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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

 In Quest of a Fairer Society  - Stan Newens

Copies are available from Lynn Davidson  mob 0755 2086888

 In Quest of a Fairer Society  - Stan Newens - A fascinating political biography of a rare vintage...’
Beginning with his working-class upbringing in Bethnal Green, Stan Newens describes his education at state schools and University College London where he obtained a history degree. After working as a coal-miner for four years in lieu of national service he has spent his life in public service, as a teacher and parliamentarian. He describes his time in Parliament with a perceptive political commentary, recounting his relationships and views.
     He was always seen as a left-winger and was a founder member of the Tribune Group of Labour MPs. In 1956 he was active in the campaign against the Suez expedition and, in the House of Commons, he opposed supporting US involvement in Vietnam. Throughout his career he supported innumerable international causes and strongly opposed Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.
     In Quest of a Fairer Society is the account of a life dedicated to a cause but characterised by loyalty and commitment to family, friends and the community in general. It is also a very revealing commentary on the social and political life of the period and of interest to politicians, lay readers students and many others.

Arthur Stanley Newens, known as Stan Newens, was born 4 February 1930. He is a former British Labour Co-operative politician and Member of Parliament (MP) and Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
     Stan Newens received a History degree at University College London and became a schoolteacher. He held several posts in the National Union of Teachers and was Chair of the Movement for Colonial Freedom and President of London Co-operative Society.
     In 1949 he joined the Labour Party, and is still a member. Newens represented Epping 1964-70 and Harlow 1974-83 in Parliament. He became MEP for the London Central constituency in 1984, sitting until 1999. He held several senior positions including Vice-Chair of the PLP Foreign Affairs Group; Chair and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group of MEPs.
     Newens has been an active trade unionist and co-operator and has written numerous pamphlets, books and articles, including The Case Against NATO [1972] Third World: Change or Chaos [1977], A History of Struggle: 50th Anniversary of Liberation, formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom [2004] and A Short History of London Co-op Political Committee [1988]. He is also a local historian of Essex and East London: his book A History of North Weald Bassett & Its People was published in 1985 and his study of Arthur Morrison was published in 2008.
Available in Softback £12.00  & Hardback  £20.00 
Copies are available from Lynn Davidson  mob 0755 2086888

Thursday, 26 September 2013

IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery

IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery
Written by Phil Adams published The Memoir Club and printed at JASPRINT 12 Tower Road, Washington NE372SH

This month (March 2015) has witnessed a number of events coinciding with the centenary of the formation of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade.  On 2nd March, his Right Worshipful the Mayor of Sunderland Cllr. Stuart Porthouse and the lady Mayoress Mrs Marie Porthouse unveiled a blue plaque at Houghton Hall, Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, the place of the original H.Q. of the Brigade.
Philip W. Adams author of IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery was also present to say a few words at the unveiling and attended the post event gathering and display of WW1 Memorabilia held at the nearby Keiper Hall, organised by the Heritage Department of Sunderland City Council and local Cllr. Shelia Ellis.
On Saturday 14th March – Phil Adams gave a talk on the history of the Brigade at the invitation of the FoSUMS at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. The Deputy Mayor Cllr. Barry Curran and the Deputy Lady Mayoress Mrs. Curran attended as did nearly one hundred members and guests (some of who had travelled from as far away as Portsmouth).
Finally Phil is proud to announce that a Limited Hardback Edition (160 copies) of IDLE and DISSOLUTE has been produced by the Memoir Club and Jasprint. Copies are now available, priced at £30.00 each and can be obtained by contacting Phil directly via email by (Mobile) telephone 07749-403942 or by visiting the website
Also anyone wishing to learn more about Phil's ongoing search for more of the men that served with the 160th Brigade or the 15 years research behind the book is welcome to visit the Brigade Facebook page via the following link:

A tribute to Wearside war heroes is to be unveiled. Sarah Stoner reports.

