First book launch for Potters Bar history group

A POTTERS Bar history group has created a bit of history of its own – by holding its first ever book launch.

The Potters Bar and District Historical Society came together last week to celebrate the release of its latest title during an official launch party, the first time the society has ever held such an event in its 26 years of existence.

Admiral Byng and Wrotham Park, by society member Arnold Davey, gives a detailed account of the trial and execution of Admiral John Byng, the naval officer who built the 18th century Palladian mansion of the title.

Mr Davey’s book focuses on the events that led up to Admiral Byng’s execution in 1757, following the loss at the battle of Minorca in 1756.

Admiral Byng was court-martialled and found guilty of “failing to do his utmost” to prevent Minorca falling to the French, despite being cleared of personal cowardice and disaffection.

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At Potters Bar Museum, located upstairs at the Wyllyotts Centre off Darkes Lane, society members, Hertsmere mayor Linda Silver and representatives from The Admiral Byng pub in Darkes Lane enjoyed a buffet meal and drinks, as Mr Davey signed copies of his book.

“We thought we’d make a fuss of this one and raise our profile a bit,” Mr Davey said.

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“The book is really about how a government will look for a scapegoat when things go wrong.

“The Government wasn’t prepared to admit he [Admiral Byng] did anything wrong, but they executed him because he wouldn’t do what they wanted him to do.

“It was a disgrace then and it still is.”

Society president Brian Warren said: “We’ve been publishing for 26 years, but this is the first time we’ve had a launch.

“It’s gone quite well – I think we could have another one in the future.

Copies of Mr Davey’s book cost �2 for a colour copy and �1 for a non-colour copy. They can be bought at Potters Bar Health Foods in The Broadway, Brays in High Street, or by contacting Mabel Hammet on 01707 657120 or emailing

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