The Engineer, the Crook and Eight Men of the Sea
by Aurélie Freeman
A remarkable story in three parts.
The first gives a fascinating insight into the life of Thomas Ker, a civil engineer in Rajasthan, India, in the later nineteenth century, as well as that of some of his relatives and sons in India. It traces his work in building railways, railway schools and colonies, the juggling of his family and social life between India and Britain, and his involvement in aid during the famine of 1901. A keen photographer, he left a unique record of his life there and in Shimla and the section is generously illustrated with his photos.
Next, we follow a story of skulduggery and cruelty in the Isle of Man, pieced together from the newspapers of 1834. The author shows how the revelations develop week by week and questions the changes that occur as the story is passed down the generations of an upright Edinburgh family.
In the final section we follow men from one family who worked in maritime jobs on the Hampshire, Sussex and Kent coasts between 1700 and 1900: eight stories of shipbuilders and house carpenters, harbour masters and sailmakers, pilots, privateers and mariners trading in coastal waters and on the high seas.Well researched and empathically related, this is history from the bottom up.