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‘On Severn Shore’ The Story of the Drill Hall, Coleham, Shrewsbury, By Andrew Pattison

This book charts the history and development of the site of the Drill Hall in Coleham, detailing the fascinating history and individual stories that have centred around one plot on the banks of the River Severn for the past 230 years. We are introduced to the Carline family, the owners of a large woollen (later cotton) mill, and ‘The Lord High Everything Else’, as well as the men who constituted the first modern volunteer army, and fought with distinction in two world wars. The last chapter explains how the Hall is now used by Barnabas Community Church.

74pp, with many illustrations – £5 + £2 p+p


‘The Darwins of Shrewsbury’ By Andrew Pattison

Review by Nicholas Casley

This book details Charles Darwin’s family background and relations, its impact on the local environment and vice-versa, including Charles’s schooling. But the book is as much about his father Robert, Shrewsbury’s leading physician (and financial wizard), and about Charles’s brother and sisters. Although Charles left home in 1825, he maintained contact with his family, and the book covers this whilst following the lives of various family members through to 1866 when his last unmarried sister died and the family home was put up for auction: “After eighty years there were suddenly no more Darwins in Shrewsbury.”

The book is well-written and includes contemporary quotes and observations, many provided by Charles himself. The author manages to balance often disparate opinions about members of Charles’s family and about Charles himself. Pattison expresses the hope that by “carefully re-examining the original letters, Robert Darwin has been rescued from the oft-repeated image of an unreasonable obstacle in his son’s route to greatness.”

This is a fascinating insight into the life and times of Charles Darwin, and would benefit not only those interested in the great scientist, but also those with an interest in the life and times of Shrewsbury and Shropshire, for there is much social and economic detail here about the environs in which the Darwins lived and worked.

128pp, with 55 illustrations. (Published by History Press at RRP £14.99.) Available here for £10 + £2.50 p+p


‘William Hazledine, Pioneering Ironmaster’ By Andrew Pattison

The period between 1760 and 1840 witnessed revolutions in the political, social and industrial spheres. These included canal ‘mania’, the heyday of the stagecoach, and the development of fire-resistant buildings. All of these areas required the use of new materials, particularly cast iron. William Hazledine (1763-1840) was at the forefront of these exciting advances, supplying ironwork for at least five world ‘firsts’ – Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury, the aqueducts on the Ellesmere Canal, lock gates for the Caledonian Canal, a whole series of cast-iron arch bridges, and the Menai and Conwy suspension bridges. Much of this work was done in conjunction with Thomas Telford.

Andrew Pattison’s original research has rescued a hitherto little-known giant of industry from obscurity. This book is a summary of his researches.

Available here for £10 + £2.50 p+p