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Monday, 19 November 2012

Brian Lingard

BOOK LAUNCH                                                                            

Brian Lingard presents a copy of his book Special Houses for Special people to HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Royalties from the sale of the book are donated to the ABS


Thrifty Homes for Thrifty People is the second book of a trilogy by Brian Lingard covering his work as an architect in private practice between 1950 and the 1990's in Wales and London. The first book, Special Houses for Special People, dealt with more than 100 one-off houses, which he designed and built for special families on individual sites during the 1950's and 1960's. This second book of the series looks at his work in the field of public housing (local authority, new town, housing association and housing society) during the period from 1960 to 1990.
Over 30 social sector housing projects are described and illustrated, mainly with photographs taken by professional architectural photographers at the time of occupation of the dwellings. The historical background to the immediate environment of each project is considered and the effect that this background has had on the design of the dwellings is examined. All set against the social, economic and political influences pertaining at the time.
Several themes, only loosely connected with the subject buildings, run throughout the book. One such theme concerns the limited role which architects played in the creation of the 'sink estates' of post-war local authority housing, with the blame for much of this structurally unsound and socially inept housing lying with the multi-storey flats of package-dealers and with pre-cast concrete system building, not with the architectural profession.
Problems with local planning authorities, arbitrations and the collection of fees figure amongst the vignettes associated with the photographs and sketches which illustrate each chapter of Thrifty Homes for Thrifty People. Snippets from the verdicts of Civic Trust and Housing Medal assessors in reports on their awards are quoted. Visits to the projects by Government Ministers are recalled, often with photographs of those occasions. Celebrations are recounted which followed a few of the presentations of those of the 21 Civic Trust and 7 Government Housing Medal awards given for Lingard buildings which are featured in this book. Interweaving the chapters are accounts of the changes in dwelling places for the growing Lingard family, together with records of the establishment of new offices for the practice.
Thrifty Homes for Thrifty People is a light-hearted, explicated picture book of the architecture of public housing in England and Wales stemming from the offices of Brian Lingard during the latter half of the 20th century. As such it carries much appeal for the general reader as well as for the architectural profession.

Special Houses for Special People
Take one young architect straight out of architectural school. Introduce him to clients who have their own individual requirements. The result? Special Houses for Special People.

Brian Lingard began his architectural practice in Anglesey in the early 1950’s. It was there he began designing one-off houses for clients with specific needs. In this book he details over sixty of these houses, most illustrated by superb feature photographs taken soon after construction and all designed during the first fifteen years of his practice. 

The descriptions are brought alive by accounts of both the houses and the families for whom they were designed, all set against the social, economic and political influences pertaining at the time. 

This is a unique book. Partly architecturally historical record of house design from the middle part of the twentieth century; partly personal, light-hearted review of unusual commissions for unusual clients. As such, it is a book to be enjoyed by all those with an interest in house design and building, from professional architects and students to the general reader. 

A child of the 1920’s, Brian Lingard studies architecture at Manchester and set up his own private practice in Wales in 1950 winning many awards for his house designs. He retired from architectural practice in 1994 to live in Guernsey.

RN 1944-46; served: HMS Wolverine, Gibraltar 1944-45; architect; commenced private practice 1950; ptnr: Brian Lingard & Partners 1972-93, Lingard Styles Landscape (landscape architects) 1975-, Gallery Lingard (architectural historians) 1982-98; professional awards incl: RIBA Regnl Award (Wales), DOE and RIBA Housing Medal (7 awards), Civic Tst (21 awards), The Times/RICS Conservation Award (2 awards), Prince of Wales Conservation Award (3 awards); vice-pres Architects Benevolent Soc 2002- (chm 1988-92); FRIBA 1957 (ARIBA 1949)

To order Thrifty Homes for Thrifty People:

Price £19.95  P & P £1.95 UK £5.50 Europe £10.00  ROW
Available on email: or tel 01913735660
with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link:

To order Special Houses for Special People:
Price £18.95  P & P £3.00 UK £5.50 Europe £10.00  ROW
Available on email: or tel 01913735660
with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link:

Joan Bright Astley

Many women played a remarkable part during the Second World War, but certainly few more remarkable than Mrs Astley. Her many friends in the Allied countries knew her as Joan Bright in those days – for they preceded her marriage. She performed two outstanding tasks for Britain and the anti-Nazi combination.  First, working in the office of General Ismay, who as Chief of Staff to Churchill as Minister of Defence was the lynch-pin of the British military effort, she organized and maintained a highly confidential service of information to the Commanders in the field, which enabled them to keep themselves ‘briefed’ on the secrets of what was happening or to happen. It became habitual for, say, Wavell just back from the desert to drop into Joan Bright’s information room to ‘put himself in the picture’. Thus she was able to observe from a very special angle, and on terms of mutual confidence, most of Britain’s leading men-of-war.

