Today I had the great pleasure of meeting up once again with Dr. John Bevan of the Historical Diving Society. The occasion was the Whitstable launch, at Whitstable Museum, of his new illustrated book of helmet diving history, very appropriately named “Another Whitstable Trade” – the title Charles Dickens used in his article about the Whitstable Divers 150 years ago.
As many users of this site will know, John has often delved into his extensive archive of information on the local men involved in the Whitstable diving industry to help others on our Forum who are descendants of that group.
When John and I first met, a few years ago at Harbour Day, he told me that his next publication would set Whitstable forever as the Mecca of helmet diving. My impression after only an hour or two alone with this book, which John kindly signed for me, is that he has not only achieved this but has written the ultimate reference source for the whole industry.
I will in time provide a more in depth review with relevance to the Whitstable divers, but at 436 pages, this will take a while.
What I will say for now is that the book has a full index of divers, many pictures that I have not seen before and much personal information of the Deane, Edwards, Gann, Rigden and other diving families. It has already changed the way I view that period in our history and provides a more accurate representation of facts that have become skewed with time as the stories were passed down through the generations.
“Another Whitstable Trade” is not cheap, but for those who have connections to these men or the industry, it is a must have addition to their collection of family memorabilia.
Publisher: Submex Ltd; Limited (750) ed edition (1 Nov 2009)
Available on-line from Amazon and Ebay. Locally at the Whitstable Museum and Gallery.
Brian Baker 21st Nov 2009.