Books in print

I have been writing ever since I left school, mainly for local newspapers and magazines.  My first book was Central Leicester which was published by Tempus Publishing in 2005. 

In 2007,  publisher Alan Sutton invited me to compile Leicester Through Time for his new Amberley Publishing imprint.   Several other titles for Amberley followed.

A commission from Pen & Sword Books led to the publication of British Retail which was published in hardback in 2018.   This tells the story of the men and women behind the most familiar High Street brands.  

I now have twenty-six books in print including some reprints. All are available from local bookshops, national chains, and the usual online suppliers.

British Retail

" Back in 1917, it was a novel idea for customers could walk through a grocery store - or a grocereteria, as some were known - with a basket and select items from the shelves. When Clarence Saunders opened his first such store in Memphis Tennessee he called it Piggly Wiggly - charming and quirky, but hardly relevant to the super efficient highly organised popular shopping venues we know as supermarkets today.

This gem of marketing history is one of many from local author Stephen Butt's recently published book which is a fascinating account of the beginnings of many of Britain's best known retail outlets, which were often the result of enterprise by one man and often launched from a market stall or even a barrow.

Given Leicester's long standing reputation for successful business enterprise it is hardly surprising that there are many local names in this well researched volume by a well known local history specialist who has a score or so of published books to his credit.

Local names such as Wilkinson, Corah, Walkers, Adderley, Curry, Joseph Johnson, Thomas Cook and George Davies are all here, with their early efforts to establish businesses based on a variety of products from socks to potato crisps, bicycles to holidays, while from elsewhere there are Boots, Lyons, Cadburys and many more.

In an era when the decline of the High Street is being attributed to the increase in on-line shopping, this is a reminder of how many retail giants began from tiny beginnings and as little as £10, developed by sheer hard work, self belief and an instinct for providing the public with what they needed and wanted, this history is timely and thought provoking."

(Review by Joan Stephens, former Women's Editor and Features Writer, Leicester Mercury)

Published in hardcover by Pen & Sword, August 2018
208 pages. £19.99

Historic England : Leicester

This illustrated history is a nostalgic look at Leicester's past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sites.

The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of over 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England's archaeology, architecture, social and local history.  Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts.

Leicester has been at the very heart of the country's political and economic development for over two millennia.  Historic England: Leicester shows the city as it once was, from its churches, parks, streets and alleyways to its Victorian mills and textile factories.

Published in softcover by Amberley Publishng in association with Historic England, August 2018
96 pages. £14.99