In Common Memory – A book by Sue Nickson

common-memIn this delightful book, Sue Nickson, who has lived in Peppard since 1987, tells the history of her beloved village from 1939-2014 in a new and very intimate way. She allows us to eavesdrop on the authentic voices of villagers; ‘folk who experienced it and who are still here to talk about it’. The two commons, Kingwood and Peppard, form a unifying backdrop and the voices interweave in and out.

We share the hard lives of post-war women bringing up their many children in the huts of the old Army Station hospital on Kingwood through the voices of these children, now. The theme of an idyllic childhood, ‘the freedom of their Common as their playground’ crops up again and again; ‘You have nothing, yet you have the whole world around you’. The Commons nurtured many idiosyncratic characters, who were valued, respected and cared for by other, more conventional residents; one even had a pond named after him – Patrick’s Pond.

The modern guardians of the common have modern problems; ‘People dump sofas…. kitchen units…… it’s very depressing!’ Volunteers keep the paths clear; ‘If you do nothing you end up with ancient woodland’, guided walks keep people fit, and today’s children of Peppard Primary school (founded 1871) come full circle, playing outside as their grandparents did. The Headmaster, Nick Steele comments; ‘It’s lovely to see children climbing trees, they have to develop their own sense of what’s safe and what isn’t.’

This book is clearly a labour of love, and the light it shines on ‘ordinary’ lives makes it relevant to us all, not only the residents of Peppard.

Merryl Roberts

N.B. The book is priced at £11.99 and all profits from sales go to our village charity Peppard Relief in Need (registered charity No. 241001).

I have just a few copies left. If you would like one contact me on 0118 9724520 or email sue@suenickson.com.