Jonathan Steele talks about the book

Like a good friend, the best villages inspire loyalty, pride and affection.

These qualities shine in abundance through this collection of stories and memories of Metfield, a village of some 380 people on the north-western border of Suffolk, close to the River Waveney.

Christine Brennan, the author, was born and brought up in Metfield and has spent most of her life there. Hunting through archives and talking to local people absout their personal stories and memories, she has produced a loving account of how life has changed in the village over the past ninety years. There was a time when most of its people were involved in farming and skilled crafts from wheelwrights to harness-makers and the book contains a number of fascinating grainy old black-and-white photographs to prove it, all extremely well laid out in the text. There’s a wealth of previously unrecorded material on the biggest event to affect the village – the construction of a wartime airfield and the advent of almost 3,000 American pilots, flight-crews and service personnel.

Today Metfield may have lost its three pubs and the Post Office and all but one of its six shops, but it still retains a spirit of community that rapidly embraces the minority of ‘second-homers’ and retired folk from elsewhere who have chosen to settle in Metfield. This book will be a source of new insights not only to them but also to anyone interested in the changing face of rural England.

Jonathan Steele
former Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Guardian

Rachel Kellett, former resident of Metfield, talks about the book