THE bravery of a ‘forgotten’ band of Wearside war heroes is to finally be remembered – 100 years after fighting for King and Country.
The soldiers of the close-knit ‘Idle and Dissolute’ unit saw action across Europe in battle after bloody battle during the Great War – winning dozens of gallantry awards.
But, a century after the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery was raised, the courageous deeds of its 2,500 troops have been largely forgotten – until now.
Next month will see council bosses erect a blue heritage plaque honouring the unit at Houghton Hall, its former HQ – 100 years and one day after the brigade was formed.
And the move has delighted author Philip Adams, who has campaigned for greater recognition for the 160th since publishing a definitive history of the unit in 2013.
“Their deeds were just as heroic as those of their illustrious infantry comrades of the Durham Light Infantry, but there was no proper memorial to them until now,” he said.
“These men carried the Wearside name into battle. I wrote the book to ensure their sacrifices were not forgotten and I’m delighted there will now be a plaque as well.
“As a final gesture, I would love to see a standard or a flag dedicated to the brigade, which could be displayed at Sunderland’s Remembrance Parade each November.”
More than 25,000 Wearside men stepped up to fight for King and Country in the ‘war to end all wars’ – a conflict the like of which had never been seen before in Britain.
Such was the show of patriotism that, in 1915, the Mayor and Recruiting Committee raised both the 160th (Wearside) Brigade and the 20th Battalion Wearside DLI.
The losses would be grievous – one soldier in every ten – but the courage of the men was supreme. The 160th won 157 medals for gallantry, while the 20th collected 163.
“Public subscription helped raise the Wearside Brigade in March 1915, with shipyard workers and miners providing the backbone of the new unit,” said Phil, from Stoke.
“But every trade skill was represented, from bakers to hat makers, dairymen and lawyers. University graduates fought alongside hewers, boilermakers and riveters.
“The capabilities and skills of these men, particularly those from the mines, as well as their capacity for hard work, would prove to be invaluable on the battlefield.
“Indeed, the 160th officers were immensely proud of their men for numerous reasons – not least their ability to dig the deepest and safest trenches in double quick time.”
Months of training in artillery and horsemanship followed the creation of the brigade until, in January 1916, the troops embarked for the battlefields of northern France.
Action at the Battle of the Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and Ypres soon followed. Tragically, 135 men would lose their lives in battle, with many more being wounded.
“The ironic tag of The Idle and Dissolute was given to the men of the 160th as an affectionate tribute to their formidable fighting prowess,” said Phil. “Initially it started as an insult from their commanding officer during early training, when commenting on their inadequacies, but it was later worn as a badge of honour.
“It just goes to show how much this unit of miners and labourers made other people stand up and take notice.”
Phil’s interest in the 160th was sparked by family history research into his great uncle William Henry Adams, who fought with the brigade and was killed in March 1918.
Unfortunately, as the majority of the unit’s personnel records were destroyed during World War Two, Phil’s investigations ground to a halt with little further information.
“To make up for my disappointment of not knowing what happened to William, I decided to research the 160th instead. I saw it as a debt of honour and a labour of love.
“That the men won 157 gallantry medals, including four Distinguished Service Orders, 19 Military Crosses and ten Distinguished Conduct Medals, is a real tribute to them.”
The brigade was officially disbanded in August 1919, just over four years after being raised, but reunions for old comrades were held at the Palatine Hotel until the 1960s.
“These men should never be forgotten. They were so modest about their part in the war that stories of their brave deeds were not recorded in their lifetime,” said Phil.
“It is therefore very fitting that a plaque to these brave soldiers is to be unveiled a century after they joined up to fight. I’m very, very pleased this is finally happening.”
The unveiling of the plaque on March 2 forms part of a programme of events and activities organised to mark the centenary of WWI by Sunderland City Council and its partners.
Councillor John Kelly, the council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, today applauded the bravery of the men of the 160th and said: “During the First World War the brigade was the only artillery unit to be afforded the official “Wearside” title, which they carried into battle many times. This commemoration event gives our city the opportunity to take pride in the contribution these brave men made to the war effort and to remember the many sacrifices they made while fighting for our freedom.”
Extraordinary tales of Wearside heroes
THE men of Wearside’s 160th Brigade were in the middle of the storm when German attackers launched a barrage of 1,160,000 shells on March 21, 1918.Death and destruction rained down on the Allied battlefront during the Battle of St Quentin, leaving thousands dead, gassed, captured or wounded.But, although many British troops were forced to retreat, one Wearsider rode straight into the heart of the conflict - to retrieve abandoned guns.George Moses, a former horseman from South Hylton, was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery - but rarely spoke about his actions after the war.
“I am very proud of my grandfather; my whole family is,” Stephen Scrafton revealed in 2013. “He was an ordinary, decent man who did something extraordinary.”
WALTER Robinson was barely 18 when he signed up to fight for King and Country with the 160th Wearside in 1916 - and his service would last just a year. The youngster, son of award-winning police officer Fairley Robinson, left his job as an apprentice boilermaker to take up arms, quickly winning promotion to corporal.After arriving in France on January 23, 1916, Walter fought his way across the country at battlegrounds including Fleubaix, Albert and the first day of the Somme. The corporal survived the bloody carnage without injury but, within days, was summoned back to work in Sunderland - due to a chronic shortage of boilermakers. “I am very proud of him,” said his son Jack in 2013.
“He developed a love of horses during the war, going on to join the mounted section of Sunderland Borough Police.”
•WEARSIDE teenager James Moody Donaldson was so desperate to fight for King and Country that the 16-year-old lied about his age to join the army.The Southwick lad saw action at some of the Great War’s bloodiest battles, including Passchendaele and Arras, as a driver with B Battery of 160th (Wearside) Brigade.Young James concluded his war with a role in the bloody Offensive of Picardy, in which the 160th Brigade helped to halt the German advance to channel ports.But, although the brave young man made it home safely once peace was declared in 1918, he would die during the next war – after an accident in the shipyards.“James Donaldson was destined to be one of history’s heroes and is greatly remembered by his family,” said his great nephew Kevin Donaldson.

