This book gives an insight into how our Lancashire ancestors lived and interacted with the environment in which they existed, over the centuries. Apart from a general history of Darwen life, this volume covers not only the very first ancestral tree but follows the story of one particular family branch through to the twentieth century and into living memory. The story includes detailed information of many other families which whom the Harwoods have intermingled over the centuries, and it would be a rare Darwener, who could not find some connection to his own ancestors within these pages.
“Enthusiasm, in-depth research, and a unique authorial voice: this book is what genealogy should result in. It locates the Harwood family in a specific historical place and then watches them grow up and move out. Family journeys are explored from the paper mills of Kent to the goldfields of Ballarat and Maori massacres.
“The sheer numbers of documents illustrated show both their value as evidence and the breadth of Mike’s research. There are fruitful and informative diversions into work, leisure, and religion, with excursions into the history of education, nonconformity, and workhouses, among many other things. It’s a story of Lancashire, and a Lancashire in the world. And it’s hard to argue with its announcement of itself not as a history but as the history of the Lancashire Harwoods. They are both typical and unique, and in tracing the development of Lancashire from a rural to an industrial economy, Mike never loses focus on his ancestors’ place in it.”
—Neil Sayer, archive access manager, Lancashire Archives