A Neyland councillor unveiled his 650-page ‘magnum opus’ at the Picton Centre, Haverfordwest, on Friday.

Cllr Simon Hancock, who has been Haverfordwest Museum’s curator for 30 years, launched his book ‘A Photographic History of Victorian and Edwardian Haverfordwest 1860 – 1914’ as part of the town’s 900th anniversary celebrations.

The book is a social history of the town between 1860 and 1914 and includes a host of new visual and textual material that has never been seen before.

“Most of the photographs are unpublished, local images of the town. I conducted a thorough examination of sources to gather them, looked at tens of thousands of newspapers, local and national collections, and left no stone unturned.

“This is active material, seized to recreate moments in time. Capsules of history. They’re not just still photographs, because images without interpretation are shallow and simple. They create stories of Haverfordwest and the people who lived in this town in the last century.

“This is my magnum opus and I hope it will be a worthy addition to the history of the town,” said Cllr Hancock.

The book has been a monumental undertaking for the local historian, who began his research in 1998, when he originally planned to create a small picture book of the town.

Under rapturous applause Mr Hancock presented the first copy of his book to Haverfordwest mayor Christopher Blakemore.

“It has been an exciting quest, but he finally got it finished. I see it as something for the future generations to look up when they want to learn about the town, with all the material and pictures in one place,” said the mayor.

The book costs £35 and can be bought from bookshops around the county. For more information call Mr Hancock on 07968 225156.