Some of the 160th’s award-winning soldiers
Richard Baggott. Born in Washington. Awarded Military Medal and Bar.
Richard Collins. Miner from Grangetown. Military Medal.
Thomas Cowan. Labourer from Sunderland. Military Medal.
Charles Curle. A shoeing smith from Chester-le-Street. Military Medal.
Thomas Dixon. Sunderland coal miner. Military Medal.
John Dryden. Miner from Fordland Place, Sunderland. Military Medal.
Thomas French. Born 1885 in Burnhope. Military Medal.
Mark Glancey. Born Southwick 1897, died February 19, 1919. Military Medal.
Abner Harrold. From Sunderland. Meritorious Service Medal.
Charles Hamill. Born in Sunderland, killed in action 1918. Military Medal.
George Herring. Born 1896 at Bishopwearmouth. Military Medal and Bar.
Thomas Hudson. of Southwick. Killed in action 1918. Military Medal.
Oscar Jepson. Blacksmith of Milburn Street, Sunderland. Military Medal.
John Johnson. From Sacriston. Distinguished Conduct Medal.
John Lowther. From Gragetown. Military Medal.
Frederick Mackel. Of Hind Street, Bishopwearmouth. Military Medal.
Thomas McManus. Policeman from 8 Marlborough Street. Military Medal.
George Moses. South Hylton horseman. Military Medal.
John Naden. Plater from Ward Street. Military Medal and Croix De Guerre.
Reevel Pounder. Of Hendon Street, Sunderland. Military Medal.
John Reynolds. Miner from Pity Me. Military Medal.
William Sherrington. From Sunderland. Military Medal.
Edgar Spendley. Born 1891 in Sunderland. Military Medal.
Alfred Swinhoe. From Monkwearmouth. Meritorious Service Medal.
William Taylor. Born circa 1879, Southwick. Military Medal and Silver Badge.
Henry Wilson. Railway clerk from Monkwearmouth. Military Medal.

Just received a copy of your book in the mail this morning and it is amazing!  I own 200+ Great War unit histories and yours has to be the best of all!  An excellent model for anyone writing a unit history to emulate.  Congratulations on a job very well done.                           Dick Flory


Just received a newly published Royal Artillery unit history that has to rank as one of the best: Idle and Dissolute: The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery by Philip W Adams.  The book is 411 pages which are crammed full of information on the brigade and excellent maps and photos.  The first 150+ pages (Chapters I through VIII) cover the history of the brigade from 1915 through 1919 with excellent maps and numerous photos.  Each of these chapters gives details on the location, services, casualties, awards and war activities of the Brigade and are illustrated by many photos of members (both officers and other ranks) of the brigade. Chapter IX covers the numerous reunions of brigade personnel, again with numerous photos.  In terms of data, the best part of the book are the appendices (218 pages) which include annotated nominal rolls of both officers and men; profiles (with numerous photos) of the officers of the brigade and similar profiles of many NCOs and men; a detailed roll of honour; and lists of awards to personnel of the Brigade. 

