About Time Front Cover


ISBN 1 902702 11 5



RRP 14.75


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If I were a Blackbird...

Recollections of Old Stevenage

1940 – 55

David Wallis


If I were a Blackbird ... affords a unique glimpse of life in the rural Hertfordshire of fifty years ago. The author, who grew up in Stevenage, affectionately describes a part of England judged by EM Forster to be 'the loveliest in England'. This snapshot of a bygone Britain takes the reader from corn stooks serving as comfy nests for country lovers to horse-drawn machinery in the fields behind the author's house.


The football club theme song provides the title for the book with its evocative anthem 'If I were a blackbird I'd whistle and sing', and notable Amateur Cup battles are re-told in the words of contemporary sports reporters.


The modern world intrudes only with the plans to turn Stevenage into a New Town; plans which met vigorous protest from local people and led to 'The Battle for Fairview Road'.


Vibrant potted histories of Stevenage Methodist Church, Alleyne's Grammar School, and shopping in the High Street contribute to this portrait of a community poised on the brink of change. The book is richly illustrated with more than 60 photographs, and 17 striking pen and ink drawings by the author.