Secondly, as the war rolled on and the great Allied conferences burgeoned, it became her function to make in advance the ‘housekeeping’ arrangements – what General slept where, how the thousand necessities required for the domestic ordering of such affairs would be supplied, and so on. Thus again she was able to observe at close range the men taking part in the great debates – Americans and Russians as well as her own people: to become their friend and discover their strengths and weaknesses as human beings: to see the Conferences at Washington, Quebec, Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam from the inside and at first hand.  Nobody reading this book can fail to observe those qualities of intelligence, tact and warmth of personality which placed Joan Bright in this, unique and enviable position. 

Mrs Astley was believed to be one of the three or four women who was used for the character of Miss Moneypenny. To find out more click on the links below:

Telegraph Review
The Independent Review
The Times Review
Financial Times Review
The Spectator Review

Price £12.95  P & P £1.50 UK £2.50 Europe £4.50  ROW
Available on email: or tel 01913735660
with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link:

Friday, 2 November 2012

Harry Moses

The Faithful Sixth A History of the Sixth Battalion The Durham Light Infantry

The Durham Light Infantry was one of our finest County Regiments. This is the story, of the 6th Battalion DLI and of the best men from County Durham who served first as Volunteers, and later as Territorials, and who fought with such distinction in two World Wars.

Harry Moses has long been fascinated by the history of the 6th Battalion DLI and this book is the result of his many years of meticulous research.


Harry Moses from Tow Law, a village in South West Durham now living in Aycliffe Village, was educated at Wolsingham Grammar School from 1941-1948. On completing his National Service in 1950 he commenced employment with Durham County Education Committee. He worked for this Authority from 1950 until 1963. In 1963 he entered Teachers’ Training College and in 1966 commenced his teaching career at Eaglescliffe Junction Farm Primary School until his appointment as Head Teacher at Aycliffe Village County Primary School in 1972. He retired on 31st December, 1993.
In the 1980s he renewed his research into Military History, particularly the First and Second World wars and the experiences of the County Regiment, The Durham Light Infantry. Harry is a member of The Western Front Association. Since 1988 he has been a part-time interviewer with The Imperial War 

Harry Moses received The Alan Ball Local History Award 2002 for The Gateshead Gurkhas. 

He lives in retirement at Aycliffe Village with his wife Audrey. They have two children and three grandchildren.


The best from gods own country
If you interested in local history then this is a must. Centred around Bishop Auckland it really brings home the pride that still exists within the county. These were Territorial and they gave there best and then more. A fantastic read. Hard to come by so get one if you can.
Anne Johnson (Middlesbrough)

Harry Moses is a Durham lad who, since retiring, has researched and then written numerous books about the Durham Light Infantry; three battalions of which formed part of the famous 50th Northumbrian Division in both WWI and WWII.
In this book Harry has included personal accounts of veterans of one of those battalions, the 6th Battalion, which brings to life the battles, what the sacrifice in terms of dead and wounded achieved, and the impact on the men involved.
Generally speaking, I don't believe that we really understand the sacrifice these ordinary and yet extra-ordinary men (and others like them) made, a sacrifice that enables us to live the life we do in the free society we have today. Read this book, then you'll understand.
Fantastic read.
Thomas McAlistair

Other Books written by Harry Moses:

The Faithful Sixth A History of the Sixth Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry
For Your Tomorrow A history of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1919-1955
The Fighting Bradfords Northern Heroes of World War One
The Gateshead Gurkhas A History of the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry 1859-1967
The Durhams In Korea 1952-53
For You Tommy The War Is Over - DLI POWs In WWII

For Your Tomorrow A History of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1919-1955

Foreword by General Sir Peter de la Billiere KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, DL.

The author has written a fine account of the history of the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry from 1918-1955. In the desperate battles in France and Burma the Battalion fought with considerable courage and added more laurels to the history of the County Regiment. 

I thoroughly recommend this book

There have been many books written about the Durham Light Infantry, not a few by Harry Moses. "For Your Tomorrow - A History of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1919 - 1955" (published by The Memoir Club 2012) fills a gap in the bibliography of the Regiment, particularly the 2nd Battallion. Although other books have superficially covered the campaigns involving the Battalion during this period none have done it to the extent and depth of this particular book. Many of the campaigns have been long forgotten but Moses spares no effort in researching them. The real power of the book however lies in the recollections of the ordinary soldiers (most of whom are no longer with us). The appendices of Commanding Officers, Young Soldiers, Roll of Honour and Awards are invaluable to anyone researching this period.
 I would strongly recommend this book to everyone, not just to those with an interest in this Regiment, it is a reminder of the costs of wars and of the resilience of ordinary men doing extraordinary things.       Mr Hornsey

All proceeds from these books will be paid to the Regimental Association and Charities.

