The history of a remarkable family

One Christmas, two boxes of family papers and a long scroll of a family tree passed from a dying man to his brother. More papers came a year later from the family of a cousin. For a year or more they sat in Ben Simpson’s garage, till he took up the challenge and began to sort through them. As he browsed these papers, the history of a remarkable family began to unfold…

'Meticulously researched; the combination of photos, letters and memories put this book at a cross between a complex cultural history and fascinating family treasure. The multi-voiced narrative connects people to places in both detail and objects, and in this age of consumerism and migration, makes a contribution to the meaning of rootedness'.

Carmen Bugan, poet and writer; author of Burying the Typewriter.

'A fascinating journey through a “British” family which shows just how varied our forefathers were and how our present has been built from a patchwork of different nationalities and backgrounds. The book reads as both a moral tale about the importance of family and a series of stories of lives that have contributed to the development of our nation, culminating in the life of Ben’s father, Joe Simpson, who was the first Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to rise from the ranks and one of the finest who led the force at a time when that institution faced huge challenges.'   

Peter Neyroud, criminologist and former Chief Constable


'The author’s researches are themselves something of an adventure story with unexpected pieces of the jigsaw puzzle revealed through diligence and serendipity.  The book reveals a series of unlikely connections – missionaries and pencils, ironworks and encaustic tiles.  The greater connections between several of the important families – the Simpsons, the Darbys and the Maws – who were key figures in the industrial development of the Ironbridge Gorge, are revealed for the first time.' 

Tony and Kathy Herbert, Friends of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust


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