STONE & DISTRICT U3A’S LITERARY CONNECTIONS

Anne Worrall

One of the central tenets of the U3A philosophy is

“Teach what you know, learn what you don’t”

and as a consequence, the leader or facilitator of one group is often a ‘pupil’ in another activity. With well over 1,000 on roll, Stone U3A is fortunate in having many talented members. Two such have recently come to prominence in the world of books.

Pamela Sambrook, who joined the organisation in 2007, has recently published a new book on a particular aspect of the history of Trentham Hall. Called simply ‘The Servants’ Story: Managing a Great Country House’, it explores what it was like to work for one of the grandest families in the kingdom in the 1830s, a time of great technological change as well as of great social unrest.

Pam, a retired professional historian, has searched through many hundreds of letters, now deposited in the Sutherland Papers in Stafford Record Office, to produce mini biographies of selected Trentham servants such as housekeepers, porters and clerks. This was a huge task, lasting over eight years and requiring the assistance of several friends, but she also acknowledges the help of the U3A.

As she says, ‘writing any sort of book can be very isolating and lonely – you simply have to spend many hours tied to the computer or buried in a record office. All through this time I managed to keep in touch with people through the U3A’s classes in philosophy and book reading. I would have been lost without the friends I made there and I owe the U3A a great debt.’

Pam’s latest volume is published in hardback by Amberley Press.

Anne Worrall joined Stone U3A in September 2015 because she was looking for a local French conversation class and has been attending Jenny Jewell’s “Further French” group since then. She finds it a lively, encouraging and friendly experience. Anne’s mother, Julia Steel was a probation officer in London during the Second World War.

In the 1950s, she wrote a complete semi-autobiographical novel (which was never published) based on her experiences. Anne was also a probation officer and later a criminologist at Keele University. She discovered the manuscript some years ago and, on retirement, set about editing it. She contacted York Publishing Services who were very encouraging and enabled her to publish Miss Hall’s Girls as an Ebook in November 2016.

Available from Amazon, it tells a touching story of hope, fear and resilience, offering a unique historical perspective on the lives of ordinary families in extraordinary circumstances.