A 1937 viewpoint from the parish magazine
John & Hilary Roadley
It is now 80 years since Helen Greene produced her Harston book. Below is how Rev Percy Ward referred to her work.
‘Miss Helen C Greene has compiled a small book on Harston History, and I should mention it to you, for I think most houses in the village should contain a copy. The price is 1s 6d and copies can be had from me. Miss Greene is kindly giving the proceeds of sales to the Village Hall Roof Fund. Miss Greene is to be congratulated on getting a piece of work like this accomplished. It is quite a task to collect together material for local history, and I think the pages devoted to the stories of our more immediate past are the best pages of the book, of some amusement as well as interest…. A good deal of mediaeval material came from a (disorderly) notebook of mine that I lent her and I think the result is that the early part can be improved in a second edition! But there is information yet to be gleaned. It requires time and access to special libraries to find out the more remote history of a village. It is the delight of leisured folk to be able to do it, and not many of us seem to possess the necessary leisure in this over-busy village of ours for such a task.’
We can only admire what she achieved without today’s electronic access to information. He also mentions the delight of village folk to do it – we only wish that more village folk were prepared to do it nowadays! In the next paragraph of his letter, he writes:
‘And the village history reminds me that it is the desire of most of us to preserve the rural beauty of the place we live in. Without wishing the remark to be taken in any personal sense whatever, I hope I am not doing wrong in saying how sorry many of us are in both villages to see the appearance of advertisement hoardings by our roadside. One in Hauxton is outrageous, but so is the whole length of road now where it appears. One in Harston is not inartistic in its colouring but just to be regretted as breaking the otherwise unspoilt view, and the latest addition is a very definite eye-sore. I think outside advertisements call for some form of public supervision. There is no doubt of the commercial value of advertising, but it is at best a necessity which is vulgar. I would do without the advertisement pages in this magazine if I could, but then there would be no magazine! I suppose our business men would plead a similar excuse for the sprinkling about the countryside of their arresting but annoying sign boards.’
What would he think of today’s village businesses and their sign boards with the prospect of more to come!