A BASINGSTOKE historian, who is familiar to the Gazette readers from his 'Flashback Thursday' column, has delved deeper into the town's past with the release of his new book.

Ian Richards, a lifelong resident of Basingstoke, has witnessed first-hand the town's dramatic transformation from a quiet market town to the bustling centre we know today.

The Tadley resident has been a regular contributor to the Gazette since 2018, leaving an indelible mark with his insightful historical narratives.

Ian's love affair with Basingstoke's history dates back to his youth in the 1950s.

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Witnessing the town's transformation fuelled his passion for documenting its evolution.

"I welcomed the changes at that time, thinking it was a good thing for a young man seeking more excitement," Ian said.

Having lived in Basingstoke since the age of 10, it has always been his hometown, and his interest in its history naturally became a part of his life.

The journey into historical storytelling began in 2016 when Mr Richards noticed the heritage column in the Gazette was not thriving.

Taking matters into his own hands, he contacted the Gazette's editor and offered to contribute.

Two sample articles later, he found himself tasked with a monthly column, which later evolved into the Flashback Thursday series.

Over the years, Mr Richards has penned an impressive 76 articles, chronicling the town's rich history.

The culmination of this literary endeavour is Basingstoke History Delving Deeper, a self-published book containing 30 carefully-selected articles from his extensive repertoire.

Released on November 20, the book boasts 146 pages, each dedicated to a unique facet of Basingstoke's past.

With a keen eye on accessibility, it is fully indexed, catering to researchers, students, and history enthusiasts alike.

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"The copies are currently mostly being sold through the Basingstoke History Facebook site, and I've already sold 150 copies there.

"I'm also in talks with the Basingstoke Museum and the Basingstoke Library to make them more widely accessible."

For those eager to delve into Basingstoke's rich tapestry through Mr Richards's lens, Basingstoke History Delving Deeper is available for £12 plus postage.

Contact basingstokehistory@gmail.com or visit the Basingstoke Museum for your copy and embark on a captivating journey through time.