Thursday, 27 August 2009
Off we go...
Right, well this is the letter which made me feel I ought to set something down at length about the North. Written on the back of a photocopied page from Yellow Pages (jewellers to juke boxes) it arrived in the Manchester office about five years ago. It started 'Dear Mr Wainwright' which I'm afraid I can't fit in, through scanning incompetence, but that was the only polite thing about it. I did go off to the Town Hall but searched for the correspondent in vain. Perhaps he or she is reading this.
Now for some books, starting with a shameless plug. This is my own first effort. I was already a self-publicist back in 1971 when Ireland not Socialism - A Leeds election came out. It's my mini-thesis for my history degree. After writing something like 50,000 words, I couldn't bear to see them simply stashed away in a university cupboard. I wouldn't say it's a riveting read but there is masses of information compiled to impress the examiners. eg the fact that at the time of the book's oublication, more than 25 tons of soot was still falling on every square mile of Hunslet. It also had some curious illustrations inside and I append one of them.
It's quite hard to get hold of, though copies occasionally surface on Amazon. If you want one, I can send you one, probably rather dog-eared, for the price of postage. Can I recommend with it, a very old stand-by of mine which has helped with countless Guardian articles: Leeds Born and Bred by James Thompson, Dalesman Books 1982. It has an excellent choice of the city's worthies from Joshua Tetley to Hedley Verity and the big industrial cheese of Unilever, Sir Ernest Woodroofe. There's also James Barr, founder of Wallace Arnold, and my copy has tucked inside the agenda for the EGM which wound up that grand old firm in 1994