Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WORLD WAR ONE DISPLAY AT BILLERICAY, ESSEX

Downloading photos from Billericay Cater Museum's World War One commemoration day on Saturday held at the Reading Rooms.  Uniforms were authentic and were worn by the splendid re-enactment group organised by the Western Front Association. Met so many super people looking after the displays and memorabilia. Really enjoyed this and also the lecture during the evening organised by Karen and Steve Dennis - superb!  This is the first of five lectures to be held each year till 2018.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MICHELLE WARD PRESENTER AT RADIO PHOENIX 98FM WELCOMES AMBERLEY AUTHORS

Jessica Michelle and Sylvia
Yep - me again.  Currently working on publicity for my new book BARKING & DAGENHAM FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS - whew! Two years of research and interviewing for this, my 10th book.  Michelle Ward invited me into studio with my friend and SWWJ colleague Karen Bowman (left) whose books Essex Girls and Essex Boys were the topic on this morning's programme. 

Always a warm welcome in the studio at Brentwood. Karen's books are a dream for folk interested in Essex (and national) history, full of fascinating characters, from kings and queens to nuns and novices and I learnt such a lot from reviewing (check back in the top left hand box of this weblog to July 2010 when I reviewed her Essex Girls). Karen's meticulous research is appreciated and I'm glad that she will be bringing out a new book Codpieces and Corsets next spring - must buy that one. Sounds fun! Jessica from the Mayflower School in Billericay is currently helping Michelle in the studio - a bright 15-year-old student. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SWWJ CELEBRATES A RATHER SPECIAL BIRTHDAY IN LONDON

SWWJ President Victoria Wood with members Pamela Payne and Patrick Forsyth 
Wonderful day at Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, London yesterday. As readers will know, our Society celebrated 120 years' existence as probably the world's oldest and most renowned writers' organisation.  Created by a lovely gentleman Mr Joseph Snell Wood (1853-1920), this excellent chap put up the money, arranged for offices and meeting rooms for us and generally created a society that has endured. We are proud of our members throughout the last century and today linked to some of the world's most famous journalists, novelists, playwrights, poets; in fact any professional women (and now men) who earn a living from the printed word.  The service at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, was enhanced with beautiful music from the choir and address by our Life President,Baroness Williams of Crosby (Shirley Williams) and Libby Purves - breathtaking! Simon Brett read his very special poem dedicated to THE WOMAN WRITER and we appreciated the presence of so many super people who attended and spoke so movingly.
Pamela Birley and Lady Shirley Williams
 
Lunch at the Stationers' Livery Hall in Ave Maria Lane was brilliant.  Ann Widdecombe gave such a good talk - witty and amusing, as always and it was lovely to listen to Victoria Wood, such a joy.  Had a super time and a chance to catch up with family and friends.   
Val Dunmore, Ann Widdecombe & Master of the Stationers' Livery Company Ian Locks


Valerie Dunmore, Barbara Field-Holmes, Sylvia Kent

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MY NEW BOOK ARRIVED IN BOOK STORES TODAY - SURPRISING IMAGES WITHIN!

Well, here it is - my tenth book published by Amberley - first of the batch arrived this morning and am working my way through it, checking details.  It took about 18 months to research and write. One or two of my previously published books took far longer to produce. I'm not new to this work, but this time I travelled much more than I usually do, living some way from the Borough.  So grateful to such kind folk for spending time reflecting on years gone by and supplying some very interesting photographs for this book.  I love the front cover which shows Barking Curfew round about the turn of the last century.  This leads to St Margaret's Church, Barking and has special resonance for me and my family. See page 26 - tempus fugit!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

ISLE OF WIGHT TRIP LAST WEEK - FABULOUS WEATHER SUPERB AT NORTON GRANGE

So lucky with weather last week - wonderful trip to the Island - discovered the home of our Society's (SWWJ) first President - Pearl Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes)  circa 1894, helped somewhat by two well informed chaps in the Ryde District Heritage Centre in Royal Victoria Arcade Museum. Pearl is pictured below.  You know, people are so kind in helping writers seeking research information.


An extra bonus from visiting the Ryde Historic Society Centre was learning about the world's most famous cartoonist Donald McGill (I feel a feature coming on!) with a dedicated space to him and his rather saucy postcards. Really enjoyed visiting there and will come back one day when we are on the this island. Even interviewed the postie taking the mail on WightLink ferry  to the island - whatta nice lively  boy - full of historical anecdotes. Norton Grange was good, too, highly professional entertainment team - far superior to some of the London scene groups.  Food magnificent!  100 star jumps each day to work off the extra weight. Maybe should have stayed a week as the Isle of Wight Literary Festival starts soon. 
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