This month we read Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey. Wentworth was the largest Georgian house in Britain, with a room for every day of the year and home to generations of the Fitzwilliams. It was surrounded by the South Yorkshire coalmines, the source of the family’s income for many years. Bailey charts the Fitzwilliams from the 6th to the 10th (and last) Earl, against a background of the demise of the coal industry. World Wars, the industrial revolution, social change and nationalisation saw the 70 pits, employing 115,000 men, in 1900 fall to just 4 pits employing 2,500 in the mid 1990’s. The history includes family feuds, forbidden love, rumours of a changeling and a class war.
The author has undertaken a large amount of research and some sections provide a very detailed history. Other parts are told in a more gossip-like style: King George V visits, one of the Earl’s has an affair with Kathleen Kennedy.
Few of the group managed to finish this lengthy book, although those who did found much of interest in this history.
Our future reading list is as follows:
Apr Exit West Mohsin Hamid
May Klara and the Sun Kazuo Ishiguro
Jun The Course of Love Alain de Botton
Jul This Lovely City Louisa Hare
Aug Open Water Caleb Azumah Nelson
Sept Beautiful World Where Are You Sally Rooney
Oct Love After Love Ingrid Persaud
Nov Frostquake Juliet Nicolson