As any collector knows,
there is more to the Shell Guides than meets the eye. There are
assorted forms of bindings in the pre-war series and a confusing
variety of dust-jackets within the post-1951 titles. What follows
is a chronological bibliography of the guides, featuring all the
information I am aware of. If you are looking for details of a
particular county, then click on it in the alphabetical table
below. This will take you to the first edition of the relevant Shell
Guide - if there was a subsequent edition you will find a link to that edition
within the entry for the first. As with the other parts of this
site, please contact me with any extra information you might have.
|Devon||Isle of Wight||Northumberland||Surrey|
|Durham||Leicestershire||Oxfordshire||West Coast of Scotland|
THE SHELL GUIDES :
CORNWALL by John Betjeman (Architectural Press, June 1934)
Spiral bound with card covers, 62 pages.
Soon after publication, 'firm' sales of 1150 were reported by the publishers. The first edition gazetteer has several major errors and Betjeman even managed to omit St Ives, corrected in the 1935 reprint. There is extensive information to be found on this and subsequent editions of Cornwall in William Peterson's excellent “John Betjeman: A Bibliography” (OUP, 2006).
New edition published in 1964.
WILTSHIRE edited by Robert Byron (Architectural Press, April 1935)
Spiral bound with card covers, 62 pages. Photomontage cover design by Lord Berners. Gazetteer by Edith Olivier.
Byron's editorship is covered in brief but fascinating detail in James Knox's biography (Robert Byron, John Murray, 2003). Byron disliked the idiosyncratic approach of Betjeman's Cornwall guide, and when it came to Wiltshire, did not see eye-to-eye with him regarding the content. Betjeman advised that "Views of Salisbury Cathedral are countless. We need hardly bother with it at all [and] we certainly do not want a photograph of Bradford-on-Avon Church." Byron apparently ignored this, dwelling on Bradford-on-Avon and other obvious monuments (e.g. Stonehenge), and went as far as dismissing the county's Georgian architecture in a short paragraph, of which Betjeman had stressed the importance. Perhaps in the light of this, unbeknownst to Byron, Betjeman replaced his gazetteer with one written by Edith Olivier, prompting Byron to accuse the Architectural Press of 'deceit' following publication. Byron was killed in 1941, aged 35, when his Cairo-bound ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat.
New edition (by David Verey) issued in 1956.
DERBYSHIRE edited by Christopher Hobhouse (Architectural Press, April 1935)
Spiral bound with card covers, 62 pages.
The gazetteer to this guide ran to only four pages of text, surely the shortest of any Shell Guide. Even in this short space there was evidently something that offended the residents of Matlock, as some copies of the the 1939 Faber reissue have a new entry pasted over the original.
New edition (by W G Hoskins) published in 1972.
KENT by Lord Clonmore (Architectural Press, April 1935)
New edition (by Pennethorne Hughes) published in 1969.
DEVON by John Betjeman (Architectural Press, April 1936)
Reissued by Faber in 1939.
New edition (by Brian Watson) published in 1953.
DORSET by Paul Nash (Architectural Press, April 1936)
Car covers, grey comb binding [though spiral bindings known] , 46 pages.
New edition (by Michael Pitt-Rivers) published in 1966.
SOMERSET by C.H.B. and Peter Quennell (Architectural Press, April 1936)
Spiral bound with card covers, 46 pages.
BUCKS by John Nash (Batsford, 1937)
Card covers, black comb binding, 46 pages.
New edition (by Bruce Watkin) published in 1981.
NORTHUMBERLAND & DURHAM by Thomas Sharp (Batsford, 1937)
Issued in card covers with a red comb binding. 54 pages. Presumably also issued in limited numbers in a cloth binding as per other Batsford titles.
New edition of 'Northumberland' published in 1954. Durham was not
revisited until Henry Thorold's guide of 1980.
HAMPSHIRE by John Rayner (Batsford, 1937)
Card covers with white comb binding.
OXON (Not including the City of Oxford) by John Piper (Batsford, 1938)
Comb bound with card covers, 46 pages. Also issued in a yellow cloth binding with dust-jacket.
Revised edition published in 1953.