In my opinion this is the way a unit history should be written!  Well worth the price (£24.99).  For those interested it may be obtained from The Memoir Club, Ltd, Dartmoor Suite, The Courtyard, Arya House, Langley Park, Durham DH7 9XE (0191-373-1739).

This book is without doubt the definitive history of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. It has been meticulously researched by the author who describes it as both a 'labour of love' to a long lost relative and a ‘debt of honour’ to all 2,500 men that served with the unit. The title of the book The Idle and Dissolute is taken from the ironic nickname given to the soldiers of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery during the early days of training in Co Durham.  The 'I & D' name stuck and was proudly worn as a badge of honour by all who served. 
It was public subscription that helped raise the Wearside Brigade in March 1915, with local miners and shipyard workers providing the backbone of the new unit. However during the course of WW1 men from all parts of the British Isles as well as from South Africa, America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, China, France, Argentina and later India would swell the ranks.
The 160th Brigade embarked for battlefields in northern France during January 1916 and proceeded to take part in the famed battles of The Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and the Great Offensives of 1918.
The author Philip W. Adams interest in the 160th Brigade dates back to his childhood, when he became fascinated by a photo of a soldier hanging on a wall. All he knew was that it showed his grandfather's brother, William Henry Adams, a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery who had been killed in the First World War. 
The old picture proved the inspiration Phil needed to start a 10 year research project into his uncle William and the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. His investigations revealed that William and 59 of his comrades were among the 38,000 casualties suffered by the British Army on the 21st March 1918 – a fateful day that would prove to be both the darkest and finest hours in the history of the Brigade.
By the end of the Great War, the Wearside Brigade had suffered many casualties. From the original 766 volunteers, that enlisted in Co Durham during 1915 and marched off to France in 1916, only 156 marched back into Sunderland, for their ‘Welcome Home’ parade in 1919.
The men of the Brigade were awarded 157 medals for gallantry. This included four Distinguished Service Orders, nineteen Military Crosses and ten Distinguished Conduct Medals. The Brigade was officially disbanded in August 1919, but those who survived remained close friends. The first of many reunions was held at the Palatine Hotel, in 1919, and the meetings continued until the 1960s.

This book is a must have, it weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, to tell for the first time the full story of the Idle and Dissolute. Soldiers, so modest and humble about their part in the Great War that the story of their deeds was never fully recognised in their own lifetime.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Local Authors


We have 20 years experience in publishing, editing, designing and promoting local and business books.  

We are committed to bringing quality books to potential readers, and to maximising the potential of each book.

Our dedicated in-house team is always on hand to take you all the way from manuscript to eBook or printed copy. Every author is treated as an individual, not a number.

Email your manuscript to Lynn Davidson, or tel 0191 3731739

Copies are available from Lynn Davidson  mob 0755 2086888

Sir Paul Nicholson KCVO - Brewer At Bay

Lives in Brancepeth Village, Durham
Sir Paul resigned as Chairman of the group on 26 March 1999 after the board of the company, against his advice, had decided to close both Vaux Brewery in Sunderland and Wards Brewery in Sheffield. He gives a full account of the destruction of the breweries and has some pungent comments on those responsible for the loss of so many jobs in Sunderland and Sheffield.
Born in County Durham, Sir Paul recounts his childhood with affection. His education at Harrow and Clare College, Cambridge which gave him the grounding required for a future in the business world, are colourfully described. Also included are details of his National Service during which he was commissioned in the Coldstream Guards. His prolific business career began when he initially qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse, subsequently joining Vaux in 1965 and rising to the position of Managing Director in 1971.
However, not only does Sir Paul write about his vocational activities, horses have always been an important part of Sir Paul's life and in 1964 he completed the Grand National Steeplechase and twice won the Liverpool Fox Hunters Race. He has always enjoyed coaching and is a past President of The Coaching Club, the country's oldest horse driving club.
Sir Paul has held various senior positions outside of Vaux, including Chairman of the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation, the body set up by the government to bring economic regeneration to the areas of the two rivers. He was formerly a director of Tyne Tees Television plc from 1981 to 1992, as well as a director of Northern Electric plc from 1990 to 1997.
In 1993 he was knighted for services to industry and to the public in North East England, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of County Durham in January 1997. In 2011 he was appointed as Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
Currently involved in business as a non executive director. He is married to Sarah and has one daughter, Lucy.

