The front covers of my books published are shown below together with brief descriptions. This does not include Bournemouth the Aviation Pioneers and Rolls of Rolls-Royce because I did not write most of that book, it being a team effort by CRHT. However, that one is included for information under the Books Published tab.
The sub-folders give more details for each one.
Why call a Referendum about staying in the EU? What is the emotional story behind the headlines? Is Westminster too remote from the people making this vote essential? What is the powerful Brexit outcome all about? These are difficult questions but the answers are crucial to understanding the UK Referendum of 2016 and important for the General Election of 2017.
In this simply-presented book, both the Leave and Remain sides of the argument are given including many hard-hitting quotes from the voting public.
The fertile ground of Bournemouth's strange features.
Whether discussing the design of the sculpture of the town's founder, Lewis Tregonwell, with its creator Jonathan Sells, or the early history of Bourne with the heritage experts at the Central Library, the unexpected always seemed to come to light.
It was a privilege to write, not least because of the many helpful and interesting people I met along the way and without whom it would not have been possible.
In this first attempt at Curiosities, one main challenge was to find the information. It was not so much a case of writing as discovering.
The journey of exploration included, amongst others, Durham Cathedral, the Hampshire Record Office, the Museum of the Royalty Fishery, the Red House Museum and the Christchurch History Society. Yet the evidence of local people was just as useful. For instance, how well-known is the fact that there was a plan to open a night club under the High Street?
Having always felt a particular love for Hengistbury Head, this first book was both a huge learning curve and a pleasure to write.
The sheer quantity of material, a lot of which is highly technical, was a challenge. For example, although there is much about pre-history, geology, conservation and coastal erosion, I do not pretend to be expert in all these fields, hoping only to provide a good introduction. For other subjects like the tragedies, smuggling and fishing stories, no special knowledge is needed.
As a result of demand since the book went out of print years ago, it has been reprinted in 2017.
Here is an arguably sad publication outlining as it does some horrors of war. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the Blitz Spirit did indeed exist, as shining through in the cover picture.
Apart from the diary and some brief family history, I have reviewed the impact on Upminster and the nature of the wider war. As ever, many thanks are due to local people who assisted research and added background. Civil defence records of bombing were particularly fascinating.
Surprisingly in view of the subject, this book was fun to write, providing much entertainment during the research phase.
A good example is the hilarious yet critical letter sent to the local paper by a writer regarding himself, under the pen name of Twyneham, as the very personification of the town. Another is the physical transportation of the 1746 Town Hall from the Church Street / Castle Street corner to the High Street as illustrated in the cover picture.
A book written to enhance the work of the Charles Rolls Heritage Trust (CRHT) and that charity's object - to advance public education regarding both Rolls and Britain's first international Aviation Meeting in 1910 at Hengistbury Head.
Without Rolls, there would have been no Rolls-Royce Ltd. and no Merlin Engine to power the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the Battle of Britain. Without that first air show, our aviation industry would have lagged further behind those of other countries.
Amberley asked me to write about my home town using their A - Z format which requires around 100 illustrations within 96 pages and covering every letter of the alphabet. I found it a good discipline in view of the wish to try and avoid as far as possible the 'old standbys' of Bournemouth's history. Fortunately, there is plenty of relatively unknown material, and yes, it was possible to have at least one chapter for every letter. Moreover, I would confess that the book cover perhaps looks more 'traditional' than the actual contents which also include some quirky material.
There is a selection of pictures for each of these books in the sub-folders under "SLIDES".
Any questions or comments welcome via the "Contact" folder which has the SSL security feature shown by a padlock at the start of the website address line and "https" instead of the "http".