An Oswestry Facebook page inquiry about an out-of-print booklet has led to a fundraising effort which has now raised more than £3,000 for the hope House Children’s Hospice.

The booklet – The Industries of the Morda Valley – originally appeared in 1939 as a series of cuttings from Advertizer reports devoted to the history of the valley.

A poor-quality reprint by Shropshire Libraries in the 1970s quickly sold out, and the book has been out of print ever since.

The book describes in fascinating detail how a whole range of industries, including coal mining, sprang up along the banks of the Rover Morda in the latter part of the 18th century, and then almost all disappeared within a century.

Over that short span of time, the Morda and Trefonen areas were transformed from a remote rural idyll into a hive of industrial activity. As shafts were excavated for the poor-quality coal to be found in huge quantities beneath, high-quality clay was discovered, and brickworks and tile factories grew up alongside the pitheads, where miners faced hazardous conditions.

Flooding took its toll, not just of the working capital of the second rate businessmen involved in these projects, but also of the lives of miners, many of whom never returned to the surface when an already-abandoned flooded mine was breached by adjoining excavations.

A former Advertizer editor, Sam Evans appealed for funds to launch a reprint, and soon raised enough money to pay for 800 copies. He and his wife Tibs retyped the entire book, had the pictures enhanced, and in time for Christmas last year the book went on sale, with every penny of the £5 cover price going to the hospice.

Sam said: “The book deals in sometimes harrowing detail with the suffering endured by children of the period, where dire poverty was endemic and the dread of the workhouse prevailed.

"It seemed fitting that Hope House, standing in the very spot where all this went on, and now relieving child suffering of a very different kind, should be the beneficiary of the book, and we are delighted with the response.

“We still have copies left, but would advise any would-be buyers to get hold of a copy without delay as we expect to run out within the next few months.”

Copies are available from Lawrence Direct, Stan’s Superstore, Trefonen Shop, Rowanthorn, Cartridge World, EC Hollywell, the Heritage Centre and the Hope House shop. Anyone wanting a copy posted should contact