Generations of my family have lived in Stretham since the time of the Civil War, and in the churchyard are the graves of my great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and great-great-great grandparents. Although I was not related to Beatrice Stevens, she knew my family well and actually wrote a letter to me on the day that I was born (which I treasure - as not many people have such a letter) - which welcomed me into the world.
Her book about Stretham really is a feast of memories for me, as many of my family are mentioned (particularly the Sennitts and the Beasleys, on my mother's side) and there are just so many names that I remember - from Mrs Pikett in the sweet shop to 'Pudden' who cut people's hair, there's Charlie Watson in Swan's general stores, and 'Doll' Garner in the butchers...etc etc. including people that I had not thought about in years - but even if these names mean absolutely nothing to you, and only a few who know Stretham will remember them now, this book brings them all to life. It is beautifully written, and is a piece of social history about a slice of England that has now sadly gone. Without Beat's record, all of this would have been lost, so we have much to thank her for. If anyone wants to know about life in an English village in the early twentieth century, then I can really recommend this book. And although Stretham has increased in size enormously since my childhood, parts of it are unchanged and if you ever visit you will find many places mentioned in this book are still recognisable