Following re-organisation in 1919 the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry sailed to South Russia, then to Turkey before moving to India in 1920. It remained in India for 16 years. On returning to England, it was part of the BEF which moved to France in 1940. During the action on the River Dyle (Belgium) 2nd Lt. Richard Annand won the first Army VC in World War II.

After suffering heavy losses at St. Venant (France) in May 1940, the survivors of the Battalion returned to England. Re-organised it sailed for India in April 1942. Involved in fighting in the Arakan and at Kohima, the Battalion added to its laurels as a fine fighting unit. Following the Japanese surrender, it sailed for Singapore and took part in the disarming of the Japanese forces. For a short period it formed the guard over Japanese war criminals in Changi Jail. Its final period of service in the Far East was back in Burma in 1947 chasing Dacoit terrorists. On returning to the UK it was placed on suspended animation until re-organised in 1952. It served in Germany until final break up in 1955.

The book covers the whole of the period of history from 1919 to 1955, particularly through the eyes of those officers and soldiers who served with the Battalion in peace and war, reinforced with over 50 photographs and 9 maps.

In an interview to The Northern Echo's Duncan Leatherdale, Harry says 

'I have been fascinated with military history since I was a nipper, especially the DLI as they are all local lads.'

To read the full article click on the link below:

Buy For Your Tomorrow & The Faithful Sixth for only £20!

To contact the author direct email

Price £14.95  P & P £3.00 UK   £4.50 Europe £7.50  ROW
Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660 with card details and address

Also available from the Durham Light Infantry Museum or tel 01913842214

Available on the internet go to link

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Raymond Miquel

Business as Usual
Second Edition
In his thirty years at Arthur Bell & Sons, Professor Raymond Miquel CCMI, CBE transformed the traditional whisky distillers into one of the most successful companies in Scotland with the Bell's brand becoming a household name.

At the same time Bell's maintained a social responsibility for its workforce and local communities as well as an active policy in sport, personal development and welfare reflecting Miquel's own priorities and beliefs.

He makes no secret of his commitment to Scotland and his belief that local Scottish companies and workers can, given the leadership and direction, compete as equals with the best in the world.

The Bell's takeover of Canning Town Glass and its political implications is described along with the takeover of Gleneagles Hotel. The impact of the latter would have a significant baring on the ensuing battle Miquel had with Guinness.

Karen Cunningham tells of the intrigue and double standards throughout the Guinness bid and .the subsequent disappearance of one of Scotland's strongest independent companies.
After Bell's he looked for a new challenge with Bellhaven Brewery. After accomplishing so much in two short years Miquel was ousted before achieving his ambitious objectives.

Business as Usual
First Edition
Away from business matters the book covers his period in sports administration. As Chairman of the Scottish Sports Council he faced head on the difficulties of running a government quango.

His involvement with Lees of Scotland which he saved from administration in 1993 and floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 2005 is well documented, as is his continuing association with Glasgow University Business School.

REVIEWS click on link
Herald Scotland Review
Herald Scotland Review

Price £9.95  P & P £2.70 UK   £4.60 Europe £8.20  ROW
Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660 with card details and address.

Available on the internet go to link  

Raymond Miquel, Esq, CBE's Professional Career

Arthur Bell & Sons: joined 1956, md 1968-85, chm 1973-85; chm Wellington Importers Ltd USA 1984-85, Gleneagles Hotels plc 1984-85, chm and chief exec Belhaven plc 1986-88, dir Golf Fund plc 1989-94; chm and chief exec: Lees Foods plc 1992-2009, Lees of Scotland Ltd 1993-2009; visiting prof of business dept Univ of Glasgow 1984-; chm Scottish Sports Cncl 1987-91, govr Sports Aid Fndn; memb: Sport and Recreation Alliance 1981-, Sports Cncl 1988-91; CCMI 1981.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Isobel Bradley

Smiling in the Darkness

Listen to Isobel on Power Mag Radio on  7th February 2013

Isobel Bradley started writing with The Memoir Club in 2011. 

Isobel was first diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 28. Her only option was to have a radical hysterectomy. 

But a few years later, while training for the London Marathon, Isobel suffered pain in her groin and abdomen. Soon after a tumour was discovered in her appendix and surgeons had to remove her fallopian tube, remaining ovary and appendix.

After being given the all clear, ten years later she was told she had cancer again. Isobel had already had so much radiotherapy that any more would have caused too much tissue damage. Her only option was really radical surgery to remove her bowel and bladder.

Now over a decade later her past traumas have returned to haunt her. In this powerful story, Isobel's determination shines through as she succeeds in living her life to the full. We read about her journey, ranging from skiing to white water rafting incidents through to major life saving surgery.

