From Evelyn Waugh to the Boer War featured in society's journal
Evelyn Waugh had no shortage of larger-than-life characters in his classic novels, including
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But if he ever ran short he had only to look to his own grandfather, Midsomer Norton GP Dr Alexander Waugh, for inspiration – and Dr Waugh, a highly respected citizen, had a very dark side.
Dr Waugh, a rotund, bucolic figure who loved to be photographed in tweedy hunting-shooting-and fishing mode, arrived in the town in 1865 to set up practice in The Island.
His story, and that of other Waugh relations in Midsomer Norton, is told by Monica Evans in the latest edition of Radstock, Midsomer Norton and District Museum Society's journal
Dr Waugh was a distinguished surgeon and district medical officer, a pillar of society who presided over the local cricket club, Conservative Association and choral society.
But to many family members he was known as 'The Brute'. His grandson and Evelyn Waugh himself documented how he flogged his sons and, drunk on beakers of whisky, lashed out at children, servants and ornaments.
When a wasp settled on his wife's forehead, he hit it with the top of his cane, crushing it against her head.
Evelyn himself often spent summer holidays with his aunts in Midsomer Norton, and many stories survive of the Waugh family in the town, to be serialised in the latest and a future edition of
The new edition also has a history of local saddlers and harness-makers Emm and Son, from Paulton.
Their ledgers and account books, containing a wealth of information about local firms and clubs which dealt with Emm and Son, are now lodged in the museum archives.
The story of John Padfield, a Holcombe lad who was transported to Australia for theft in 1843, is told as well and
also contains a ramble, via 18th century maps and surveys, through Radstock.
This has details of the surviving 15th century parts of St Nicholas' Church, including a lead sheet inscribed with footprints of church folk and bellringers, and the oldest intact farmhouse in Radstock, Georgian Manor Farm.
Derek Hunt tells the story of William Bees, a Midsomer Norton-born Victoria Cross hero who fought bravely in the Boer War, and the new edition also contains tales from 1940's Clandown, continuing research on the local workings of the Poor Law, and the final part of a series on miners' safety lamps.
Five Arches, price £3, is available from the Somerset Guardian office in Midsomer Norton High Street, from the museum's book shop and from Reflections, Midsomer Norton.
If you have any old pictures you would like to see in Looking Back send them to: Looking Back, 78b High Street, Midsomer Norton BA3 2DE