Everybody seems to have a Blog these days. I would not want to commit myself to keeping one up to date, but perhaps it is time I revived the idea of a monthly Newsletter. This will give me an opportunity to mention some new or proposed developments, perhaps answer a few regular questions, and keep you all in touch with the growth of the series.
This first Newsletter must also play the rôle of looking back over last year, albeit a little belatedly. With 126 new titles during 2009, I think we kept up the momentum of the series pretty well, even though the balance of titles may sometimes seem uneven. A total of 31 'Inch to the Mile' maps may seem an excessive proportion, but this reflects our aim of completing coverage of England and Wales at this scale by the end of 2010. A total of 26 maps for Greater London - the most there for some time - was helped by the good range of 1930s maps for Middlesex we are now able to publish. These areas were followed at some distance by Wales, with 13 titles, and Lancashire/Cheshire and Yorkshire with 12 each. Yorkshire included the surprise bestseller of the year, with the group of four maps for Mirfield. In Lancashire we could, I must say, publish far more if we could find the authors for its urban areas. So if you can write, have a feel for a place, with perhaps a decent knowledge of industry (collieries? mills? transport?) and urban development, do get in touch with us.
We especially like authors who can deliver quickly. The fact that we are - finally - making progress in south Wales is largely due to Derrick Pratt, who is always so prompt at delivering his copy. Many is the time we get a phone call from Derrick, to the effect that he "is bored and wants something to write". At a quick count we published 17 maps with notes by Derrick during 2009 and 16 with notes by Barrie Trinder, with whose help we are pushing ahead rapidly with the One Inch series. There is obviously something about the Shropshire air, and reflecting that I lived there for many years myself, I wonder whether it is why I write rather too many notes myself!
If we could not have made such good progress without Derrick and Barrie, so we could not have got anywhere at all in Germany without Ellen Stramplat, whose help has gone far beyond the short German translations she provides. We have occasionally been asked (in England, not in Germany) why we provide a 3,000 word English text and only about 1,200 words in German. The real answer is that there simply is so little in English on the Ruhrgebiet, while German readers have a host of material readily available, most of it far more authoratative than I could provide. I am very excited about these maps, something of a shot in the dark when we started, with the cautious proviso that we would "publish at least five". I am now confident we will be able to reprint all 18 maps in the series and are looking at other possible ventures abroad.
This is the natural place to welcome a new member to our team, Heike Hamilton, who has been working for us one day a week since the beginning of February. It is invaluable to have a German speaker in the office to deal with emails and occasional phone calls (Frau Stramplat says that she always speaks to me in English because "my German does her head in"). So if you are in Germany and wish to speak to us in your native language, phone us on Wednesdays between 10.30 and 15.30!) Now we just need to conquer the new German keyboard.
Not everything succeeds, of course, and we do not plan to publish any more coloured Inch to the Mile maps, for which sales have been disappointing. We are also cautious about smaller market towns - places such as Boroughbridge and Chesham - whose obvious attraction to visitors is seldom reflected in sales figures. But overall, we are confident about the future, and a best ever February against the background of the 'Credit Crunch' was a real encouragement.
March has become a special month for us because we sponsor an opera in our local Empire Theatre in Consett. This year Swansea City Opera will be bringing Donizetti's Elixir of Love (L'Elisir d'Amore for purists) on Thursday 26th March. It's always a great occasion, so if you are in the area do come along and join us. At £15 a ticket it is somewhat cheaper than Covent Garden, and the Consett Empire is a surprisingly good theatre for small scale opera. If you want further information contact either box office at 01207-218171 or phone Donna in our office, at the number below.
Return to Index The Godfrey Edition / firstname.lastname@example.org revised 12 March 2009