Isobel supports a Cambodian orphanage and regularly visits the children there. She includes a chapter in the book and is also donating 10% of the proceeds to the orphanage. 

Launching the Race for Life
On 24th June 2012, Isobel Bradley launched and ran the 5 kilometer Race for Life at the Pitchcroft Racecourse in Worcester. In the Worcester News, she explains what the future may hold for her:

“I’ve been given a 50/50 chance of surviving for five years. That sounds terrible, but I just want to live my life to the full, however long it turns out to be. I feel well, and I’m determined not to let this colostomy bag stop me doing anything. My life has been so dramatic that I wanted to share my experiences. I want people to know that you can carry on and have a great and enjoyable life even when everything seems to be against you.”

Her husband, Mike Bradley also added:

"There have been some very difficult times but the most amazing thing about Isobel is the way she keeps bouncing back. She's an inspiration and I am so proud of her for taking part in Race for Life."


Price £8.99  P & P £2.50 UK   £4.50 Europe £7.50  ROW
Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660 with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Professor John Walker-Smith

Enduring Memories 
Second Edition
Prof Walker-Smith had this to say:
“The General Medical Council hearing was the longest ever held and I spent more time giving evidence than any doctor ever has.
“I felt I had the mark of Cain on my head. It was an utterly terrible time for me and my family.
“The hearing was Kafkaesque, and I have called the new chapter ‘The Trial’ because it felt like I was in that nightmarish world for much of the time.”
Professor Walker-Smith published his first edition in 2003.

Enduring Memories
First Edition
Professor Walker-Smith has become well known on the internet and in the press because of his involvement in a GMC Hearing (2007-2010), where he and his colleagues, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and Professor Simon Murch faced charges concerning a paper in the Lancet published in 1998. This article described the clinico-pathological features of a group of 12 children with features suggesting autism who also had bowel problems, significant enough to be investigated by means of colonoscopy for possible bowel inflammation. The paper also speculated that there was an environmental trigger to this syndrome, which could have been measles mumps rubella immunization, MMR. He was accused of performing research on these children rather than clinical care in a tertiary referral unit. The GMC Panel in May 2010 determined that he was performing research on the 12 children and recommended he be struck off. However in February 2012 Mr. Justice Mitting in the High Court quashed the GMC findings. This was a triumphant vindication for Professor Walker-Smith. This has proved to have been an historic judgement as Mr. Justice Mitting stated “it would be most unfortunate if this were to happen again”. Subsequently the GMC has proposed a new tribunal conducted by a judge, some have seen this as the biggest change in 150 years.

Professor Walker-Smith describes his personal experience over an eight year period after the allegations were made against him, by a journalist, and the GMC Hearing itself as well as his successful appeal, in a Chapter entitled the Trial. He draws attention to a number of parallels with Franz Kafka’s The Trial.

However this book is much more than this. It gives a detailed account of academic and hospital specialist medical practice (paediatric gastroenterology) from the inside, for a period over 40 years. Professor Walker-Smith was both an academic and a consultant working in the NHS from 1973-2000.
Professor Walker-Smith
and his book
It also gives an account of his earlier personal and professional life growing up in Sydney, Australia. This covers the period from 1936-1972 when he transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.

His book launch was at The Village Bookshop in Woodford Green on the 6th October 2012 at 5 p.m. The launch was a success. View the link below to find out more.


Price £9.95  P & P £2.50 UK   £3.75 Europe £9.50  ROW
Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660 with card details and address

Monday, 29 October 2012

Norinka Ford

The Flowing Line now avaiable in eBook format:

Norinka Ford lives in Brazil.

Norinka captures the fascinating story of her family from Hungary, a story moulded and shaped by the history of the twentieth century. The reader is transported back to the dark days of World War II.  

Norinka was able to travel extensively as a consequence of her father's diplomatic career and as a result we are given tantalizing glimpses of the various countries that she has lived in, countries as diverse as Iraq, Syria, Chile, Norway, India, and Brazil. 

This book is a unique family history. 


The Flowing Line. Many, many congratulations Norinka. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I am astounded at the amount of research that you must have done, and indeed at the excellence of the memories of some of the older relatives that you must have interviewed. The book combines very successfully so  many different aspects - family history and events, a near travel book, a political and social commentary on many places, a poetry anthology, and a near global survey of art and architecture, with many shrewd and perceptive comments. I thought we knew you both well and therefore that we knew the main features of your lives, but the book brought out all sorts of things of which I was only partly aware (eg the extent of your Father's diplomatic career) or of which I knew nothing (e.g. the eminence of your family in Hungary). And all so very well written. It is not at all a superficial book: it is a very solid read, and a very rewarding one. I do hope you have sold lots of copies. It is a book that deserves great success.
Sir Peter Heap

The Flowing Line is not only an absorbing family history but an evocative journey through diverse lands and different eras. The place and moment I most identify with is Syria at the start of the 1950s when, though neither of us knew it, Norinka Ford and I were both little girls within the small diplomatic community of Damascus. The magic of that ancient city has remained to this day in both of us.
Josceline Dimbleby, Author

Norinka’s work is unique in two respects. Not only does it straddle two such seismic world events across two different centuries, but it also unites them with real people’s lives. These stories deserve to be told, as they are in this book. If they are not, they will be lost. 