THE WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND by Stephen Bone (Batsford, 1938)
Card covers, dark red comb binding, 44 pages. Also issued in a blue cloth binding with dust-jacket.
Revised edition published in 1952.
THE FABER REISSUES (March/April 1939)
Shortly before the publication of Gloucestershire (see below), Faber took on the Shell Guides and republished the existing titles using a spiral binding for the text but bound in cream boards with red, blue or black printing to the spine. Print runs are unknown though Peterson states that 1230 copies of Betjeman's Cornwall were printed for publication in March 1939, though only 250 copies were bound initially. The book was out of print by the end of October 1941. These tantalising figures support the rather obvious observation that these reissues are scarce, perhaps more so than the Architectural Press/Batsford editions, though not necessarily any more desirable.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE by Anthony West (Faber, 1939)
Spiral bound within cream boards with red printing to spine. 62 pages. Dust-jacket depicting 19th century engraving of the interior of Gloucester Cathedral. A variant photographic jacket is known featuring a black and white photograph of a field and stone wall with a wood in the background.
New edition (revised by David Verey) published in 1952.
The Post War Guides
SHROPSHIRE by John Piper and John Betjeman (Faber, published 12/10/1951)
Yellow cloth with blue printing to spine. 68 pages. 4330 copies were bound, with sales to July 1957 being 1537 copies. Went out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1951-1963]:
features a Victorian engraving of Ironbridge.
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: photographic jacket (in orange and blue) with photos of Much Wenlock priory and the hospital at Preston-on-the-Weald Moors.
" a delightful publication which lays open the heart of one of England's most attractive counties in a manner seldom achieved by a guide book" (Motor).
New edition (by Michael Moulder) published in 1973.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE by Anthony West revised by David Verey (Faber, pub. 21/03/52)
Red cloth with black printing to spine. 64 pages. 5060 copies were bound, 1208 being sold by July 1957, 2277 by June 1963. Went out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [to 1963]:
features a Jacobean building
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: photographic jacket (in yellow and black) featuring photos of (amongst others) the Fleece Inn, Leonard Stanley and Southfield Mill.
New edition (by David Verey) published in 1970.
THE WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND by Stephen Bone (Faber, published 04/04/1952)
Green cloth with blue lettering to spine. 64 pages. 5000 copies bound, with 1951 sold to July 1957, 3238 by June 1963, making it one of the better selling titles of the 1950s published Shell Guides. Went out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1951-63]:
Features a sepia phtotgraph of a sandy bay with crofts along the
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: Blue and green photographic jacket showing the peaks of Blaven and Loch Slapin, Skye.
Like the 1938 edition, the guide
features, parallel with the gazetteer, an alphabetical guide to
Highland history, culture, customs and legends.
OXFORDSHIRE (Not including the City of Oxford) by John Piper (Faber, 26/06/53)
Brown cloth with dark blue printing to spine. 68 pages. 5080 copies bound, 1091 sold by July 1957, 2322 by June 1963. Went out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1953-63]:
Features a 19th century engraving of the Fettiplace
Monuments at Swinbrook.
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: Orange and yellow jacket with photographs of Blenheim Bridge and cottages at Oddington.
John Piper: "I like a guidebook to be to some extent a diary, with a diary's prejudices and superficialities, and perhaps some of its vividness "
a book of great
character and persuasion
Mr Piper's descriptive text is
penetrating and amusing. He is able to give the atmosphere of a
neighbourhood or a building as clearly and as concisely in a few
words as his own drawings record them pictorially" (Country
NORTHUMBERLAND by Thomas Sharp (Faber, published 02/04/1954)
Blue cloth with white printing to spine. 52 pages. 5000 copies bound, 1095 sold by July 1957, 2257 by June 1963. Out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1954-63]:
Features a 19th century engraving (of Bamburgh
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: Green and blue with photographs of Hadrian's Wall and the bridges at Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Revised edition published in 1969.
DEVON by Brian Watson (Faber, published 25/03/1955)
Red cloth with green printing to spine. 112 pages. 5000 copies bound, 1578 sold by July 1957, 2812 by June 1963. Out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1955-63]: Pale
brown with a background detail of the screen at Lapford church,
inset with a 19th century engraving of Okehampton
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: Orange and blue with photographs of the screen at Holbeton and cottages at South Molton.