Brewer at Bay chronicles the full and varied life of a man with his roots based firmly in the North East Sir Paul Nicholson's family were involved in the Vaux Group's, Sunderland Brewery throughout the 162 years of its existence.

'Sir Paul Nicholson's book details the working - and end-of-workings - of Vaux Breweries'
Bill Jamieson - Executive Editor The Scotsman


For anyone that knows Vaux, the North East and the Nicholsons this book will fall into the ‘must have’ category. For those not included in these groups the book will be a riveting account of an unusual and eventful life from which the reader will learn how a businessman is formed and how a businessman leads his life’.
Sir Frederick Holliday - Chairman of Northumbrian Water and former Vice-Chancellor of Durham University

‘For City practitioners, the most absorbing section of this entertaining life story will be the detailed account of the events leading up to the demise of Vaux in 1999. The misjudgements of financial advisers and board members are relentlessly exposed, as is the full tragedy of the snuffing-out of this essentially decent and by no means unsuccessful company’.
John Walters - Leading City Brewing Analyst

‘He tells a story that is tragic both for him personally through Vaux Breweries and also for those living around the Sunderland area. His assessment of the Vaux decline should be compulsory reading for all Northern Business Schools’.
Sir George Russell - Former Chairman of Northern Development Company

‘Sir Paul Nicholson tells a real story. Never complacent, he has always accepted or created challenge. He has been a fine champion of the North East, firm on the front foot and fierce in defence........... His book is a tapestry with all the colours and hues, and will be enjoyed by all who read it’. 
Sir Angus Grossart - Chairman of Noble Grossart Ltd (Merchant Bank) 

If you would like to buy this book please visit:

Harry Moses lives at Aycliffe village and was born in Tow Law

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 Museum. 
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

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

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.'

Other Books written by Harry Moses:
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

If you would like to buy this book please visit:

John C. Foster Lives in Langley Park, Durham

Theatre Royal Newcastle Upon Tyne The Grand Old Lady Of Grey Street Memories 1950-2000

In this fascinating book, theatre buff John Foster traces productions and personalities that have graced the Theatre Royal stage during the years 1950-2000. He captures the colourful characters, shows, stories and history of this period. Written with the passion of someone with an all-consuming hobby, it is an informative read not only for people in the North-East but for anyone with an interest in stage and screen. It features a wealth of statistics and inside information, plus critical reception, cast lists, and pithy commentary about each show.

This book is a comprehensive history of theatre ranging from Peter Pan during the 1950s all the way up to Mark Little in his London hit Defending The Caveman, the 2000 winner of the Best Entertainment Olivier Award as it we know it today. Like every art form, theatre has been changing and evolving since its inception more than 2000 years ago. As informative as it is entertaining, this book offers an accessibly written history as it is written in chronological order and is richly illustrated with memorabilia of the period.

John C. Foster has long had a keen interest in theatre. In 1958 he joined the Durham Amateur Dramatic Society and took up acting. Most of his appearances were with this Club but he was also a member of the Langley Park Players and appeared in other productions for Elsie Craig Shaw. At Durham he was a producer for the Society whose plays were staged in St. Margaret’s Hall and later at the Assembly Rooms. During his time with D.D.S. he adapted ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ’Dracula’ for the stage. Mr Foster is an avid collector of all types of theatre memorabilia and is a member of the Ephemera Society of Great Britain.