 Tom Newton Dunn, Award-Winning Journalist, The Sun

Norinka Ford has written a beautiful and moving account of her family's dramatic history and of her own action-packed life. Weaving together her families' memories with her own, she describes with great narrative skill their stories throughout the tumultuous events of the twentieth century, as well as telling of their new lives in a vividly and lovingly described Brazil. This book will be a precious and inspiring record. 

Liz Calder, Publisher

I have been so much enjoying reading some of your book over the weekend and really enjoying it.  You have done so much research and combined with your own memories and own experiences of fascinating countries and cultures, it is truly a beautiful book.  You have a lovely eye for detail and your chapter about Kilgraston which I have just skimmed through is most perceptive and sympathetic.  I also love your very varied poetry quotations.

 Kigraston School

Norinka Ford with her book

Norinka Ford's book launch took place at the English Speaking Union, London on Monday 8th October at 6:30 p.m. 

The launch was a great success and lots of people attended.

Norinka thanked The Memoir Club for the help that we gave her: 

I would like to thank Lynn Davidson of The Memoir Club for helping me make a long-held dream – to write a book – come true.

Writing a book can be a lonely business but I have been fortunate in having an outstanding editor, Dr Jennifer Soutter, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. She has so wisely led a novice like me by the hand and with patience and encouragement guided me through the long journey as this book took shape and developed into something far larger and more ambitious than I had originally envisaged. It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to work with her.

Price £14.95  P & P £4.00 UK   £7.00 Europe £12.00  ROW
Available on   email:   or tel 01913735660 with card details and address

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Brian Greenwood's SHOP! Is now reduced!

Reduced from £18.95 to £12.50! Order your copies now! Signed copies available until the end of September.

Brian Greenwood’s, experiences in building what was once Britain’s largest privately-owned menswear chain coupled with 50 years involvement in independent education, together with a very wide range of sporting interests, all make for entertaining, informative and frequently amusing reading. This profusely illustrated book with its foreword by Lord Norman Tebbit CH ranges from the origins of the Greenwood menswear empire, through the acquisition of other firms such as Dunn & Co. and Hodges - once a household name throughout South Wales and the south west - to a succession of commercial disasters in the period of the early 90s recession. Parallel to the business story are the affairs of one of the North’s leading independent schools - Woodhouse Grove and tales of sporting activities as diverse as athletics, rugby and hunting in South Africa. In writing his memoirs of a long and interesting life, the author sets out to produce a book which would never be dull but would rather be a thoroughly enjoyable read - he has succeeded!

‘The rise of the Greenwood family fortunes began in Bradford in the 1850’s when Brian Greenwood’s great-great-grandfather took up the trade of hatter, which was carried on by his son and then grandson, who expanded the business into a gentlemen's outfitters. Shop! traces the fortunes and misfortunes of his descendents - most notably Brian Greenwood himself - through a hundred and fifty tumultuous years including two terrible wars, the devastating slump and depression of the inter- war period, the height and the fall of the British Empire and that of the Greenwood empire too’.

The story has in it the stuff of a TV saga.
Rt Hon Lord Tebbit CH

An enthusiastic tale about his experiences, wittily and fondly recalling characters and incidents down the years. His relish for life shines through. 
Chris Holland - Telegraph & Argus

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

What Our Authors Say About Us

Sir Nicholas Bayne Economic Diplomat

The production by The Memoir Club is exemplary and a rich selection of photographs aid greatly in
relating to the characters whose life this account details

Andrew Stewart from the Defence Studies Department at Kings College London

You have worked wonders. Keeping up with your speed is quite a challenge, Yet another very satisfied customer.
Brian Wilson

Educated in Northern Ireland and England, Brian Wilson became a scholar of Christ’s College, Cambridge and a lover of Classical and English literature, choosing not to follow his parents, both consultant surgeons, into medicine, nor his archbishop grandfather into Holy Orders, though theology has been a lifelong interest. Instead he became a schoolmaster, teaching in some of the country’s leading independent schools (Radley, King’s Canterbury, and Eastbourne College) before becoming Headmaster of Campbell College, Belfast, during a challenging period of educational as well as civil disturbance, and then deputy head of St Mary’s, Wantage, a leading girls’ boarding public school.  He has been an ‘A’ Level Chief Examiner in Latin and Ancient History,  a local councillor, an author and translator who has lectured for Swan Hellenic on their Mediterranean cruises, and for twenty years a religious broadcaster for the BBC. He also served for a time on the Central Religious Advisory Committee of the BBC/ITV.
Brian Wilson, Experience Is An Arch


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Olga Abrahams


A Geordie In Japan

Olga Abrahams appears on Premier Christian Radio on September 2nd.

