Lancaster History Tour by Jon Sparks

BOOK REVIEW: Lancaster History Tour

by David Hall

By Jon Sparks Amberley Publishing, Paperback, £6.99

Here is an attractively produced guided tour of Lancaster. Jon Sparks has managed to craft an unusual book with pictures from the past, current photographs of the same places and enough information to create a tour that doesn’t overburden the reader with too many facts.

It doesn’t only include the city’s prized features, such as the castle, but off-beat snippets like the Catholic Mission Church which became a variety theatre, opera house and cinema before being taken over as city council offices.

Eighty years ago it was the home of a doctor who killed his and wife and maid. He drove to Scotland to get rid of the bodies but on the return journey knocked down a cyclist who took his number – and, in an act of revenge, told the police and the doctor was eventually hanged.

From the old Custom House – now the Maritime Museum – to the Millennium Bridge which opened in 2001 it includes a map with a suggested route along which all the points noted in the book are identified.

A most unusual tour, but clear, concise and uncluttered. Jon Sparks has an eye to a good photograph, an inquiring mind which understands what most folk want to know, and the courage to avoid going over the top with too much information.