Correspondence in Peterson reveals that neither Faber nor Betjeman were entirely happy with Watson's work. Around 20 gazetteer entries were written by Betjeman (listed in Peterson) and at one point he was listed as co-author for the book.
New edition (by Ann Jellicoe and Roger Mayne) published in
HEREFORDSHIRE by David Verey (Faber, published 22/07/1955)
Blue cloth with yellow printing to spine. 64 pages. 5080 bound, 1018 sold by June 1957, 1818 by June 1963. Went out of print circa 1971.
First issue jacket [1955-63]:
Yellow with feint background photograph of harvested apples at
Second issue jacket [1963-71]: Blue, green and yellow with photographs of Lower Brockhampton and the River Wye near Fownhope.
This was one of the poorest
selling guides, partly because of the low indigenous population,
but also because it is a much overlooked county. The fact that
the guide remained in print for a few more years than
contemporary guides suggests Faber were trying to squeeze a few
extra sales from what was, by 1970, a fifteen-year old title.
WILTSHIRE by David Verey (Faber, published 03/08/1956)
Green cloth with yellow printing to spine. 64 pages. 5110 copies bound, 933 sold by July 1957, 1962 by June 1963. Superceded in 1968 by a new edition.
First issue jacket [1956-63]:
Reproduces the rear cover photomontage from the 1935 edition,
printed in green.
Second issue jacket [1963-68]: Yellow and green with photographs of Stonehenge and cottages at Lacock.
New edition (by J H Cheetham and John Piper) published in 1968.
NORFOLK by Wilhelmine Harrod and C.L.S. Linnell (Faber, published 29/07/1957)
Yellow cloth with burgundy printing to spine. 88 pages. 5000 copies were bound, with 4466 sold by June 1963. The jacket featured a photograph of a Norfolk wherry, printed in pale blue. Its clear typography (using the Albertus typeface) makes it one of the more successful of the 1950s Shell Guide covers. Indeed, it may have been laid out by the typeface's designer, Berthold Wolpe, who worked for Faber from 1941 to 1975.
Harrod and Linnell divided the county by simply drawing a line across it, with the result that some places on the line (including Tunstead and Ingham) were omitted from the first edition. Second and third editions followed in 1964 and 1966, but these featured minor revisions and as such have not been listed separately. The jacket for the third edition used the same photo of a wherry, printed in black and white with a blue title panel above. The 1969 reprint of this edition had a standard three-colour jacket (black, white and red) featuring a photograph of the staircase at Castle Rising keep.
A Fourth edition
(completely revised) was published in 1982.
MID-WALES by David Verey (Faber, published 14/11/1960)
Brown cloth with green printing to spine. 88 pages. 3000 copies printed, sales in the first year being 1220, the total sold to June 1963 being 2532. Out of print circa 1967.
First issue jacket [1960-63]:
Designed by John Piper, featuring the title and author in the
style of a gravestone rubbing, in white and pale brown on a black
background. As such, it was the only non-pictorial jacket design
of the whole series.
Second issue jacket [1963-67]: Photographic jacket in pale blue and green with photos of the canal at Clydach and a detail of a Celtic cross.
For various reasons Shell were not best pleased with the Mid Wales guide. Verey entered into much correspondence regarding his expenses, then upset the people of Llandindrod Wells for depicted the town as dreary and rain-sodden. Furthermore, Shell's files reveal the total cost of printing the 3000 copies was £1780, equating to twelve shillings per copy. The book retailed at twelve shillings and sixpence, and was probably sold to booksellers at around 8 shillings per copy!
Historical note: The Shell Guide
to Central Wales (as it was first scheduled) was originally to
have been written by John Piper, who was offered the job in 1956.
However, around this time he and Betjeman were toying with the
idea of co-writing a guide to Surrey and as a result, Betjeman
suggested the Wales guide could be written by Brian Watson and
'the Verey Light', a typically obscure Betjeman nickname. Piper
edited the Mid-Wales guide and on the back of this he was
appointed Associate Editor to the Shell Guides in June 1959.