'This book is the life story of an intelligent young Geordie from socialist home, the story of a most unlikely missionary candidate who eventually spent a life time of service in japan - I love the personal and intimate detail and honesty in this book and commend it to those who read this review, as a good read, written for the glory of god, but then, Doug and Olga Abrahams are two of our dearest fellow workers and friends.'
 - Denis Lane Evangelical news

'A Geordie in Japan will resonate with anyone who has ever been enchanted by other cultures or has found themselves looking at their own from a fresh perspective. It is a moving account of cultural and spiritual discovery that will delight and inform in equal measure.

-Freelance Market News

'God moves in mysterious ways, so it is said, and so it proved for North east woman and communist Olga Rutherford Abrahams. At first a confirmed non-believer, her conversion saw her spend 30 years in post-second world war Japan doing missionary work with her husband, Doug.'

-Mike Kelly Evening Chronicle


A Tsunami, an Earthquake and a Nuclear Disaster in 2011 threatened catastrophe on a scale Japan has not seen since the end of World War 2. This is the back-drop, to which Olga Abrahams, a former communist and atheist from Newcastle upon Tyne releases her recent autobiography, 'A Geordie in Japan'

The opening chapters cover her phenomenal journey from her early days living in a mining village in the North East of England, following the death of her father, to her graduation as one of the first women to be awarded a degree from Cambridge University.  

This triumph over adversity would be enough to make for a good read in itself but as a paid-up member of the communist party and staunch atheist, it would be the next part of her story which would prove to be the most transformative. 
Converting to Christianity, Olga became a missionary to Japan and learned fluent Japanese in the aftermath of World War 2.  Then, as now, people asked:
 'How can you as a Woman of Science believe in God?' and 'How can you see God’s work through all of this suffering?'
Her measured and subtly emotive book answers these and other tough questions as she takes us on a journey through her remarkable life.  From surviving a crash landing on a flight in North America, to losing her first child and raising another three whilst working for 30 years as a missionary in Asia decades before the days of mobile phones and the internet. 

Olga’s story is a fascinating look at issues, which are as relevant today as they were then. Through personal anecdotes and wider philosophical consideration she unites the juxtaposed settings of her childhood and adult life.  
Motorbike crashes, finding love, swimming in the sea and captaining the Cambridge Hockey team during a resounding victory over Oxford in her youth give way to contemplative moments of reflection which grip the reader with incredible emotional resonance.  The passage in which she quotes verbatim from a letter sent to her by her aging mother (which Olga received overseas only after hearing news of her mother’s death) is a raw and honest example of what a great autobiography can be. 
At a time when religion is publicly derided, when Japan finds itself once again emerging from crisis and when government cuts are hitting areas like Newcastle the hardest, A Geordie in Japan is the poignant, entertaining and heartfelt story of an inspirational woman who has given her life to others in the name of her faith.
The Baptist Times



Monday, 21 May 2012

Sir Nicholas Bayne

Review to appear in academic Journal in China.

From the confrontational atmosphere of the Cold War to the era of globalization, international economic relations have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. In Economic Diplomat Sir Nicholas Bayne gives an insider’s account of it all. As a former British Foreign Service officer and a seasoned academic, he offers a rare unbroken perspective on the political forces shaping the world economic system.
The author’s direct involvement in economic diplomacy begins with the oil price surges of the 1970s and the first G7 summits; continues through the debt crises provoked by ‘Reaganomics’; and reaches a climax with the economic transformation at the end of the Cold War. He moves between the FCO, the Treasury, major capitals like Paris and Ottawa and key international institutions, with an interlude in the City of London. Having begun his academic activities as a serving diplomat, he has continued his research into economic diplomacy right up to the financial upheavals of the present day, tracing the G7/G8 summits until their eclipse by the G20.
This account of his professional career is leavened by personal material. He describes flagging down a moving aircraft in Berlin and tracking smugglers in the Philippines; encounters with gorillas in Rwanda, the infamous President Mobutu in the Congo and the world’s most northerly community in Canada. He tells of his working honeymoon at the United Nations and family tragedy in Africa. His early attachment to archaeology, formed at school and university, at times breaks through in later life.

Sir Nicholas Bayne was a member of the British Diplomatic Service for 35 years.

