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Black and white postcard of Henley Town Hall in the 1950s.

Memories of Henley

If you’re driving from Oxford to London, as I was privileged to do as a third-year undergraduate with a car, you have two main routes: the A40 via Stokenchurch and Beaconsfield, nowadays more often the M40, or the A4130 following the river via Dorchester, on to Nettlebed and down the hill to Henley-on-Thames.

Photograph of Douglas Botting, author of Wild Britain: A Traveller’s Guide

Au Revoir Douglas Botting

We are very sad to announce that Douglas Botting has died at the age of 83. Author of Wild Britain: A Traveller’s Guide and General Editor of the Wild Guides series, he is a towering figure in the literature of wild places. To him we owe an eternal debt for capturing in beautifully chosen words the harmonies of the natural world of which we are part and on which we depend for our survival.

Black and white photo of Douglas Botting at his desk in the 1950s.

Man of Letters

Cover image of Wild Britain

Douglas Botting, who died on 6th February, was the author of Wild Britain and General Editor of our Wild Guides series. You see him here soon after leaving Oxford, working away at his desk in Ship Alley, Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick, in London. Starting out as he meant to continue!

Photo of stained-glass panels.

Making a Grand Entrance

‘There can be no denying the importance the Victorians placed on first impressions,’ says Robin Guild in his masterful guide to home repair and decoration, The Victorian House Book. ‘It is the entrance door which captures the eye of the visitor as he waits to be admitted.’ In keeping with this tradition, we have had our door freshly painted and enhanced by stained-glass panels featuring our eponymous sheldrakes.

Image of Very Heath Robinson title page.

A Nod to Subscription Publishing

In March we launched a Kickstarter campaign for our great big humour title Very Heath Robinson and raised £7,581 towards the costs of the book, which was published on 4th May. We are enormously grateful to all those who answered our call and helped us complete ‘Adam’s whopping (1.9 kg), wonderful new book’, as one reviewer has called it, to the standard we intended. We have pleasure in listing them below.

Photo of stewpan and recipe book.

Take a Two-Gallon Stewpan

People have often criticized Mrs. Beeton for the enormous quantities she recommended in her recipes: take six fowl, two dozen eggs, 4 lbs. sugar and so on. When we started work on The Shorter Mrs. Beeton, we were pleasantly surprised to find that her recipes were mostly modest in scale and perfectly suited to a modern family. In the case of her medium stock, however, you do really need a two-gallon pan.

Photo of Smoking Room

From the Smoking Room

Congratulations to Chris Schüler, senior editor of some major Sheldrake Press books, who has published a highly readable history of the Authors’ Club. You can now watch a video of him talking about it in the Smoking Room of the National Liberal Club in London.

Bunting La Cuisiniere Northcote Road London SW

Can You Trump Our Bunting?

We are running a bunting competition to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. All you have to do is take a better bunting picture than ours and post it on our Facebook wall, tweet it to @SheldrakePress or e-mail it to . Add an innovative caption with the word bunting in it, and you’re done!

Membership Area

We publish books not just because they contain a good idea, but often because they advance a cause: for example, better home improvement, environmental conservation or literary revival. To further these aims, we are happy to provide you with additional resources in the form of free downloads, which you can obtain by registering below. The following are now available:

Glossary of Architectural Terms
The numerous terms used in The Victorian House Book are defined, with illustrations. To download this glossary, please register below.

Energy Conservation
Denis Meehan, Director of Ecological Heating Ltd, explains how to reduce heat loss in a Victorian house while retaining the architectural integrity of the building.To download this report, please register below.

Victorian House Suppliers
The editors of The Victorian House Book have compiled this list of more than 60 suppliers of goods and services appropriate to a house of this period, with profiles and pictures.To download this resource, please register below.

When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat
In this excerpt are four sample poems from When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat, an anthology of the humorous verse of Harry Graham, inventor of Ruthless Rhymes. Three are Ruthless Rhymes, including Grandmama, the baby in the Frigidaire and poor Billy, and you also have the much longer epic of The Bath, all with illustrations. To download this sample, please register below.

Twelve New Ruthless Rhymes
These humorous verses were written for the Ruthless Rhyme competition in January and February 2012 and placed on the short list by the panel of judges named below. Included are the winning poem by Angela Perkins and the two runners-up by Rosemary McDougall and Elizabeth Francis. The other rhymes were written by Delia Chilom, Yasir Hayat, Diane Jackman, Katherine Lavender, Gwen de Mel and Elizabeth Sarah Pearl. To download the short list, please register below.

Ruthless Rhyme Competition Judges
The ten judges of the Ruthless Rhyme competition included past and present staff of Sheldrake Press, chaired by Simon Rigge, and four external moderators including the poet Charles Boyle, the historian Fergus Fleming, the publisher David Jefferis and the editor Mike Brown. To find out more, please register below.

Ruthless Rhyme Competition – Mentioned for Creativity
Many of the poems submitted in the competition were not strictly Ruthless Rhymes, as defined in the competition rules, but were thought worthy of mention for their intrinsic quality as verse or the fact that they were accompanied by rather good line drawings. To read them, please register below.

Ruthless Rhyme Competition – Mentioned for Ridiculousness
Among the poems submitted in the competition, but adjudged not ruthless, were some which took the biscuit for their oddity or absurdity. To read them, please register below.

Free Samples
We will shortly make available extensive excerpts from all our books in order to give you a better idea of their content. Initially, we will be offering samples from:

Wild Italy
Wild Britain
The Victorian House Book

Register now for a free download
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