Published by Halsgrove in 2011, 160 pages. Large A4 size Hardback with Dust Jacket (N8019)
Lying at the mouth of the River Parrett on Bridgwater Bay, Burnham-on-Sea has been dominated by the sea. A small village until the late 1700s, the town grew as a seaside resort in Victorian times and today Burnham is a thriving town of some 18,000 people.
Local author Robert Thomas recounts the many rich incidents of Burnham’s past, reaching right back to Arthurian legend. He tells of a major naval battle, smuggling, piracy, shipwreck and “murder most foul”. Whilst he relates the stories of the good, the bad and the downright evil, most of his fascinating text is about ordinary folk who sometimes did extra-ordinary things. People like the fisherman who built a pub and ran a toy warehouse and the parson who built a lighthouse and a spa complex. Then there was the farmer who narrowly escaped being drowned as an infant, who went on to devise means of greatly improving the productivity of his land and that of his neighbours, as well as founding one of the first friendly and mutual benefit societies.
We are reminded of the gardener who emigrated to American and established what has become a multi-million dollar business; the royal chef who had a retirement home in the town, and the local celebrity known for his ‘three mile voice’. Above all, Robert Thomas paints a picture (richly illustrated with over 300 images) of what it has been like to live in Burnham in the last century and a half: the schools, the clubs, the events, the societies, the churches, the shops – the warp and weft of everyday life in this fascinating community.