Any profits from this book will be donated to the 

Of Theatre Royal Newcastle Upon Tyne

Looking At Durham Stage and Screen Memories 1884-1963

Written by John C. Foster who lives in Langley Park, this book is a warm and insightful exploration of the theatre and film industry in Durham from 1884 to 1963.  The author is a knowledgeable and passionate guide, taking us on a chronological journey that traces the development of the arts in Durham from the day The Royal Albany Theatre opened, thereby ending a period of 15 years in which the city had no theatre.

Illustrated throughout with pictures embedded in the text the book can serve as an excellent reference though the many entertaining and amusing anecdotes ensure that it is no text book. Instead it is a lively, informative and well-written book, a must-read for anyone interested in the arts in Durham, as well as the general reader.


A new book Looking at Durham Stage And Screen: Memories 1884 - 1963, compiled by John C. Foster, takes a year-by-year look at theatre both professional and amateur in Durham City

If you would like to buy this book please visit: 

The Improbable Bishop Ian Ramsey of Durham - John S Peart-Binns

A succession of masterful figures had the honour of serving as Bishop of Durham; saints and sages, prince-bishops, warriors and statesmen, builders and governors, reformers and controversialists. In 1966 a most unlikely candidate stepped into this mix. Born and bred in Lancashire, Ian Thomas Ramsey’s background gave few clues as to his future calling.

A brilliant and original thinker, his works on philosophy, theology and science developed and popularised new concepts in each discipline. Ordained in 1940, he served a curacy at Headington Quarry, Oxford and spent twenty three years as an academic: a lecturer and chaplain at Cambridge followed by a professorship at Oxford. Ramsey was an unexpected but inspired choice for appointment as Bishop of Durham. Ian Ramsey was immediately embraced by the people of Durham and soon the Church of England had an irrepressible and popular bishop in their midst. Focusing on Ramsey’s years in Durham The Improbable Bishop depicts a man whose compassion and work ethic made him ‘Everybody’s Bishop’ in pit villages, rural communities and secular institutions across the county. The book is a sensitive but rigorous assessment of the virtues, strengths, vulnerabilities and limitations of a man who left a lasting legacy in Durham and whose ideas influenced thinking across the country.

The author, John S. Peart-Binns, is a critically acclaimed episcopographer of fifteen prominent twentieth century subjects. In 2008 he received an M.Phil. with distinction from the University of Leeds for his thesis on Establishment and Disesstablishment in the life, thought and work of Herbert Hensley Henson, Bishop of Durham. Born and brought up in Bradford, he now lives with his wife Annis in the hub of the universe, Hebden Bridge in the South Pennines.


An affectionate and critical assessment of Ian Ramsey’s time as Bishop of Durham … one of the many good things about this book is the affectionate but shrewd memoirs by those who knew Ramsey and worked with him.
Well researched and informative. It contains some very amusing and attractive photographs. Well worth a read.
Christ College Oxford
In his latest biography Peart-Binns has done a great service. He has reminded us of a great scholar and churchman whose work on a number of moral and ethical issues influenced the thought of a nation.
Canon Malcolm Grundy Teal Trust

If you would like to buy this book please visit:

Lord Graham of Edmonton - From Tyne To Thames
Lord Graham was born on Scotswood Road, Newcastle, 
in a time of hardship, Edward Graham began working for the Co-operative Movement in 1939. He joined the Royal Marines and was badly wounded whilst preparing for D Day in May 1944. 

He served as Prime Minister of the Tyneside Youth Parliament before going on to qualify in Secretarial and Management skills at the Co-operative College. In 1976 he achieved a BA through the Open University, who later awarded him the honorary degree of Master of the University. Lord Graham became a councillor in Enfield in 1960, going on to become Leader and served as Leader of the new London Borough of Enfield upon its creation in 1964. During this time, he fought his first Parliamentary election and in 1974 entered the Commons as Member for Edmonton, while acting as National Secretary for the Co-operative Party. During his parliamentary career, Lord Graham served as the Private Parliamentary Secretary to Alan Williams, the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the department headed by Shirley Williams, and served as a Lords Commissioner to the Treasury (Senior Whip), Opposition front bench spokesman on Sport, Defence and Northern Ireland and Opposition Chief Whip from 1990-1997. This is the story of a boy from depressed Newcastle who, despite leaving school at 14, always knew he was capable of gaining a degree. After achieving a BA through the Open University (becoming the first and only MP to do so) Lord Graham rose to become the Opposition Chief Whip in The House Of Lords and was invited by the Queen to become a Member of her Privy Council in the House of Lords. Ennobled in 1983, his never-failing enthusiasm for political life makes him a fascinating and incisive chronicler of the inner workings of the House of Lords, and the book is rounded off with affectionate pen portraits of many of the friends and colleagues with whom he shared his parliamentary years.