SUFFOLK by Norman Scarfe (Faber, published 02/12/1960)
Blue cloth with gold printing to spine. 120 pages. 5000 copies were printed, which sold out within a year of publication. A reprint (with minor corrections) came out in 1962.
The jacket featured photographs of typical Suffolk scenes separated by the black-on-yellow title/author panels. The 1962 reprint kept this, but in a laminated form.
Not only were sales good, but the reviews were excellent. "..outstandingly good, even for this remarkable series" (Sylvia Towsend Warner, in The Countryman), "Scarfe's Suffolk is superlatively good. It is complete, it is dead accurate" (W G Hoskins, in The Listener). "Marvellously effective in bringing Suffolk to life, so that any prospective visitor should be able at once to know what he will see there and whether he will like it" (Angus Wilson in The Observer).
Norman Scarfe was very put out that a reprint wasn't ordered sooner, to capitalise on the success of the first printing. He sensed a feeling of disinterest at the publishers Faber, compounded when David Bland told him "we were surprised at the success of Suffolk, and we suppose this is due to the subject" - no praise for the author there then!
A second edition
followed in 1966.
RUTLAND by W G Hoskins (Faber, published 14/06/1963)
Green cloth with red printing to spine. 52 pages. Unknown print run (3000?), of which 987 copies had sold within two weeks of publication. Went out of print circa 1972.
Laminated jacket (the first of this type) featuring photographs of Ayston church and Cottesmore village.
At the time of publication, Rutland was already under threat of extinction. Notes in Shell's files show their publicity department saw an opportunity to show "Shell coming to the aid of England's smallest county at a time when it is threatened with submersion". However, the same note has a hand-written note pointing out "a company policy instruction to avoid bias to either side".
Hoskins was paid 150 guineas for
his work on the book.
SOUTH WEST WALES by Vyvyan Rees (Faber, published Autumn 1963)
Light green cloth with red printing to
spine. 94 pages. There are thought to be two variant dust-jackets
for this title, though both are printed in black, white and two
shades of green. Went out of print in 1976 when a revised edition was published.
CORNWALL by John Betjeman (Faber, 1964)
Red cloth with dark green printing to spine. 144 pages. Yellow and blue jacket with photographs of a disused mine at Camborne and a coastal scene. Reprinted three times (1964, 1965 & 1969), the final reprint having a grey jacket with a coastal scene. Taken out of print in 1978.
The revised Cornwall Guide had quite a long gestation period. Betjeman was not keen to do the job himself and amongst the authors approached during the mid-1950s was Geoffrey Grigson, who politely refused, stating "I haven't the intimacy with Cornwall any more". S P B Mais also offered to write the guide, but in the end the job was given to a local journalist, H J Wilmott. However, early in 1959 Betjeman was disappointed to find that Wilmott had fallen into the trap of chiefly describing medieval antiquities, and wrote to him emphasising his view that the Guides were all about “what a place is looks like now. Is it ruined with poles and wires? Has an old bridge been destroyed and a concrete one put in its place?” The next draft was witheringly described by John Piper as “dull, wordy and commonplace.” Eventually Betjeman had to write to Wilmott in October 1959 explaining that his work had been deemed unsatisfactory, rather artfully suggesting that somehow Shell's policies were to blame, rather than Wilmott's shortcomings. Soon after, Betjeman undertook the revision himself, though giving some credit to Wilmott in his introduction. Sales were just under 6500 in the first year (see Peterson, pps 17-18).
One of the most interesting,
documents in Shell's archive, largely through its triviality,
are John Betjeman's expenses for his research for the guide,
submitted in March 1963. Totalling £322.8s.5d they are carefully
broken down and include such sundries as 'Fishmonger' (£11.5.0)
and 'Coal' (£1.4.6).
WORCESTERSHIRE by James Lees-Milne (Faber, 1964)
Light brown cloth with red printing to
spine. 102 pages. 5305 copies printed but only 2469 bound
initially. Dark orange and yellow jacket featuring a photo of
Worcester guidhall. Reprinted once, in 1968, the revised jacket
with a photo- graph of Middle Bean Hall. Out of print by 1982.
