Hidden Sussex - the Towns
by Warden Swinfen and David Arscott
Published by BBC Radio Solent
SUSSEX BOOK REVIEW
Hidden Sussex - the Towns is a companion to the authors' Hidden Sussex villages book and takes the form of a short tour round each of the main towns in Sussex.
The book is an eclectic affair - some towns are introduced with a rounded potted history, others less so.
Clearly there are more hidden points of interest in an ancient town like Arundel or Shoreham than there are in a more modern settlement like Burgess Hill. Giving equal space to each town gives this slim book a sightly uneven feel.
As a result sometimes Hidden Sussex seems to be an excuse to hang one item of Sussex trivia next to another. Is it that interesting, for example, to know that Elizabeth Ford of Burgess Hill owned a mare and a sow? Probably not. Maybe in two hundred years time someone will consider it interesting to note that you owned a Ford Focus and a Nintendo DS, but I doubt it.
In truth, many of the points of interest in the book aren't really that interesting - the graves of people who no-one can remember anymore, the sometime houses of "famous people" who are no longer famous or minor decorative details of some of the older buildings in Sussex.
Sussex Travel BooksMore books about interesting places in West Sussex.
However, I enjoyed Hidden Sussex - the Towns. The presentation is breezy and enjoyable.
There are plenty of surprising places of interest picked out by the authors - tenuous connections between us and people and times long since departed. These are well worth remarking on.
Even if you know the towns of Sussex well, there will be something here you won't already know I'm sure.
Hidden Sussex - the Towns isn't a guide book as such. You could use the book and its helpful maps to construct a tour of each town perhaps.
Alternatively you might enjoy dipping into Hidden Sussex now and again to pick out one or two items of local history trivia to ponder.
Book reviewed by Mark Hoult, West Sussex.info
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