The London commuter town of Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, is made up of two distinct areas: Old Amersham, set in the valley of the River Misbourne, which contains the thirteenth-century parish church of St Mary's and several old pubs and coaching inns; and Amersham-on-the-Hill, which grew rapidly around the railway station in the early part of the twentieth century. Old Amersham grew around trade in agricultural produce, mainly grain, much of which was sold to London merchants. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a key industry in the town was brewing. In addition, tanning, lace manufacture and brick-making all had a prominent place in the manufacturing past of the town. During the Second World War, the Radiochemical Centre, a scientific research establishment, arrived in the town. This became Amersham International, then Amersham plc, and now, after a number of changes of ownership and name, is part of GE Healthcare.
In a fascinating series of photographs and illustrations, Amersham at Work explores the life of this Chilterns town and its people, from its pre-Industrial beginnings, through two world wars and into the twenty-first century.
William Parker was brought up in Guernsey. His father, Major John Parker MBE, is mentioned in Ruth's diaries when John, a cousin of Ruth, was captured on a mission to Guernsey in September 1940. This family connection led to William's involvement in reading, cataloguing and editing Ruth's diaries when they came to light in 2009. He lives in Buckinghamshire, where he pursues his interests in history, sailing and gliding.