by Patrick Loobey
Britain in Old Photographs series, published by Sutton Publishing, 1997, 126 pages, paperback, ISBN 0 75091151 4, £9.99
There has been a positive boom in commercially-published books of old photographs, with good quality reproductions and attractive design. They are more ambitious ventures than most local societies can afford to publish themselves, though they often depend upon knowledgeable local historians to select the pictures and write informative text. Here is another, with numerous postcard views from the author’s own collection, many never published like this before. The pictures are worth having if you are interested in the area’s history but the book itself is dull, perhaps because so many are standard images of streets, providing too little visual variety. The author repeatedly misses the chance to say something interesting about the content of the pictures, falling back on easy snippets from street directories, though he has advertised his copy prints for sale. He does not know where the boundaries of Brentford and Chiswick lie and Brentford readers will be extremely disappointed to find that only 16 of the 126 pages relate to the town which makes up half of the title. A missed opportunity.
Brentford and Chiswick Local History Journal 7 (1998)