TIM MACHIN of Long Sutton and District Civic Society, writes his monthly column.
Many of the stories that appear in this column are inspired by events, people or places depicted in the only published history of the Long Sutton area, ‘A History of Long Sutton’ by father and son authors Frank and Bruce Robinson. All the recent versions of the book have been published by the Civic Society and we hold the copyright.
The first edition was published in 1965 followed by three revisions, the last being published in 2008.
Every edition has sold out and with interest in our local history growing ever more popular, the books remain sought-after secondhand purchases from auction sites or second-hand bookshops.
The last (2008) version is even available as an electronic copy from Amazon.
The Robinsons lived in Long Sutton and Frank, the Town Registrar, developed a keen interest in local history, amassing documents and stories and, over the years, filling a sketch book of local sights, now largely lost to the modern street scene.
Young Bruce left school at 16 and joined the Spalding Guardian in 1951 as a junior reporter.
A lifelong football fan, he progressed into reporting on sport and in the late 1950s, moved to Norwich to join the Eastern Daily Press as sports reporter, columnist and later sub-editor.
He ‘retired’ in 1993 and spent the next 20 years writing and publishing some 20 books, both novels and non-fiction, including the Long Sutton histories.
In 2014, Bruce, who was then undergoing treatment for cancer, approached the Civic Society with a suggestion for a complete rewrite of the ‘History’. This last book he intended as an ‘abridged’ version of about 25,000 words (as opposed to the 100,000 in the earlier editions).
A canter through 10,000 years of local history, from post Ice Age, sparsely populated wetlands, right up to the sumptuous refurbishment of the town’s signs (themselves depicting nearly 1,000 years of local history) in 2017 by the local ‘Men’s Shed’ volunteers.
The shorter text enabled us to add many more illustrations than previous editions and the finished work includes more than 150 photos, maps and documents, hopefully quenching an ever-increasing public thirst for pictures from our past.
Bruce Robinson died just three months after finishing the book and but for a few minor proof readers’ corrections, we are very proud to publish the words he wrote.
• An Illustrated History of Long Sutton Lincolnshire by Bruce Robinson (164pp) is now available priced £12 from Long Sutton and District Civic Society. It is available locally in the town from The Market House, Gedneys Newsagent or Parkway stores, by contacting the Society direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01406 363515