Farming has always been synonymous with this part of England. The Benedictine abbey owned and controlled the town for over 500 years and the employment of the townspeople was centred around provisioning this huge religious house. As time went by, Bury went on to thrive as a wool town until the eighteenth century saw a downturn in the wool trade with resulting unemployment. The mid-nineteenth century saw a slow move towards industrialisation in the town though trades had always flourished. New industries arrived, such as the Greene King brewery, Bobys Engineering, the Cornish and Lloyd Foundry and then, of course, the sugar beet factory.
Bury St Edmunds at Work explores the life of this Suffolk town and its people, from pre-industrial beginnings through to the present day. In a fascinating series of contemporary photographs and illustrations it looks at the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on the town, the consequences of rapid urbanisation, the changes in the industrial landscape during the Victorian era, the impact of war, and the post-war population explosion with the arrival of the London overspill in the 1960s, which also brought new jobs and new hopes. This book shows how the town has evolved to become not only an important tourist destination but a very desirable place to live and work.
Martyn was born and bred in Bury St Edmunds. He was a committee member responsible for heritage and history for the Bury Society. On behalf of the Bury Society he was the co-ordinator of a blue plaque scheme for the town which was completed in 2012. This involved a lot of research including producing a pamphlet about the plaque recipients. On several occasions Martyn has liaised with the local press on various aspects of Bury St Edmunds. Over the years he has been involved with writing articles on the town's history and has contributed to four booklets produced by a local history group, Bury Heritage Guides. As an amateur historian he also gives talks on the history of the town.