The rating is from my dad as it was a present for him and he loved it. As soon as he saw the cover he said 'I remember that' so I knew I was onto a winner. However I was a bit disappointed, it is smaller than I expected and the writing is very small too, I was expecting a bit more history instead it was really captions for the photos but, as I said, my dad loved it and that's really all that matters.
Vandalism and debt: so what's new? I was fascinated by Chris Hare's magnificently presented book. Perhaps things are not so different now in spite of the rather staid image we are supposed to present to the rest of the world. I say 'we' because, having lived in Worthing for nine and a half years, I now feel this was the best move of my life, having initially thought I would not stay long and move elsewhere. How wrong I was! This book adds many interesting anecdotes and facts, and reinforces my feeling that there is much to like here: relaxed and friendly inhabitants and visitors, diamond-sharp sea-air and well-stocked shops, many in pedestrianized precincts, run by likeable and knowledgeable staff. The chapter I found the most interesting was the one about the blackshirts; apparently they were 'laughed' out of Worthing, a fact I found quite heartening, and a testament to the good sense of the town's inhabitants. I wonder whether the question of whether the crowd pictured on page 142 is waiting for a carnaval or a protest has been answered. Apparently we were not always as good-humoured as we appear today. The illustrations, especially of old buses and of the costumes worn, are first-rate, and add a great deal to the glossy feel of this production. A different, harsher, approach to law and order is revealed: on page 143 Edith Geere recalls that her mother was often asked for food by local tramps. Having given one old boy a ham bone, the tramp was arrested and went to prison for seven days. A book one can read and dip into for a long time afterwards.
Having just moved to Worthing I found this book very interesting, as it fills in the background of my new home town with some intriguing glimpses into the past.
Starting around 1803, when Worthing first became a town, the book outlines some of the people who lived in Worthing over the past 200 years, from the fearsome "Bonfire Boys" (the equivalent of today's 'hoodies'), to the smugglers and other dubious "coves", and the Typhoid epidemic that closed the town.
Various other people come and go - including Oscar Wilde who wrote "the Importance of Being Earnest" whilst living in the town (and included "Mr Worthing" as one of its characters).
I would also recommend Sally White's "Worting Past" which goes back to pre-historic Worthing and is a useful addition to Worthing's history.