SCORES of history enthusiasts gathered to see Viscount Cobham launch a new book on Quinton in the mid 1800s.

140 members and friends of Quinton Local History Society were at the launch of Dr Michael Hall’s book, which is the result of more than 40 years' research and was published to mark the society's 20th anniversary.

In its 280 pages – readers can hear how about subjects including how Quinton fared in the 1849 cholera epidemic which claimed the lives of 53,000 people and how Quinton was linked with two Cornish lunatics, along with details of crimes and violent deaths.

The book, which includes a large-scale colour map and CD – Meet the Quinton Ancestors - covers a time when The News of the World informed its readers Lord John Russell was Prime Minister and that the Corn Laws had been repealed, the penny post had been operating since the beginning of the decade, Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters were at the height of their powers and Isambard Kingdom Brunel had built his great ships and Queen Victoria reigned.

Congratulating the Society on its achievements, Lord Cobham emphasized the importance of local history for understanding who we are and where we come from.

In his foreword to the book, popular local historian Professor Carl Chinn states: “through delving deeply into the past, Dr Michael Hall has brought into view those previously hidden in the shadows.”

If family history appeals - the 13 pages of index take readers to more than 1,000 people who may be part of their family tree.

Copies of the book price £14.95 plus £3.05 p&p (cheques payable to Quinton Local History Society) are available from: A. Chaplin, 32, Barston Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, B68 0PS.