Sir Nicholas Bayne is a Visiting Fellow at the International Relations Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He currently serves as Chairman of the Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Committee, British Invisibles. As a British diplomat, he was High Commissioner to Canada from 1992 to 1996, Economic Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1988 to 1992, and UK Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris from 1985 to 1988.He also served as Ambassador to Zaire, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, 1983-84, Head of the Economic Relations Department, FCO, 1979-82, and Economic Counsellor with the British Embassy, 1975-79.During 1982-83, he was the FCO Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs where he co-authored, with Harvard's Robert Putnam, a book entitled, Hanging Together, an analysis of the G7 process.In 2000, he published Hanging Together: The G7 and G8 Summit in Maturity and Renewal (Ashgate).He specializes in the area of international economic relations and continues to advise the FCO on trade matters.

Sir Nicholas Bayne has published numerous articles and books, including :
‘Excavations at Lyneham Camp, Lyneham, Oxon’, Oxoniensia Vol XXII (1957), 1–10.
‘The Grey Wares of North-West Anatolia in the Middle and Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age and their Relation to the Early Greek Settlements’, completed in 1963, published in Asia Minor Studien Vol 37 (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt 2000).
‘Western Economic Summits: Can They Do Better?’ The World Today, Vol 40.1 (1984), 4–11.
With Robert D. Putnam, Hanging Together: the Seven-Power Summits (London: Heinemann 1984); also editions in German (1985), Japanese (1986) and Italian (1987) and revised English edition (London: SAGE 1987).
‘Making Sense of Western Economic Policy: the Role of the OECD', The World Today, Vol 43.2 (1987), 27–30.
‘In the Balance: the Uruguay Round of International Trade Negotiations’, Government and Opposition, Vol 26.3 (1991), 302–15.
‘The Course of Summitry’, The World Today, Vol 48.2 (1992), 27–30.
‘International Economic Relations after the Cold War’, Government and Opposition, Vol 29.1 (1994), 3–21.
‘The G7 Summit and the Reform of Global Institutions’, Government and Opposition, Vol 30.4 (1995), 492–509.
With Robert D. Putnam, ‘The G-7 Summit Comes of Age’, in Sylvia Ostry and Gilbert R. Winham (editors), The Halifax G-7 Summit: Issues on the Table (Halifax: Dalhousie University 1995), 1–14.
Britain and Canada – 500 Years: Common Heritage, Shared Vision (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1997).
‘What Governments Want From International Institutions and How They Get It’, Government and Opposition, Vol 32. 2 (1997), 361–79.
‘Globalization and the Commonwealth: International Economic Relations in the Post-Cold War World’, The Round Table, No 344 (1997), 473–84.
Opening Markets for Financial Services: the BI Guide to the Financial Services Agreement in the World Trade Organization (London: British Invisibles 1998).
‘Why Did Seattle Fail? Globalization and the Politics of Trade’, Government and Opposition, Vol 35.2 (2000), 131–51
Hanging in There: the G7 and G8 Summit in Maturity and Renewal (Aldershot: Ashgate 2000).
With Stephen Woolcock, The New Economic Diplomacy: Decision-Making and Negotiation in International Economic Relations (Aldershot: Ashgate 2003, second revised edition 2007).
Staying Together: the G8 Summit Confronts the 21st Century (Aldershot: Ashgate 2005).
With Nigel Spencer, ‘The Ceramics of the North-East Aegean Region from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age’, in Kyriacos Lambrianides and Nigel Spencer (eds), The Madra River Delta: RegionaStudies on the Aegean Coast of Turkey (London: British Institute of Ankara Monograph 35, 2007).
Burma and Tudor History: the Life and Work of Charles Bayne 1860–1947 (Bideford: Edward Gaskell 2008).
‘Financial Diplomacy and the Credit Crunch: the Rise of Central Banks’, Columbia Journal of International Affairs, Vol 62.1 (2008), 1–16.


"It is often difficult to know for whom an autobiography has been written. Nicholas Bayne seems to have a dual motivation, wishing first to record his life for his grandchildren (and many an academic would envy a readership of four), but also to supplement his analytical writing on summitry, which leads to thoughtful concluding reflections on the role of diplomacy. Most of all, the book is a delight for its glimpses of the author."
- The Round Table

"This account of his professional career is leavened by personal material. he describes flagging down a moving aircraft in Berlin and tracking smugglers in the Philippines, encounters with gorillas in Rwanda, the infamous President Mobutu in the Congo and the worlds most northerly community in Canada. He tells of his working honeymoon at the United Nations and family tragedy in Africa. His early attachment  to archaeology, formed at school and university, at times breaking through in later life."
                                                                    - The London School Of Economics And Political Science.

The production by The Memoir Club is exemplary and a rich selection of photographs aid greatly in relating to the characters whose life this account details"
Andrew Stewart from The Defence Studies Department at The Kings College London.


