History and Biography

(Code: 978-1-909548-49-7)
Family Fables How to Write and Publish the Story of YOUR family
by Maisie Robson, with Steve Rudd
(2015) 9 in x 6 in, 142pp., pbk

"...a well presented, no nonsense book that encourages and inspires. I would recommend it to anyone interested in presenting their family story in a creative way, irrespective of whether you hope to get as far as publishing, you are sure to pick up useful tips on how to turn your years of research into an interesting volume for family and friends."

 Reviewed by Philippa McCray, Administrator,  FFHS [Federation of Family History Societies] August 2015

"An easy and inspiring read with superb pointers on how to give your book the narrative drive to make it a page-turner. Perfect for family historians looking for a new challenge"

Karen Clare, writing in Family Tree Magazine, December 2015 issue.

"The book has much sound and sensible practical wisdom about writing your family history... recommended... "

- Alan Crosby, Honorary Research Fellow at Lancaster and Liverpool Universities and editor of The Local Historian, writing in Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, March 2016

Family history research is more popular today than it has ever been, with many genealogists spending years accumulating boxes of notes, pedigrees and photocopies.  A constant worry is how to organise it all - and what will happen to it when you pass on.  The solution is to turn your family history project into a book.   Using three simple planning techniques and taking you step by step through the process, Family Fables explains how to organise your research, how to turn it into a story, and how to present the resulting book for publication.  Maisie Robson brings some exciting new gifts to the party. It is time, she argues, to take family history research and apply some of the techniques of creative writing to give your family’s story some colour, some light and shade, and transform your research from a collection of notes, printouts, scribbled family trees, photocopies and old photographs, and turn it into a vibrant chronicle which is not only potentially enthralling, but also possibly marketable.  Originally published in 2006, to considerable acclaim, that edition has now been completely revised, re-set and updated, with additional new material on the mechanics of publishing and marketing, and the realities of the modern publishing world, by Steve Rudd.    If you are capable of researching your family history, you are capable of writing a book. If you are capable of writing a book, you are capable of getting it published. Let Family Fables show you how...


(Code: 978 1 872438 70 2)
Jordan's Guide to British Steam Locomotives by Owen Jordan
(2003) 234 x153mm illustrated, pbk.,

On first consideration, one could be forgiven for asking why anyone would want to write yet another book on steam trains. Surely the subject is dead as the proverbial dodo, and the amount of hot air which has already been expended on it would fill the boilers of all the steam engines that ever were, with plenty to spare?

Ah, but this one is different. Author Owen Jordan re-tells a story which grows more amazing with each telling. From the railway's early origins as a crude horse-and-gravity means of getting coal tubs from the pit head to the canal basin, through the eventual mastery of technical problems by "derring-do", industrial espionage and experiments (some more disastrous than others) the coming of commercial interests, and the almost inevitable resulting clash between what was best for the railways, and what was most profitable for the shareholders, the author then charts the drastic impact of the two world wars, the struggle to innovate through the balmy but becalmed days of the 1930s, and the inevitability of the advent of British Railways and with it the end of the steam age. 

This is a story which has more than its share of characters, all of them larger than life, and some of their names form a familiar tapestry of railway poetry; Stephenson, Trevithick, Gresley, Stainier, Bulleid. Not to mention the names of their creations, the Atlantics, the Pacifics, the Britannias, the Royal Scots, the Castles and the Kings. This guide, then, is a book which will appeal at two levels. All those who have ever spent either a cold winter day or a warm summer afternoon with thermos flask and notebook on the end of the platform just to see the Flying Scotsman speed by en route from Doncaster to York, and smelt the steam and coal as she thundered past, will find plenty of detail here to satisfy them, even if they already know every cog of a valve actuation gear and can cobble together an inside piston valve from spares found in a Barry Island scrapyard, while the interested general reader will find much to enthrall them, in a story which sees intrigue, romance, stupidity and greed triumphing while good ideas are shunted into the siding of history forever, a story which is crucially interwoven with the history of Britain at every critical juncture over the last two hundred years, and explains in no small way how the train system came to its present sorry impasse.

This is a book for all those whose imagination is stirred by grainy 1930's Ministry of Information films about the night mail crossing the border and pulling up Beattock, a book which tells it as it really was, about a myth that never was, but which still continues to grip our imagination.

(Code: 978 1 872438 93 8)
RailwaymenThe Organization and Staffing of an Edwardian Railway
by Maisie Robson
Foreword by Owen Jordan
(2009) 9in x 6in., illustrated, pbk.,
(Code: 978 1 872438 37 5)
Jordan's Guide to English Churches by Owen Jordan
(2000) 234 x 153mm, illustrated, pbk.,

(Code: 978 1 872438 16 4)
Traces of The Templarsby George F. Tull
(2000, reprinted 2007) 234 x 153mm, illustrated, pbk.,

(Code: 978 1 872438 17 7)
An Unrepentant EnglishmanThe Life and Times of S. P. B. Mais, Ambassador of the Countryside
by Maisie Robson
(2005) 198 x 127mm., illustrated, pbk.,

"This biography is no sentimental memoir of an affable eccentric. Alongside other aspects of an engaging character - cricket, teaching, - it examines his powerful contribution to the outdoor movement" - THE RAMBLER (magazine of the Ramblers' Association).

"...a lucid and intelligent biography of one of the more popular writers and broadcasters of the inter-war years... a pleasantly-produced, short account of a once well-known writer and broadcaster. Mais was very much in need of a biography, and this does the task well... the publishers can be commended for producing an attractive book at a very competitive price." - THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

(Code: 9781872438337)
Arthur Mee's Dream of England by Maisie Robson
(2003) A5, illustrated, pbk.,

Arthur Henry Mee (1875-1943) the editor of The Children's Newspaper and The Children's Encyclopaedia, lived at a pivotal time in England's history. Born during an era of imperial expansion and confidence, he saw the trauma and upheaval of the First World War - reporting from the trenches - and the shrinking of the British Empire, yet, paradoxically, amidst depression and unemployment in his home country, he became one of the ablest chroniclers of all the good things in our nation's story, and an inspiration to a whole generation.

Mee was one of the best-known and prolific journalists of his day: a one-off original, an Englishman of the type they just don't make today. It is very difficult to conceive of any of today's journalists having both his crusading zeal, prolific output, and national profile. He was both a lifelong believer in self-education and the ability of people to raise themselves up by their own efforts, and an implacable opponent of the power of drink, reserving some of his most vitriolic and passionate prose to heap wrath and invective on the heads of those whom he saw as responsible for alcohol's ills. This new biography, originally issued to mark the 60th anniversary of Mee's death, examines in detail his remarkable output and what his books tell us about England and Englishness. Topics that in many ways, as we face the challenges of the 21st century, are just as relevant as they were in Mee's lifetime, perhaps even more so.

(Code: 978 0 9542138 0 4)
1906: Every Man For Himself!by Maisie Robson
(2002) A5, pbk.,