roly Smith on 01629 812034.