Hobnob Press

Gloucestershire - New for 2022

‘He Went About doing Good’ by David Elder

The life of Dr Edward Thomas Wilson of Cheltenham has never before been told. Overshadowed both by his son, the Antarctic explorer who perished with Captain Scott at the South Pole, and his brother, renowned for his heroic attempt to rescue General Gordon at Khartoum, his story is intriguingly complex. A municipal pioneer of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he instigated modern medical practices, such as isolation fever hospitals, district nursing and clean drinking water. A supporter of science and art he opened the museum which now bears his family’s name, and promoted libraries and the local School of Art. A founder of the local camera club (the sixth oldest in the country) he pioneered photomicrography as an amateurs’ pursuit, and contributed to numerous associations, not least as President of the Cheltenham Natural Science Society. ‘No man has done so much as he to stimulate and promote the intellectual life of the town’ proclaimed one of his obituaries in 1918, while the epitaph on his gravestone reads simply, ‘He went about doing good’. Drawing on previously unpublished material and sources, this is the first in-depth biography of one of life’s ‘quiet’ heroes. January 2022, xiv, 276pp, illustrated (some colour) paperback, £15.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-25-3.

The Grand Tour Diaries of William Guise, from Lausanne to Rome edited by Paul and Jane Butler

William Guise, later Sir William Guise, 5th Baronet of Elmore, travelled in Switzerland and Italy in 1764 in the company of Edward Gibbon, the historian. Two journals chronicling in great detail the first part of their tour, from Lausanne to Florence, Rome and other Italian cities, and the cultural sites and artefacts that they saw, have survived in the archives of Elmore Court, Gloucestershire, which was the Guise family home. Despite their historic and cultural interest, there has until now been no full transcription of these journals (totalling 83,000 words) apart from some references to them in an edition of Gibbon's diaries. As well as perceptive comments and opinions on the architecture, statues, pictures and other works of art which they saw, there are extensive references to military matters and fortifications; to the politics and governance of the towns of Northern Italy and to travel and lodging issues. The journals illustrate the serious nature of the Grand Tour as undertaken by Guise and his better known travelling companion, Edward Gibbon. March 2022, xviii, 190pp, illustrated (some colour) hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-30-7.

Gloucestershire ~ New for 2021

Johannes Kip, the Gloucestershire Engravings, edited by Anthea Jones

Three hundred years ago, in 1721, the ‘Dutch engraver’ Johannes Kip died suddenly after more than thirty years spent in England as a renowned printmaker. Gloucestershire owes him a special commemoration in 2021 as the draughtsman and also engraver of more than 60 prints, executed between 1707 and 1710, of the houses, gardens and landscape settings of gentry houses and mansions. The short commentary which accompanies a large-sized reproduction of each print in this book has pointers to the details and to the history of the house and the family. There are examples of old and relatively new houses, large houses and relatively modest ones, elaborate gardens and extensive estates, splendid views reaching to the shipping on the rivers bounding the county on the west, or more limited ones of local hills. Two engravings of Gloucester are presented first (one of the cathedral was published before Atkyns’ book in 1712), and then the sequence of parishes starts with Wick Court, appropriately the least altered of all the houses portrayed.

March 2021, 174pp, colour illustrated large format hardback, £20.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-99-0; also available in paperback, August 2021, £16.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-17-8. Published in association with Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust

Colesbourne: a Gloucestershire Village History, by Henry Elwes

The Cotswold village of Colesbourne straddles the picturesque valley of the River Churn, as it descends from Seven Springs to Cirencester. Since the 1780s, the historic Colesbourne Estate has been in the ownership of the Elwes family. It was Henry John Elwes who in the 1870s began Colesbourne's now world-famous snowdrop collection. In this new account, Sir Henry Elwes, who served from 1992 to 2010 as Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, draws on unique estate and family archives to paint a vivid picture of a community that saw many changes in the 20th century, yet still thrives today. A fascinating blend of local and personal histories, the book is profusely illustrated, many of the images being published here for the first time.

July 2021, vi+234pp, colour illustrated paperback, £12.50, ISBN 978-1-914407-03-1

Gloucestershire ~ recent titles

Gloucester up for the Cup: Gloucester Rugby in Cup Competitions, by Malc King, with Jim Smith and Dick Williams

A comprehensive record of matches played by Gloucester Rugby in cup competitions – from the early 1900s, when cup rugby was rather frowned upon, to victory in the first national knockout competition in 1972, to the highs and lows, glory and despair, of cup matches up to 2019. Richly illustrated with photographs of these often epic encounters, this book will bring back memories of Gloucester competing in English, Anglo-Welsh and European Cup campaigns. The Club’s participation in Tens and Sevens rugby is also covered. This is the third book to have been produced by Gloucester Rugby Heritage, a charity run by volunteers, and supported by Gloucester Rugby and Gloucestershire Archives. February 2020, 212pp, illustrations (many in colour), large format hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-59-4.

