2012 - 2013
All for the Empire: the History of Swindon's Historic Theatre, by Roger Trayhurn and Mark Child. By the time that he reached his 30th birthday, Ernest Carpenter had already revived three previously ailing theatres, and was building a new one in Swindon, a town with no tradition of music hall and very little theatrical experience. The New Queen's Theatre opened in 1898, and became the Empire in 1907. For more than half a century successive managements struggled to find a programming policy that Swindon audiences were prepared to support. This book, by two respected and well known authorities on Swindon, takes the reader from they heyday of music hall and melodrama to the swan song of variety, played out on the provincial stage. An appendix includes details of every production. April 2013, 347 pages, illustrations, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-27-3.
Life in an English Village, an Economic and Historical Survey of the Parish of Corsley in Wiltshire, by Maud F Davies, edited with an introductory essay by Jane Howells. Reprint of a classic study of village life, first published in 1909, which caused controversy locally when it first appeared, because of its frank descriptions of the lives of supposedly anonymous villagers. The author, a pioneer sociologist who had studied at the London School of Economics under Sidney and Beatrice Webb, died under mysterious circumstances four years after her book was published, and this edition, marking the centenary of her death, is prefaced by an important introductory essay about Maud Davies's life, work and tragic death, by Dr Jane Howells. March 2013, x, 317 pages, illustrations and tables, paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-05-1.
Wiltshire Village Reading Rooms, by Ivor Slocombe.Until the 1920s a reading room was to be found in most rural communities. This pioneering study explores a little-known Victorian social movement through its surviving buildings in villages throughout Wiltshire. Published for the Wiltshire Buildings Record. March 2012, 104 pages + 32 pages of colour illustrations, paperback, £8.00, ISBN 978-0-946418-91-6.
The Roman Villa at Box, by Mark Corney. Brings together in non-technical language all that is known about one of the most opulent and richly-appointed villas in Roman Britain. Published for the KOBRA Trust on behalf of Box Archaeological & Natural History Society. July 2012, 128 pages, illustrated (mostly colour), hardback, £9.95, ISBN 978-0-946418-93-0.
A Motcombe Miscellany, by Laurence Clark. The author, who has written for many years about his village, near Shaftesbury on the Dorset–Wiltshire border, has collected the best of his essays about its people, places and events. September 2012, 199 pages, profusely illustrated, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-07-5.
Bristol’s Stage Coaches, by Dorian Gerhold. Groundbreaking study of all aspects of coaching between Bristol, Bath and London, and Bristol and other destinations, by the acknowledged authority on pre-railway road transport. A scholarly but readable treatment which penetrates the romantic veneer to provide the key to understanding the stagecoach system as a whole. October 2012, 326 pages, illustrations, maps and tables, paperback, £17.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-15-0.
Bere Regis & District Motor Services: the Life and Times of Country Busmen, by Andrew Waller. For decades the largest independent bus company in southern England, Bere Regis and District served much of rural Dorset with an endearing and eccentric assortment of vehicles and characters, memorably celebrated in this social history of a much-loved institution. November 2012, 166 pages, profusely illustrated with some colour, A4 hardback, £25.00, ISBN 978-0-946418-85-5.
Putting on Panto to pay for the Pinter: Henry Marshall Pantomimes at Salisbury Playhouse, 1955 to 1985, by Chris Abbott. Foreword by Stephanie Cole. Hilarious and sometimes moving account of a fondly-remembered thirty-year run of pantomimes, drawn from interviews with performers, and including a complete transcript of Henry Marshall’s gagbook, a unique pantomime survival. November 2012, 316 pages, illustrated, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-26-6.
May 2013. Bulford in the Nineteenth Century, by Peter Ball.Detailed social history, researched over many years, of a rural Salisbury Plain community as it evolved over the decades immediately before life changed for ever as it was transformed into an army garrison. Paperback, ISBN 978-1-906978-21-1.
Coming soon. A Tour in search of Gold, by A Pedestrian (Nick Cowen). Final exciting episode of the trilogy, chronicling Henry Chalk's adventures and misadventures exploring early 19th-century antiquarian Wessex in a series of spoof letters to his uncle.
Coming soon. A Swindon Companion, by Mark Child. Everything you could possibly want to know about one of the largest towns in central southern England.
Early 2013. Swimming without Mangoes, by David R. Bradshaw. Second volume of memoirs by Montserrat-born author who grew up in Swindon during the 1960s and 1970s, and went on to become a successful lawyer and law lecturer. Paperback, ISBN 978-1-906978-29-7.