LINCOLNSHIRE by Henry Throrold and Jack Yates (Faber, 1965)
Burgundy cloth with white printing to spine. 160 pages. Red and yellow jacket featuring photographs of Grantham and the Trent. Reprinted three times (1965, 1968 and 1975), the final reprint with an orange jacket featuring a photograph of Lincoln Cathedral. Out of print by 1982.
Writing to John Piper in April 1966, John Betjeman wrote "Lincs is certainly the customer's money's worth. The juxtaposition of Skeggie and medieval stained glass at Gedney makes a brilliant opening The idea of a whole plate across to one or two columns of the right- (or the left-) hand side is a v good innovation of Edward [Piper]'s. Louth is superbly displayed. The inking is v good throughout (except on end papers). It is far the best of the Shell Guides so far and the text is really good too. We have got Pevsner on the run."
Being such a large county,
Lincolnshire warranted the largest Shell Guide to date. The
majority of photographs were by John Piper, who a few years
earlier had traded in his camera of some 40 years (a
then-secondhand 'Ideal' model) for a rather more up-market
DORSET by Michael Pitt-Rivers (Faber, 1966)
Red cloth with black printing to spine. 152 pages, Red and yellow dust-jacket featuring a photograph of Gold Hill, Shaftesbury. Reprinted twice, in 1966 and 1968. Out of print by 1981.
The Dorset volume was to have been written by Andrew Wordsworth, who had to abandon the project in order to address "other things". Wordsworth was acknowledged on the title page and may indeed have received a proportion of the royalties. Notes in Shell's files suggest this guide was making a loss of 9s 7d per book and that the title would only break even if it was to go into two reprints. Fortunately it did!
Another snippet of information
from Shell's files is the fact that John Piper did not like the
use of Gold Hill for the cover photograph, feeling it to be an
overtly obvious choice.
SUFFOLK (Second Edition) by Norman Scarfe (Faber, 1966)
Blue cloth with dark red printing to spine. 124 pages. Blue and yellow jacket with photographs of Ickworth House and Wingfield Castle.
The third edition
was published in 1976.
THE ISLE OF WIGHT by Pennethorne Hughes (Faber, 1967)
Black cloth with silver lettering to spine. 80 pages. Blue black and white jacket featuring an aerial photograph of The Needles. Reprinted once, in 1968.
"Every so often, a new
Shell Guide plops down from the sky on to some lucky county. The
latest target is The Isle of Wight, the marksman Pennethorne
Hughes, the result a bulls-eye". (Hugh Casson, in The
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE &The Soke of Peterborough by Juliet Smith (Faber, 1968)
Grey cloth with red printing to spine. 128 pages. Pale green and blue jacket featuring photographs of Cotterstock and Easton Neston. Reprinted once, in 1972.
Having resigned as Joint Editor in mid-1967, John Betjeman chose the publication of the Northampton-shire guide to publicly announce the fact in the March 1968. In the Daily Mail (13th March 1968), he railed against Shell, claiming it had "ceased to be a human company". The decision to tone down Juliet Smith's comments on the Norwich Union building in Peterborough was described as "a perversion of the truth".
A note in Shell's files records
that Betjeman expressly wanted to be disassociated from any
future Shell Guides.
ESSEX by Norman Scarfe (Faber 1968)
Brown cloth with gold printing to spine. 212 pages. Olive green jacket featuring a photograph of Wakes Colne watermill. Reprinted twice, lastly in 1975 (featuring a different cover photo, showing Stebbing). Out of print by 1983.
Together with Wiltshire (see
below), the Essex guide was the first to have the standardised
jacket design of 1968 through to 1978. The jackets were printed
in black and white with an 'accent' colour. Therefore, the 'olive
green jacket' I refer to doesn't mean it was green all over, just
that the accent colour was green!
WILTSHIRE (third edition) by J H Cheetham and John Piper (Faber 1968)
Green cloth with yellow printing to spine. 198 pages. Deep orange dustjacket featuring a photograph of Bradford-upon-Avon. Reprinted once, in 1975. Out of print by 1981.