Crusader with Compassion: Dr Walter Hadwen, Gloucester GP, 1854-1932, by Michael Till

Walter Hadwen (1854-1932) moved to Gloucester in 1896 as a family doctor at the request of the local population, to advise them following a disastrous smallpox epidemic. He engendered great loyalty from his patients and community. He fought for improvements in local housing conditions and schools. His views and popularity caused antipathy among his medical colleagues. He served his patients with understanding and sympathy but his enemies were intent on challenging his opinions. An opportunity arose to confront publicly his clinical judgement in court. He stood by his sincerely held principles which would not be shaken. His influence as an antivivisectionist and antivaccinationist were felt world-wide. He was a man of passion and conviction and, as a gifted orator, was able to convince the listener that his views were irrefutable. Michael Till was until retirement himself a GP working in the practice which continued after Hadwen’s death, and bears his name. December 2019, 192pp, ill. (some colour) paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-78-5 (also available as a hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-79-2).

Concordant Cheltenham: the making of a musical town, 1716-1944, by Graham Lockwood

The author takes a journey through the accounts of many musical events in Cheltenham over more than two centuries,  and writes about those that he believes were important in establishing the foundation upon which Cheltenham became home to a music festival of national importance. August 2018, 148 pages, illustrations, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-53-2.

Sir George Dowty, In His Own Words

Sir George Dowty (1901-1975) was a noted inventor and businessman, who pioneered many components used in the aviation industry before, during, and after the Second World War, and founded a string of companies which bore his name. He was a major employer in the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury area of Gloucestershire (as his successor companies still are), a prominent and respected figure in the world of engineering, and a generous supporter of causes in Gloucestershire and elsewhere. His typescript autobiography, dictated shortly before his death, was discovered recently by his son, and is now published for the first time. It offers a unique insight into the drive and enthusiasm of an exceptional man, and of the fledgling aircraft industry of which he played a major part.

December 2020, 158pp, ill. paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-94-5; also jacketed casebound, £16.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-95-2

Ron Swore, by Norman Beale

This book blends biography with military and social history. But it is also a tribute, driven by gratitude. If the story had ended differently the author would never have existed. After Dr Norman Beale retired, he took up family history. For some years he managed to backtrack only one generation – there was so much to discover about his late father, Ron.

            Ron Swore begins with a teenager taking an oath to serve ‘king and country’ in the British Army. It ends a decade later, in 1945; a young man having lost his youth to battle trauma, cruelty and slavery. Such was ‘Ron’s war’.  His unit, the 2nd ‘Glosters’, had been part of the forgotten Dunkirk rearguard, sacrificed to allow more than 300,000 other Allied soldiers to be evacuated from France and to fight another day.

            Ron survived five years as a prisoner of war, calling on stoicism and survival instinct and saved from starvation by the International Red Cross. When he escaped – from a death march – he and a comrade were secreted and supported by a Czech family who showed incredible courage and humanity.

            Eventually, back in England, he did as so many of his generation – he promptly closed this chapter of his life. There would be no reminiscences, no reunions and, if possible, no recollections. It was all too painful. Putting the lid down and sitting on it was the only therapy for what we now call ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’. This made the story a difficult salvage exercise - for the author, but hopefully not for the reader.

December 2020, 146pp, illustrated paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-97-6


Gloucestershire ~ older titles

Representative Rugby at Kingsholm: international, county, & invitation teams, by Malc King, with Dick Williams

Ever since the Kingsholm ground opened in 1891, both international and county trial matches had been staged there, and this hotbed of rugby has been a favoured venue for representative matches, with teams from around the world keen to experience its special atmosphere. International sides representing 21 different countries have played at Kingsholm, touring

sides have been eager to include it in their itineraries, and celebratory games brought invitational sides featuring many of the leading players of their era. This book recounts all these matches, bringing back memories of great games and famous players, who have graced the Kingsholm turf with their many and varied skills, spurred on by the passionate rugby supporters of Gloucester. The author is chairman of Gloucester Rugby Heritage, on whose behalf Hobnob has published this book, a sequel to the history of Kingsholm itself, published in 2016. December 2017, 250 pages, fully illustrated in colour, large format casbound, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-46-4.

Kingsholm: Castle Grim, Home of Gloucester Rugby, the Official History, by Malc King.

Rugby has been integral to the life of Gloucester since its club was founded in 1873, and the club and its iconic stadium at Kingsholm are world famous. After the documents of its history were deposited in Gloucestershire Archives in 2007 (almost literally its next-door neighbour) a team of enthusiasts, led by Malc King, set about cataloguing them and extracting from them the club’s illustrious and sometimes surprising history. This full-colour large format illustrated hardback book is the first product of their work, offering a comprehensive history of the club, its ground and its players. Hobnob Press has produced it for Gloucester Rugby Heritage, a charity which promotes community development and education around the city’s proudest asset. 2016, 304pp colour illustrated hardback, £19.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-39-6. NOTE: This title is not sold by me, but is available from Gloucester Rugby Club.

The Legacy, by Sally Guise

A light hearted account of life in an English country house, Elmore Court near Gloucester, in the late 1900s and early 2000s, where the Guise family (one of the oldest families in England) lived - deeply committed to their local community. . . and probably the last time the house will ever be used as a family home. Completed shortly before the author’s death and published on behalf of her family. August 2017, 96 pages, colour illustrations, casebound, large format, £10.00, ISBN 978-1-906978-16-7. 

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