April 26th, 1924. On this day I enter upon my 90th year, having been born in 1835. I must firstly thank my Heavenly Father for a long life, and many blessings received at His hands. I acknowledge my great obligations to my Father and Mother for their labours, example and training. I record—with affectionate remembrance —fifty years of happy life with my departed Wife. I am thankful for the loving-kindness of my sons and daughters, grand-children, and great grand-children. I am indebted to a multitude of friends and fellow-workers; many of whom are departed, but others are bearing the burden and heat of their day of work, and their helpfulness I cherish.
When, in 1908, I issued my book "In and about Nottinghamshire" (now out of print) one of the principal literary reviewers criticised me for having given so little notice of the distinguished men and women in the County. I plead guilty, for until I was over seventy years of age I had paid little attention to either local history or biography. In my subsequent booklets of Lenton, Radford, Sneinton, Basford, Mapperley, Bulwell, Wilford, and West Bridgford—together forming "Old Nottingham Suburbs: Then and Now," in "The History of Arnold," and in the booklets of Stapleford, Beeston, Attenborough, Chilwell and Toton, Kingston on Soar, Scrooby, and the Pilgrim Fathers, "A talk to Scouts," etc., I endeavoured to make amends for my default, and now in the present book I try to make full atonement.
In the booklets referred to in this preface, some of the persons named in the following collection were there noticed, but it appeared desirable that their names should appear in a general collection.
Some of the persons commented on have received more lengthy notice than others. Such papers were prepared at different times for another purpose and it did not seem to be desirable to condense them.
There are in the Index nearly 600 names, some of them however, are of little note. On the other hand, wives are seldom noted there.
Should I be blamed for omitting many names which ought to appear, and especially for not having done equal justice to the North of the county, I must plead the limitations of old age, and express the hope that when I fail someone will continue and extend the work, for the mine has much unexplored gold. If, on the other hand, it be stated that the names of some are given who might well have been omitted, I plead that every name included has been carefully weighed, and the compiler of such a book is obliged to constitute himself a kind of court of first instance, whose verdict is subject to appeal, with full liberty to appellants to do better.
It may be stated that the "Lives of Nottinghamshire Worthies and of Celebrated and Remarkable Men of the County from the Norman Conquest to A.D. 1882," by Cornelius Brown, supplies what is necessary. Mr. Brown did an excellent work. He had qualifications I do not possess. His work will stand as of great value. His was the historical record and testimony chiefly of men who, for want of a better term, may be described as of the ruling class. My aim differs in this respect that I seek to gain a benefit from all classes, but in one aspect only, and that is Usefulness. I have not written biographies. That would have required many books. Only a small book was the aim, and many of the men referred to have passed away since Mr. Brown's book was written. I thank his Executor for permission to quote therefrom.
It is due that acknowledgment should be made of the writer's indebtedness to the proprietors of that invaluable compilation the "Dictionary of National Biography" for liberty to quote therefrom. Also to Wylie, Bailey, Godfrey, Stevenson, and a number of other local writers, local newspapers, librarians, and to many friends and correspondents who I hope will forgive me for not mentioning their names, for many books have been searched, and many persons have been bored with questions, and indeed it may be said of nearly every individual named that aid has been obtained from another.