A new book written by a Borough Council employee is set to give fresh insight into nineteenth century Nuneaton
‘The Undoing of Polly Button’ by Environmental Health Manager, Steve Moore, tells the story of the brutal murder of Mary Green (known as Polly Button) by her lover John Danks in 1832. It’s a tragic, gruesome tale and one which reveals much about life in the Borough at that time.
The book is due out in August and will be sold in aid of three local charities and good causes, namely Nuneaton women’s refuge, the Heritage Centre and Nuneaton Memories. Described by international TV and film director, Ken Loach, as ‘a terrific story’, advance sales are moving swiftly.
There is much interest across the globe from the descendants of Polly Button. The author, who is married to one of Polly’s great-great-great grandchildren, has undertaken extensive research to trace and connect to more than a thousand living descendants worldwide – some of those traced recently came together for a special gathering at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.
The launch of the book coincides with the George Eliot bicentenary celebrations and provides a different perspective of Nuneaton life to that conveyed by Eliot. It paints a stark picture of the poverty associated with a sudden fall in the town’s industrial fortunes and depicts the desperation experienced by some of the inhabitants. The book has been five years in the making and is the product of meticulous research.
“As an environmental health professional, I naturally have a strong attention to detail and this trait has certainly assisted with the research for the book.
“I have invested a lot of my free time in the project over the past few years – it’s such a fascinating story and once I started investigating the facts of the case I just couldn’t stop.
“The research has taken me on a virtual tour all around the world as I traced Polly’s descendants – it’s been very exciting, especially to see the pull that Nuneaton has for people when they know they have a personal link to such a notorious local murder case.
“The next few months leading up to the launch of the book are very busy and I’m looking forward to the events I have lined up. It will be fantastic to finally see my work in print, available to order online and on the shelves of local bookstores.”
Visitors to Nuneaton will be able to learn more about the Polly Button story through special events organised by the author, including talks about the research behind the book and walking tours around key locations in the story. Details of scheduled events can be found on the website www.pollybutton.com, where you can book tickets online.
The Polly Button story is one that the contemporary world can still very much relate to and Steve’s book has been a source of inspiration for local folk band Daisybell. Singer/songwriter Katherine Fear has produced some incredible new work to mark the launch of Steve’s book, which will be performed for the first time at certain events over the summer. Details will be posted on www.pollybutton.com.
Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of the Borough Council said:
“I am so impressed that one of our officers has produced this book which helps to tell Nuneaton’s story and draw visitors to the town.
“It is wonderful to see that one of the charities standing to benefit from the sale of the book is one that may have served poor Polly had she experienced her misfortunes in modern times.
“I look forward to some of the exciting events attached to this very worthwhile project. My thanks go to Steve for his energy and hard work in bringing the project to fruition.”
Advance copies of the book are available to pre-order directly from the author on the Polly Button website. Once published, it can also be obtained from all good bookshops. Steve will be signing copies of his book at Waterstones in Nuneaton on Saturday 7 September