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Tales of Guildford Street

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gina

The Girl from Guildford St
Good morning fellow Brummies.

This is my new book, Tales of Guildford Street, a family saga of life in the Back to Backs of Lozells from the 1920s to the 1960s when the back to backs were demolished. It is written under the name Emilia Williams, and published by Brewin Books. Lilian Emily was my mom's name, and my dad was William/Bill. It is a sequel to my childhood memoir The Girl from Guildford St, written under the name Grace Holte.

The proceeds of the book go to charity, at present a foodbank working with the elderly isolating at home.

I habe not yet been able to do talks on the book as libraries, book shops, groups and societies are closed, but hope to welcome some of you to a talk later in the year.

I wrote the book because I thought that a certain way of life neded to be remembered - that Brummies were able to take anything, poverty, deprivation, sickness, war, separation, bereavement, coronavirus - and come through with their proud spirits intact.

A book that is a love letter to the City of Birmingham and her indomitable people.

I have a facebook page called The Girl from Guildford St on which I publish occasional book reviews about books on Birmingham, if you are interested in reading. I have a large collection of books on Brum, many now out of print and available only in Local Studies in the library service.

Keep well and safe until we meet again!

 

boomy

master brummie
Good morning fellow Brummies.

This is my new book, Tales of Guildford Street, a family saga of life in the Back to Backs of Lozells from the 1920s to the 1960s when the back to backs were demolished. It is written under the name Emilia Williams, and published by Brewin Books. Lilian Emily was my mom's name, and my dad was William/Bill. It is a sequel to my childhood memoir The Girl from Guildford St, written under the name Grace Holte.

The proceeds of the book go to charity, at present a foodbank working with the elderly isolating at home.

I habe not yet been able to do talks on the book as libraries, book shops, groups and societies are closed, but hope to welcome some of you to a talk later in the year.

I wrote the book because I thought that a certain way of life neded to be remembered - that Brummies were able to take anything, poverty, deprivation, sickness, war, separation, bereavement, coronavirus - and come through with their proud spirits intact.

A book that is a love letter to the City of Birmingham and her indomitable people.

I have a facebook page called The Girl from Guildford St on which I publish occasional book reviews about books on Birmingham, if you are interested in reading. I have a large collection of books on Brum, many now out of print and available only in Local Studies in the library service.

Keep well and safe until we meet again!

There are lots of knowledgeable people on this forum, but its a pity more do not preserve Birmingham history, using their knowledge of their favourite subject, by writing and publishing a book.
The advances in digital printing and much simpler binding techniques mean that anybody can write and publish a book. You don't need expensive, complicated, publishing software, or photo enhancing software, just reasonable word processing software that includes the ability to embed fonts and change your book document into a pdf file.
Big publishing companies will not be interested in your book unless it can be sold in thousands of copies, but Birmingham history is not in that league; however it is quite easy to self-publish using a competent specialist book printing company, as long as you are aware that you will not earn a living writing books!
Boomy.
 

gina

The Girl from Guildford St
There are lots of knowledgeable people on this forum, but its a pity more do not preserve Birmingham history, using their knowledge of their favourite subject, by writing and publishing a book.
The advances in digital printing and much simpler binding techniques mean that anybody can write and publish a book. You don't need expensive, complicated, publishing software, or photo enhancing software, just reasonable word processing software that includes the ability to embed fonts and change your book document into a pdf file.
Big publishing companies will not be interested in your book unless it can be sold in thousands of copies, but Birmingham history is not in that league; however it is quite easy to self-publish using a competent specialist book printing company, as long as you are aware that you will not earn a living writing books!
Boomy.
I do have a large collection of Brummie memoirs, the majority of which seem to be published by Amberley or The History Press.

However, during my book talks I have spoken to many people who have published using eg Amazon and Create Space. These are important memoirs of Birmingham working class life.

All the prcoeeds from my books go to charity, as as you said, they are quite small.

I would urge anyone who wants to to write a book, but to look at self publishing, and not even try to approach an agent. There are specialist local history publishers such as , Amberley and the History Press, but they have lots of enquiries.

Feel free to contact me if you want advice on how to become an author!!
 
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gina

The Girl from Guildford St
At a time when libraries and bookshops are closed, the library service has made much of its local history collection available as free e downloads. See their website for details.
 

boomy

master brummie
I was lucky enough to have my books published. I do have a large collection of Brummie memoirs, the majority of which seem to be published by Amberley or The History Press.

However, during my book talks I have spoken to many people who have published using eg Amazon and Create Space. These are important memoirs of Birmingham working class life.

All the prcoeeds from my books go to charity, as as you said, they are quite small.

I would urge anyone who wants to to write a book, but to look at self publishing, and not even try to approach an agent. There are specialist local history publishers such as , Amberley and the History Press, but they have lots of enquiries.

Feel free to contact me if you want advice on how to become an author!!
I was lucky enough to have my books published. I do have a large collection of Brummie memoirs, the majority of which seem to be published by Amberley or The History Press.

However, during my book talks I have spoken to many people who have published using eg Amazon and Create Space. These are important memoirs of Birmingham working class life.

All the prcoeeds from my books go to charity, as as you said, they are quite small.

I would urge anyone who wants to to write a book, but to look at self publishing, and not even try to approach an agent. There are specialist local history publishers such as Amberley and the History Press, but they have lots of enquiries.

