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Monday, 20 June 2011

A Trinity Of Craftsmen

Bit of a book review here...

Last Thursday, at wood turning, my tutor Chris lent me a book entitled "A Trinity Of Craftsmen" by Freda Derrick. The dust jacket was in tatters but it looked just my sort of book.


I enjoyed reading it and for a book written in 1950 it reads really easily and quite informal for the era. The book is basically conversations and observations that Freda has had on her travels around the Cotswold's talking about the three main trades as she sees it; the mason, the Carpenter and the smith (her holy trinity). The people she meets in the book are all passionate about their trades and all long to see a future in them but worry about the lack of "Young willing lads" to pass their knowledge onto and the need for certain jobs. It concentrates on these trades in villages and rural areas and in conjunction with farming in particular (farming seeming much more important after the war than it does now).


Its weird reading it from a perspective where the writer thinks that a carpenter and blacksmith will be essential for the future of farming and in turn the country as a whole so that we can support ourselves. Comments about welding only really being for light repairs and wooden hurdles being essential for sheep farming (metal one being no good) being quite nice to read (if only I could have lived then!).


The book is split into three sections each dealing with a trade and describing some of their tools and some of their jobs (there are drawings as well). The book also talks about the new (at the time) government training centres for people coming out of the army (even a 9 month course on hurdle making). The section on the carpenter is a little light in content but still makes an interesting read, the section on the mason and smith seem to read much better with a bit more detail.


In all I really enjoyed this book and although its hardly "The Village Carpenter" (Which I think I've read about 6 times now) its a great look back at the past and good to see that even then people were worried about the disappearance of our rural crafts and the altering of village life in general. Also a nice song about a carpenter in there!

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