Donkey's Years on the Malvern Hills
A fascinating gap in Malvern's history has been uncovered in this delightful book. Before the apparently glamourous years when Malvern became known as 'The Metropolis of the Water Cure', the town was already famous for its multitudes of hire-donkeys. Alongside the development of the springs, spouts and holy wells, over the centuries the numbers of donkeys here had steadily increased, providing vital transport to carry the sick up the steep hill slopes to take the healing waters and as rides for the adventurous to admire the 'picturesque' views. Yet this unique history of Malvern's donkeys seemed to have almost faded away when, a year ago, the sculptor Rose Garrard began to piece together her research on the important role of donkeys here. From the coming of the Romans to the growth of the medieval monasteries, from the influence of aristocratic benefactors to the impact of the water-cure doctors on the growth of `modern' Malvern, donkeys played a vital but unsung role in Malvern's development as a spa town. This beautiful new book includes both tragic and humorous events from Malvern's past. Rose has now brought many `lost' facts to light in this wonderful and unique book, which is also filled with a treasure trove of over 200 rare illustrations, many lent by local families, collectors and organisations, but never published before, including 70 superb colour plates. This book is original, informative and fascinating to read, bringing to life many little known aspects of Malvern's past through true tales of the once famous hire-donkeys at the springs, spouts and holy wells.