He remains an eloquent and passionate member of the Second Chamber, where he is currently enjoying life and continuing to play an important role in major debates.

Lord Graham recounts his experiences of growing up in poverty as the eldest of five children, his service in the Royal Marines where he was badly wounded by friendly fire and his advancement up the ladder of the Co-operative Movement where he received the greatest honour the Co-op can bestow, becoming President of Congress. He remembers with gratitude all those who have helped him throughout his career. A life-long member of the Labour Party, Lord Graham reveals an intimate view of the wilderness years of Conservative Government and pays tribute to the dedication of those Labour Peers who, in refusing to retire to ‘God’s Waiting Room’, carry on the fight, of course, via the usual channels.

the earlier chapters colourfully chart his growing up and describe the background into which he was born.
Melvyn Butcher

the book includes his difficult but hilarious battles with Tory peers during the 1980's when Labour peers were grossly outnumbered in the House of Lords
Enfield Independent

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Olga Rutherford Abrahams - A Geordie In Japan  
Olga Abrahams lives in Whitley Bay

A Geordie In Japan is the extraordinary story of Olga Abrahams and her journey from the North East of England to Japan and back again. She now lives in Whitley Bay a girl from a Northumbria mining village and a staunch atheist until her university years, Olga Abrahams was an unlikely missionary. Christianity led her into teaching and missionary work, first in China and then in 1952, Japan. She encountered a nation scarred by the catastrophes of World War II and undergoing a traumatic transition from military imperialism to liberal democracy. Left to fill a spiritual void created by Hirohito’s announcement that he was not, in fact, divine Christian missionaries faced great challenges. Supported by her husband Doug she learned the language, immersed herself in the culture and came to love the country and its people. Just as Japan changed during her time there, so too did Britain.

The country she left in 1952 was almost unrecognisable by 1985 and so Olga’s retirement and homecoming meant many readjustments. She threw herself into local politics and was elected as a Councillor in the London Borough of Harrow.

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

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Ray Gibbon - The Way It Was
Ray Gibbon lives in Witton Gilbert
The Way It Was, Tales from a Policeman’s Notebook is a well written and entertaining collection of short stories taken from the author’s time in three north-eastern police forces. Wittily illustrated with cartoons and pictures this book is an enthralling look at policing as it used to be. Packed full of amusing anecdotes from his police days Ray Gibbon also writes with great warmth about his family, colleagues and the many entertaining characters he meets in the course of his duties.

Ray Gibbon had a distinguished career, he served in three North-Eastern Police Forces; The Durham County Constabulary, the amalgamated Durham Constabulary and finally the Northumbria Police Force. He received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He spent many happy years serving with the Dog Section and has fond memories of his faithful partner Rebel. Post retirement Mr Gibbon spent his time doing voluntary work with various charities, such as the Samaritans. He also served for 20 years in the Citizens Advice Bureau; eventually he became a Durham City Councillor. He had the honour of serving as Mayor of the city in the year 2003/2004 and became an Alderman of Durham in 2008. He married Margaret Allen in 1956 and they have spent many happy years together, they have a son, daughter and 4 grandchildren


Wittily illustrated with cartoons and pictures this book is an enthralling look at policing as it used to be. Packed full of amusing anecdotes from his police days Ray Gibbon also writes with great warmth about his family, colleagues and the many entertaining characters he meets in the course of his duties.
National Association  Of Retired Police Officers (NARPO)

This thoroughly enjoyable memoir is a warm-hearted and nostalgic collection of tales from the past.
Chief Constabule of Durham Constabulary Jon Stoddart

The author chronicles his training as a dog handler, his experience of raiding a so-called massage parlour in the West Midlands and the eventual realisation that a policeman's lot, although not entirely unhappy, was not well rewarded. The reminisces of a policeman working in days before technology was applied to policing will be valid for the social historian and others interested in the wider topic of law and order.
Terry Gilder, Staffordshire Newspaper

Many of his stories are of what Dixon of Dock Green called an ordinary copper just patrolling his beat, and all the more fascinating, and more credible, for it.