Diplomat, economist, academic, and writer. In the preface Sir Nicholas Bayne advises that his intention is to offer some reflections on the conduct of what he terms as "international economic policy" (p. xiv). In so doing
he warns that "it will not be easy to make this interesting and keep my reader's attention" (p. xiv). He need not have worried as, despite the admittedly sometimes dry subject matter, this proves to be a most engaging and extremely well written account of a long, varied and successful diplomatic career. Having harboured the desire whilst studying at Oxford to become an archaeologist, 35 years in the Diplomatic Service saw him travel the globe and finish his career as the British High Commissioner in Ottawa. One of the great strengths is that this is far more than simply an account of a life spent in diplomacy but instead it provides a memoir in the truest sense. Indeed it is the fortieth page before the author enters the Foreign Office. In the process the reader gains a great intimacy and understanding of both Sir Nicholas and his family and their experience of a diplomatic life. The character and essence of the foreign capitals they visit and work in, the changes they encounter in Britain during their visits home and when they return for spells working back in Whitehall, and the various parts that come in between, are all captured here. Confessing to not having kept a diary at any stage of his career, letters sent to family and friends form the principal source for his overseas postings, an apparently sharp memory does for the rest. There are great highs as he modestly traces his progress from desk officer in the United Nations Department and an initial three months spent in New York as part of the visiting British delegation to his final first class flight home from Canada as a retiring high commissioner. There is also tragedy with one of his sons, who suffers an accident in Zaire that leaves him a quadriplegic, and overcomes his injuries to embark upon a career in government before dying at a young age. The writer is always conscious of his surroundings and the role he played in them. Tracing his distinguished heritage he makes clear his belief that the readiness shown by his ancestors to travel and work abroad had prepared him for the role of diplomat. His classical education also had a role to play-interests in history, architecture, and mathematics prepared him well for what was to follow. As he notes "my training in logic proved very valuable, as I could easily tell valid arguments from spurious ones" (p. 45). Ancient history, however, proved generally to be of much less use beyond providing some basis for understanding the difficulties getting the Soviet Union to pay its dues to the United Nations. The era in which he was working was that of the Cold War and he "helped to maintain the peace during the uneasy confrontation between democratic West and communist East" (p. xiii). At the same time he was able to balance public service with a life-long interest in academic pursuits (a Fellow at the London School of Economics, over the course of 50 years he has written a wide range of articles and books on archaeology and economics including an acclaimed series of studies looking at economic summitry). He also interestingly later acknowledges that political instincts did not come to him naturally, a frank admission from a diplomat but a self-professed deficiency which ultimately was not an impediment to professional advancement. As the title suggests, pervading this account is what he refers to as "economic diplomacy." In the preface he acknowledges that from the very outset of his career he found himself increasingly involved in the economic strand. This initially meant working to resolve disputes with former colonies that had fought for their political freedom and retained a combative approach arguing that "the existing international system was created for the benefit of the rich and was loaded against them" (p. 46). It also included a positive spell working on secondment to the Treasury which proved valuable as his career developed.
This experience was tested frequently in sometimes equally belligerent dealings with the Soviets; one of his greatest achievements appears to have been the central role he played in helping negotiate the Four Power
Agreement on Berlin that was signed on 3 September 1971 and is seen by some commentators as being one of the earliest instances of dialogue and detente between the superpowers. Ever the diplomat, the author occasionally lets his guard drop offering some acute personal observations. He confesses that the visiting Beatles, whose "diva" tendencies he had to deal with during a concert they gave in Manila in July 1966, did not impress him. There is also a lovely description of Margaret Thatcher-"she fascinated me, but as a snake fascinates a rabbit, so that I was intimidated in her presence" (p. 105). The fifteen pages recounting his time spent in Kinshasa as ambassador, "a diplomatic experience like no other" (p, 120), is particularly well written and provides a valuable account of the Mobutu regime and life in Zaire. He is also honest in his assessment
of the war fought with Argentina over the Falkland Islands (“even now I do not believe that keeping the Falklands British justifies the casualties at the time or the resources expended since," p. 107). Finally, the deeply reflective final chapter neatly captures and amplifies the key ideas Sir Nicholas holds about what it means to be a diplomat, his achievements, the state of the global economy and Britain's place in the world.
A gentle account filled with bonhomie-and some sadness-this is a measured, most informative and enjoyable read. The production by The Memoir Club is exemplary and a rich selection of photographs aid greatly in relating to the characters whose life this account details. Upon his retirement a farewell dinner provided the author with the opportunity to quote his renowned French predecessor Talleyrand and his belief that "diplomacy is not a science of deceit and duplicity." Certainly the version Sir Nicholas practised and perfected appears to have upheld this ideal to the full.

                    Andrew Stewart from The Defence Studies Department at The Kings College London.

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