An appeal for help here. I'm not
at all sure whether the two authors were genuine collaborators,
and if you have any information about this it would be
appreciated. I am vaguely aware of reading a note in Shell's
files, implying the book was initially by Cheetham alone, but the
finished article was not considered quite good enough for
publication, hence Piper's involvement. One can only assume that
this involvement was so great that a co-author credit was thought
appropriate. The vast majority of the 190 photographs were by
John and Edward Piper.
KENT by Pennethorne Hughes (Faber, 1969)
Red cloth with black printing to spine. 176 pages. Brown dustjacket with photograph of Tenterden. Out of print by 1983.
Hughes died shortly after the
first typescript of the book was finished, and John Piper
effectively finished the guide, visiting the places Hughes had
omitted and making necessary amendments elsewhere. However, he
chose not to take an author credit. As was common around this
time, Piper contributed the majority of the photographs, the
remainder being supplied by familiar names such as Edwin Smith,
Peter Burton and A F Kersting.
NORTHUMBERLAND (third edition) by Thomas Sharp (Faber, 1969)
Blue cloth with white printing to spine. 128 pages. Green-blue dustjacket featuring photograph of a cliff-top scene from the Farne Islands.
The decision to publish a revised
edition of Northumberland was a curious one and must have been at
the suggestion of the author. Sharp was clearly unhappy as to
Piper's choice of photographs, hence the rather terse statement
that "the choice of illustration in this book has been the
responsibility of the editor".
GLOUCESTERSHIRE (second edition) by David Verey (Faber, 1970).
Brown cloth with pale blue printing to
spine. 136 pages. Blue dustjacket with photograph of Gloucester
LEICESTERSHIRE by W G Hoskins (Faber, 1970)
Dark green cloth with silver printing to
spine. 124 pages. Pink dustjacket with a photograph of Hallaton
MID-WESTERN WALES by Vyvyan Rees (Faber, 1971)
Blue cloth with gold printing to spine. 148 pages. Blue dustjacket with a photograph of a coastal scene near Llangranog.
The guide covered the counties of
Cardiganshire and Merioneth. The majority of the photographs were
by John Piper.
NORTH WALES by Elizabeth Beazley and Lionel Brett (Faber, 1971)
Brown cloth with gold printing to spine. 152 pages. Light brown dustjacket with a photograph of Moel Hebog, Snowdonia. Reprinted once, in 1975.
The authors took many of the
photographs for this guide. The 1975 reprint was printed on
thinner paper, and as such the book is somewhat thinner than the
1971 first printing.
DERBYSHIRE by Henry Thorold (Faber, 1972)
Green cloth with gold printing to spine.
130 pages. Turquoise blue dustjacket with photograph of a dry
stone walled landscape at Litton. Out of print by 1981.
SHROPSHIRE by Michael Moulder (Faber , 1973)
Brown cloth with gold printing to spine. 160 pages. Orange dustjacket with photograph of a bridge on the Shropshire Union Canal near Tilstock. Out of print by 1982.
It is not clear why it was felt
necessary to produce a new edition of Shropshire when (for
example) neighbouring counties such as Cheshire had yet to be
done. The sales of the Piper/Betjeman edition had hardly been
spectacular and the relative scarcity of this edition suggests it
didn't fare much better!
DEVON by Ann Jellicoe and Roger Mayne (Faber, 1975)
Burgundy cloth with gold printing to spine. 180 pages. Brown dustjacket with photo-graph of a rural scene near Swimbridge. Issued in paperback in 1982.
All the photographs in this book
were by Roger Mayne.
SOUTH WEST WALES (revised edition) by Vyvyan Rees (Faber, 1976)
Green cloth with gold printing to spine. 192 pages. Purple dustjacket with photograph of Flimston Bay. Issued in paperback in 1982.
This guide was the first to have a
rear jacket photograph, replacing the hitherto standard listing
of current editions.
SUFFOLK (third edition) by Norman Scarfe (Faber, 1976)
Yellow cloth with burgundy printing to spine. 192 pages. Olive green dustjacket with photograph of Aldeburgh beach. Issued in paperback in 1982. The hardback went out of print around 1983.
