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Just as we went into lock-down all those weeks ago, Axminster Heritage Centre was preparing to launch a new history of the town, written by one of our volunteers, David Knapman. It’s called ‘Unsteady Progress A History of Axminster from 1701 to 2000‘, and it covers the period during which a wide range of written records were starting to be kept, many of which are now becoming accessible in ways that even 20 years ago would have seemed hard to imagine. The digital British Newspaper Archive provides particularly rich pickings. As a consequence, David has been able to tell 300 years of local history in ten 30-year chapters (and 480 pages), including many stories which never made it into earlier histories of the town. Throughout the book he puts what was happening in Axminster into a wider context, with the aim of explaining how and why Axminster is the way it is today, and he provides details on all of his sources, enabling anyone to follow up on stories and information which particularly interest them.

When the Heritage Centre re-opens copies will be on sale there at £16:50, but in the meantime David is happy to arrange deliveries to Axminster residents, or collections for anyone who visits Axminster from time to time. To arrange this, you can contact him on Email via Payment can be either in cash or as a cheque payable to Axminster Heritage. (Delivery by post is also possible, but it’s a very solid book).

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