‘Human Vermin’

On Thursday 1 December 1904, five refugee families made landfall next to the Tower of London. Displaced, they were escaping from harsh new laws that the German government was enacting against travellers (a process that soon saw all gipsies fingerprinted and eventually led to Hitler’s death camps). Some in Britain were welcoming, but most were… Continue reading ‘Human Vermin’

The Man in the Tower

In 1533 England is gripped by terrible convulsions following Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and the break from Rome. Robert Dalyvell is imprisoned, suspected of spying. When he is released, he is missing his ears. Just three years on in 1536 Anne has lost not her ears but her head, and Dalyvell will soon… Continue reading The Man in the Tower

Learning to be human

Why (and what) do I read? It’s a very good question. I was chuffed recently to be asked to contribute some thoughts to Chris Lee’s Bookworms blog about why I love reading. It was good to torture my braincells into remembering what I actually read when I was a child, and how my reading habits… Continue reading Learning to be human

Gallipoli and the gilded goat: Royston in the Great War

Towards the end of February 1915 Melbourn Road echoed to the sound of two thousand aching feet. The 5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers had marched the paltry thirteen miles from Cambridge (nothing compared to their usual route marches) and were to collapse that night into makeshift beds hastily found for them by the… Continue reading Gallipoli and the gilded goat: Royston in the Great War

Surviving the pandemic…

In his report the Medical Officer recommends ‘the immediate breaking up of all the schools at Royston, at Foxton, and at Thriplow.’ It starts with a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Within a day a rash develops on the stomach or chest and spreads over the whole body. The cheeks of infected children… Continue reading Surviving the pandemic…

Finding Roger Britten…

Proceeding up-stairs we came first against a printing press, with which an intelligent looking African was printing off copies of a handbill… Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser Saturday 17 May 1856 I was not looking for Roger, but those words in an article about a small-town exhibition had me hooked. – Why was… Continue reading Finding Roger Britten…

In Black and White | Roger Britten | Royston’s Printer

Columbian Printing Press similar to the one Roger Britten operated

I’m excited to be able to share details of a project that I have been collaborating on with the composer Jenni Pinnock and artist Stacey Leigh Ross for Black History month (October). Some time ago – while looking for something else – I came across reference to Roger Britten is an old newspaper. He was… Continue reading In Black and White | Roger Britten | Royston’s Printer

Cracked Voices pamphlet

ISBN 978-0-9524753-2-3 48pp One Tree Publishing (UK)

ISBN 978-0-9524753-2-3 48pp One Tree Publishing (UK) The Cracked Voices 48 page pamphlet featuring the stories and poems from the lost borderlands of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire is now on sale. Proceeds will go to help with the restoration of Royston Parish Church which was badly damaged by fire in December 2018. The pamphlet is available… Continue reading Cracked Voices pamphlet