Soon after publication, this
edition was withdrawn after a landowner from Iken objected to
what had been written. Corrected copies either have (a) the offending page
cut out and a revised page pasted onto the stub of the old one or (b) an
entirely new eight-page section sewn in (the giveaway being the slightly smaller
page size). This edition
was reprinted (as 'The Suffolk Guide') by the Alastair Press in 1988, with a new
introduction by the author.
SURREY by Bruce Watkin (Faber, 1977)
Blue-green cloth with gold printing to spine. 192 pages. Green dustjacket with photograph of Holmbury St Mary church.
The curious absence of
acknowledgements disguises the fact that the Surrey guide had a
complex history. The original author was one David Lloyd, who
completed his manuscript in 1966. John Piper was unsure as to its
suitability and asked a friend, Bruce Watkin, to advise. In his
own words, Watkin thought it "read too much like a dull
version of Pevsner and did little justice to other than the
architectural interest of the county, if that". Eventually,
Watkin was asked to write his own guide to the county, published
some ten years later. He was only paid 2% royalties as the rest
had been paid to David Lloyd! I believe the same David Lloyd was working
on a Bedfordshire guide when the series was cancelled in 1984, making him the
'nearly man' of the series.
EAST SUSSEX by W S Mitchell (Faber, 1978)
Blue cloth with white printing to spine. 194 pages. Blue dustjacket with colour photo-graph of Hove seafront.
This was the first Shell Guide to
feature a colour photo on the front jacket panel.
STAFFORDSHIRE by Henry Thorold (Faber, 1978)
Terracotta cloth with white printing to
spine. 198 pages. Brown dustjacket with colour photograph of
WARWICKSHIRE by Douglas Hickman (Faber, 1979)
Orange cloth with black printing to spine. Brown dustjacket with colour photograph of Compton Wynyates.
This was the first guide to have
the redesigned jacket, featuring a 'bled off' colour photograph
for the front jacket panel.
COUNTY DURHAM BY Henry Thorold (Faber, 1980)
Green cloth with gold printing to spine.
Dark green dustjacket with colour photograph of Durham.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE by Bruce Watkin (Faber, 1981)
Grey cloth with black printing to spine. 196 pages. Green dustjacket with colour photograph of the Music Temple, West Wycombe Park. Issued in paperback in 1982.
Bruce Watkin recalls seeing a
Shell memo, issued after his Bucks guide was completed, asking
whether he actually liked the county. "The answer was not
'no', but that I was disappointed with it".
NORFOLK by Wilhelmine Harrod (fourth edition) (Faber, 1982)
Yellow cloth with red-brown printing to
spine. 196 pages. Brown dustjacket with colour photograph of East
Much of the new material in this guide was provided by Simon Cotton, including the entry on Norwich, many of the ordinary entries and several of the introductory sections.
HERTFORDSHIRE by R M Healey (Faber, 1982)
Red cloth with dark brown printing to spine. 194 pages. Red dustjacket with colour photograph of Ashwell. Issued in hardback and paperback.
R M Healey cannot recall exactly
how the 10,000 print run was divided into hardback/paperback but
suggests it was around 50/50.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE by Norman Scarfe (Faber, 1983)
Grey cloth with brown printing to spine. 228 pages (of which 56 covered Cambridge). Grey dustjacket with colour photograph of Ely Cathedral. Issued in hardback and paperback.
Norman Scarfe recalls "the
stupid mistake", presumably Faber's, to divide the 10,000
print run into 2000 hardback and 8000 paperback. The hardback
issue sold out instantly. He also describes the cover photograph
as "offputting", with "two-thirds of the picture
being literally peat". It had not been the first choice for
the cover shot - that image was damaged by the printer, hence the
use of the second option. The paperback edition was later
remaindered, being offered for sale at Galloway & Porter in
Cambridge for as little as £1.00.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE by Henry Thorold (Faber, 1984)
Blue cloth with pale blue printing to spine. 196 pages. Beige dustjacket with colour photograph of Southwell Minster. Issued in hardback and paperback.
As with Cambridgeshire, it appears
only 2000 copies were printed in hardback, the remainder being
issued in paperback.
Many thanks to Simon Cotton, Richard Riding, Andrzej Poloczek and William Henwood for additional information.
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