Ray is well known to a number of members - as a policeman, active City councillor and City Mayor in 2003-2004.  He came to us today to recount some of the incidents in a long career in the police force and to reflect on the way things change.  I particularly liked his story of the snow shoes which were part of the equipment at Greenside Police Station - winters could be bleak up there.  Ray told us how they were eventually replaced by a Land Rover - the snow shoes never went out but the Land Rover was never in!
Ray had kept many of his "official" pocketbooks and these have proved to be a rich source of recollections, leading, eventually, and much persuasion, to the publication of a book - and I'm sure he won't mind me reproducing the cover above.
In proposing a vote of thanks to Ray, Grenville Holland (City Mayor 2008-2009) praised him for his long and effective public service and stressed the importance of the "beat bobby" - one of the four pillars of a peaceful community - the priest, doctor, teacher and policeman.  Has their absence lead to the "broken society"?
Rotary Club of Durham

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Peter R. Shuker - Half a Century of Further Education                     
Peter Shuker lives in Darlington
Sitting somewhat uncomfortably between compulsory and higher education, further education has often been referred to as “the Cinderella of English education”. This book traces the progress of the sector from the early 1950s to the beginning of the 21st Century. In doing so, it identifies many of the key issues that helped transform colleges from relatively low status organisations to purposeful institutions providing an excellent vocational educational experience to millions of people. This book traces the progress of the sector from the early 1950s to the beginning of the 21st Century. In doing so, it identifies many of the key issues that helped transform colleges from relatively low status organisations to purposeful institutions providing an excellent vocational educational experience to millions of people. The author recounts his personal experiences in five colleges, including a college of education, and documents his involvement in local, regional, national and international initiatives to raise the quality of opportunities for students in colleges. One of his driving ambitions was to promote the use of developing digital technologies to enhance the learning experiences of students, giving them more control over their own progress, studying at a time and location that could best meet their needs.

Peter Shuker’s nineteen years as a college principal at Darlington enables him to give a unique personal account of the challenges that faced managers and college staff when coming to terms with the radical changes imposed on the sector during the last half century.   

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Brian Greenwood - Shop!

Brian Greenwood lives in Harrogate
Brian Greenwood has led a widely varied life as Chairman of Britain's largest privately owned menswear chain, Chairman of numerous property companies and as the longest serving Chairman of any Public School. His sporting interests have ranged from Athletics to Deer Stalking. His family and business life have seen both triumphs and tragedies.
His life has been a complex tapestry with many colours and hues. Its story will be enjoyed by all who read it.
He and his wife Enid live near Harrogate; they have a son and daughter and four adult children.

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

'Brian Greenwood's life could make a novel. In fact, he's now writing three thrillers based on his experiences.'
Chris Holland, Telegraph & Argus

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David C Fanthorpe - Little Tyke 
David Fanthorpe lives in Castle Eden
This fascinating, lightly written, and sometimes funny autobiography of an unlikely captain of industry is an inspiring account of the extra-ordinary rise of a boy from “ ragged working class childhood obscurity  in the 1940’s to the Boardrooms of Europe and the U.S.A. in the 1980’s and 1990’s”. He recounts his Doncaster Grammar School education followed by a First Class Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Bradford and this sets the scene for a career in Industry and the business world. He could not have envisaged in those early days that this early aspirations would take him to the position of European Vice President of the Black and Decker Corporation in Spennymoor prior to his retirement in 1995. He tells the story of the times he lived through, giving an informed, light commentary on “the struggle by British manufacturing industry to compete in the increasingly hostile and rapidly changing post War commercial world and the birth of Globalisation”. His account of life in the Global business world brought him into contact with fascinating people including politicians, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, captains of international industry and ordinary working people.  Remarkably, he treats them all, including the politicians, in the same irreverent affectionate terms as the factory girl. He now lives in Castle Eden.

Copies are available from Lynn Davidson  mob 0755 2086888