|The River Hamble- A History
By David Chun is a detailed account of the river and its valley, from prehistoric times to the present day. For most of us, who only glimpse its beauty fleetingly, as we drive along the M27 between junction 8 and 9, this book is a 'must read'. The book is packed with extraordinary information, written by a man with a intimate knowledge and passion for his subject.
The Hamble River is 12 miles long, and is prized for its natural beauty.
Its source is just north of Bishops Waltham, and it meanders into Southampton Water. Chun knows his stuff, and has read well among primary and secondary sources delving deeply into this 'clay and coppice landscape of wood, water, farmland and heath'.
At a time when roads were poor the Hamble River was essential for transportation of flour; timber and coppice wood from the forests. He writes with authority on traditional local industries including hoop making; flour milling; iron production; and ship building. He does this by a mastery of contemporary evidence about life on, and around the river.
One of Nelson's flagships, HMS Elephant, was built on the Hamble in the 1800s. The wreck of the Grace Dieu, the biggest medieval ship, lay imbedded in the river mud. The book contains almost 100 illustrations, some of them rarely seen. My favourite is a nineteenth engraving of Botley House, home of local scoundrel Robert Stares, and later occupied by that famous farmer and journalist William Cobbett. Chun weaves these characters into the local landscape in a masterly way. Chun also spotlights the remarkable Hugh Jenkyns, a local landowner, who in the early 20th century was a prime mover in protecting the beauty of the upper river.
This is a well written and thoughtful account of the Hamble River, which has inspired me to dust off my Ordnance Survey map, and get walking.
The River Hamble- A History
Format : 248 x 172mm
Binding : Hardback
Pages : 128
Illustrations : 96 black and white illustrations
Published : 2009
ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-538-3
Online Price: £15.29
To purchase this book contact Phillimore Press