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History mystery uncovered by authors

MBTC-22-01-13- Biddenham History Book.

Diana Toyn, Katherine Fricker, Mary McKeown who have written a book on the history of Biddenham.

MBTC-22-01-13- Biddenham History Book. Diana Toyn, Katherine Fricker, Mary McKeown who have written a book on the history of Biddenham.

Three Biddenham ladies have uncovered a history mystery while penning a book about their village.

Katherine Fricker, Mary McKeown and Diana Toyn got together in 2009 to start writing an updated history of Biddenham.

The ladies thought that the project would only take a year, but soon uncovered many fascinating things about the village as well as an intriguing mystery.

While researching the book the trio were given documents from 1938 by a resident of the village. The documents formed a project completed by somebody called ML Simpson about Biddenham and contained photographs, anecdotes and information.

Katherine said: “We understand that ML Simpson is a lady because there are pictures of ladies on the front, but we’ve not been able to find out who it is. We know that the book came up at auction in Bournemouth and came back to Biddenham resident Wendy Muscle who allowed us to look at it.

“We’ve looked through lots of information and asked lots of people, but we can’t find any traces of who this lady is.”

She added: “She is very pretty and at the time she would have been in her early twenties, she’s a real puzzle.”

The book, entitled The Village Of Biddenham Through The Ages was the brainchild of Mary who enlisted the help of retired teachers Diana and Katherine for the project.

And from children’s snowball fights with evacuees during the Second World War, to learning that, if it had been built from stone, Biddenham could have had a more impressive henge than Stone Henge, the book is a mine of information about the village.

Each of the ladies had a different area of research on the project, and though they had never met before they are now firm friends and hope to set up a historical society in the village.

History graduate Mary said: “Having three people worked very well because if we had to vote we would always get an outcome. We all had a section and it didn’t clash. We didn’t write anything together except for the introduction, it took four years.”

She added: “It’s certainly enriched our lives, you just want to go on and on. When We first thought about it we didn’t think it would take very long, but then all of these things came to light.”

The Village Of Biddenham Through The Ages costs £24 including postage and packaging and is available by emailing marymckeown@fastmail.co.uk

Do you know the identity of ML Simpson? Email editorial@timesandcitizen.co.uk

 

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