Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Bedfordshire Women's Land Army site wins award

Congratulations to Stuart Antrobus and the Bedfordshire County Council’s Local Studies Library staff on winning the Alan Ball Local History Award 2007 for Bedfordshire Women’s Land Army Internet Archive.

In announcing the winners on 28 February 2008, the judges praised the site for being “well structured, easily navigable, and a good example of a library working with a local historian to provide newly researched historical information within an existing website.”

Established nearly 25 years ago and administered by the Library Services Trust, the awards are an established part of the library awards scene and provide publicity for local studies, both nationally and locally, particularly in the winners' home areas. Both Stuart and the library staff must be delighted with this recognition of their contribution to the recent history of Bedfordshire.

Have a look at the website at http://tinyurl.com/2nq2up and see for yourself who the land girls were, and where they lived and worked. The project is on-going. The website is up dated frequently and Stuart is still calling for more information. There's still a lot to fill in about the careers of individual girls. Look at the list: maybe you'll recognise a name and can tell him about the person.

His book on the subject will be published by The Book Castle, Dunstable in October this year.

Monday, 24 March 2008

The Book Castle, Dunstable

The Book Castle on Dunstable’s Church Street is a stone’s throw from the High Street and is located in one of Dunstable's most historic buildings, dating from 1872 and used as a drill hall by volunteer soldiers for many years. The bookshop was established nearly 30 years ago and is the largest independent bookshop in the area.

The Book Castle has three strings to its bow: although principally selling new books for all the family, it has a large range a second hand books for all tastes and - uniquely in the whole country - it is also a publisher, specialising in history, autobiography, pictorial and walking guides about its catchment area of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and the Chilterns. With over 120 titles to date, this is an impressive record.

The shop prides itself on being a really traditional bookseller, offering excellent customer services – fast new book orders and out-of-print book search. It has also kindly lent books for review by BHRS on this blog – much appreciated!

If you can’t get to the shop itself, visit the website where its local interest titles and more are listed.

The Book Castle, 12 Church Street, Dunstable, Beds LU5 4RUTel: 01582 605670 Email: bc@book-castle.co.ukWeb: www.book-castle.co.uk

County Town Books, Bedford

On a recent visit to Bedford I browsed around County Town Books, a marvellous bookshop, situated in the heart of the town opposite St Paul's Church and round the corner from the Swan Hotel on the Embankment of the river Ouse.

For anyone in the north of the county wanting a first rate choice of books about Bedfordshire, this is the place. On the left just inside the shop are around a dozen shelves (possibly more) devoted to Bedfordshire - parish histories large and small, the marvellous book on Bedfordshire Bridges, books on Bedfordshire regiments and airfields, picture books of bygone eras, railways, pubs and some of the current and older publications of BHRS.

I came away with more than I had intended buying - inevitably. One of the specialist books was Bedfordshire Barrels: a directory of commercial breweries in the county by Keith Osborne, which sets out the rise, fall, mergers and amalgamations of Beds breweries over the last 150 years or so. Of a general nature was Sandy Chrystal's Bedfordshire at work on old picture postcards. It shows the wide variety of work undertaken in this "rural" county and is a must for anyone interested in work and working conditions.

County Town Books does not have a website but a phone call or a visit would be well-worthwhile for anyone looking for books on Beds.
County Town Books, 7 High Street, Bedford MK40 1RN
Tel: 01234 341789