oyster book

L to R Tony Stimson, Sheila Privett, Sarah Chatfield, Alison Beckett Sylvia Courtnage, Richard Austin, Valerie Davies & Margaret Rogers

Around 40 people attended the very successful book launch held at Emsworth Museum on 27 May 2016, to promote the new edition of “Uncovering the Past… Emsworth, Oysters and Men” by the late Linda Newell. Special guests were Dr Valerie Davis, to whose late husband, John Davis, the original book was dedicated; Sheila Privett, Linda’s sister and Marjorie Smallcorn, former Mayor of Havant. Other guests included Richard Austin and Judi Darley from Chichester Harbour Conservancy which had provided funding to make the printing possible; local artist Marian Forster; Ali Beckett who had project managed the recent Heritage Lottery Fund Emsworth’s Oysters project and Museum mentor Tracy Teasdale.

They were joined by local historian and trustee Cathy Rudkin; curator Phil Magrath; committee members and other helpers, together with members of the local press. Tony Stimson, Chairman, welcomed guests and specially thanked those who had contributed to the Oyster Project and re-publication of the book. He paid tribute to Linda Newell’s infectious enthusiasm and said that her book had inspired the Oyster Project, which had led to much closer working with the Harbour Conservancy. He hoped that would continue. The reception also marked a finale to the Oyster Project – and, as a final part of this, copies of the book had been distributed to each of 19 Chichester Harbour primary schools. Richard Austin (CHC) spoke warmly of John Davis and his enthusiasm for the harbour and its history which had been instrumental in the restoration of the Oyster boat, Terror. The book’s new edition includes a foreword by Margaret Rogers, recalling Linda’s life and contribution to local history research about Emsworth. There is also an expanded appreciation of the life of John Davis and the addition of an index.

The book is on sale at the Museum and at Bookends in Emsworth High Street, price £8.

Report: Sylvia Courtnage

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