Feel free to contact me if you want advice on how to become an author!!
Gina,
My message was, hopefully, to encourage people to commit their knowledge to paper, otherwise it gets lost for ever.
As an amateur historian and author myself, I have 8 self-published books currently in-print, but had about 20 years of exasperation trying to deal with publishers; but no more!
All my books are about Birmingham subjects, but only one is a memoir.
Regard,
Boomy
 
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gina

The Girl from Guildford St
No, I have spoken to many creative writing groups in the last couple of years and all have a huge file of rejection letters and emails from agents and publishers. There are other ways people can commit memories; at present there is a Birmingham during the CV crisis archive which I noticed the other day, where you share your experiences. I remember something similar happening in the Jewellery Quarter, and certainly when I worked for the libraries we did a WW2 recorded archive of people's memories. There certainly needs to be more on Birmingham.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
If the BHF is preserved for posterity on something like the Internet Archives, it will provide an excellent collective record of Birmingham history.
 

gina

The Girl from Guildford St
Yes, it might be worth bringing it to the attention of the Local Studies Library at Central. There are so many good sites out there such as Lucas Memories and Aston Brook through Aston Manor, and already some have been archived.
 

boomy

master brummie
If the BHF is preserved for posterity on something like the Internet Archives, it will provide an excellent collective record of Birmingham history.
Saving bits of this forum for posterity cannot possibly match the contents of a book on a particular subject that has taken years of research and covers, like one of my books, 280 pages and the 50 years history of a company!
Boomy
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
I was not hoping that the BHF would be saved for posterity in bits, but in its entirety. Nor was I placing it ahead of, or on a par with the written word. I was not in any way devaluing someone would has the dedication and ability to write a book. However this Forum has a huge amount ordinary people who have contributed greatly to the history of Birmingham. I do believe that it is highly regarded by our own Carl Chinn.
 

boomy

master brummie
I was not hoping that the BHF would be saved for posterity in bits, but in its entirety. Nor was I placing it ahead of, or on a par with the written word. I was not in any way devaluing someone would has the dedication and ability to write a book. However this Forum has a huge amount ordinary people who have contributed greatly to the history of Birmingham. I do believe that it is highly regarded by our own Carl Chinn.
I respect your opinions, but we obviously place very different values on BHF content.
I was given some excellent advice some years ago by an experienced industrial historian, "Never quote in a book anything read on the Internet"
A philosophy I adhere to!
Boomy
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
”one of my books, 280 pages and the 50 years history of a company!”

The problem here is that the BHF is readily available to me and for all to see, but we don’t have a clue to which book you refer.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
I can see why, certainly at that time, your historian may have said that, but things move on, and this is not likely to be sensible in the future. Things do change. In scientific literature it was uncommon 30 years ago for patent literature to be quoted in scientific publications, but now this has changed as in many cases the information is not available otherwise. In the case of the internet the "problem" is the possibility that people in the future might not be able to access the original information for themselves due to the possibility of the site going down and not being available. This is, however to an extent being addressed, for example, the Internet Archive. In any case historians studying older periods, such as the Greeks or Romans, often quote sources now lost in its original form but available through others who have quoted them. As long as it is known and stated that the information is second hand then this is perfectly reasonable
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
The problem history has is snobbery. This is especially true around perceived historical knowledge. Some people use it as a way of separating themselves from everyone else, with their sense of superior knowledge of so call historical facts, as if these facts add up to a complete subjective truth of past events.

When you really get to study history, and start to gain an insight, you begin to realise how much you don’t know, and how inaccurate the so-called historical facts are.
 

Michael_Ingram

master brummie
Having been born over the road from Gina, but about 20 years before, and knew her next door neighbours well, I can highly recommend both books, both terrific reads and capture the time and street very well. The second book is set around the time I left Guildford Street, 1964 and I left Birmingham for good in 1968. Unlike for most people, the place I grew up in no longer exists but these books bring it back alive.
 

Michael_Ingram

master brummie
I have just posted one of my stories about Guildford Street here:
There is also an earlier one here:
Eden Place was across the road and a little lower down from where Gina lived
The Tree is set where the Barracks were in Guildford Street - a courtyard behind number 26, next door to Rudhall's shop which features in Gina'a book
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
I respect your opinions, but we obviously place very different values on BHF content.
I was given some excellent advice some years ago by an experienced industrial historian, "Never quote in a book anything read on the Internet"
A philosophy I adhere to!
Boomy
hi boomy...in turn we respect your opinions on the writing of books but it does make me wonder just why you find the forum of interest...this forum is a lifeline to many of our members and a lot of information they have researched is on here...they have researched to the best of their ability and to be honest i dont think that any of us are that guliible as not to take what we find out with a pinch of salt...i believe even the great william hutton was not infallible...its also nice to know that your books are all factual and that you did not have to refer to the internet to gather your information so well done for that...all the best

lyn
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Where would we be without all the recollections, stories, hearsay and anecdotes of the past ? As a reader (and customer of writers) I like to see a good mix of historical content and sources in a book, and that includes, not just the ‘facts’ but also the sources I first mentioned. To me the experience of the regular person in the street can help to enrich (and more often than not give a better understanding) of the historical event being described by a writer.

In my opinion few historical books can be truly factual because it depends on who’s written it, what their allegiances are, what their experiences are and how they express their information. Authors are human beings too and bring to the publication their own perspectives, experience and understanding to a piece of work.

My personal experience of being alienated by history in school and by many history text books resulted in a complete switch off from, what I later discovered, was a thoroughly absorbing and enlightening subject. So let’s hope authors (and academics) can always bear in mind their wider audiences when producing their work. We are their customers and the written word should be accessible for all to enjoy.

In a nutshell, keep those memories rolling in everyone, they’re as valuable and interesting as the bare, dry facts of historical events. That way we keep history alive !
Viv.
 
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