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My aim in writing “Cheshire Cheese and Camembert” was to take some of the younger characters who appeared in “Blessèd are the Meek and “Twenty-six Nil” and place them in a more modern setting, ie. the early years of the 20th century. The turbulence of the period between 1913 and 1919 made for a vibrant background: the suffragette movement, the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Russian Revolution, not to mention the Great War.

Inevitably the war had the greatest impact on families like that of my narrator, Charlie Knott, but I did not want to turn my novel into a war story. Reports of events in northern France come only from newspaper reports or more graphically from letters from Charlie’s son Alfred.

As Charlie has left Hyde for work by the docks at the eastern end of the Manchester Ship Canal, the town of Hyde is less of a feature than in the previous books. However, perhaps I should have made at least a brief mention of the sacrifice Hydonian men and women made at that time. 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives are commemorated at the cenotaph on Werneth Low, a windblown hill overlooking the town and the great pattern of distant boroughs. It is one of my favourite places in the world.

  • Brent

First visit to Preston

With my latest novel, "Twenty-six Nil", relating to the histories of both Hyde Football Club and Preston North End FC, I was pleased to be invited to speak in the city (formerly the town) of the 1888 Invincibles. It was in the October of 1887 that North End hosted Hyde in the visitors' first ever FA Cup tie: a match which the highly ambitious young club lost 26-0.

Last week I had a day in Preston, touring three libraries and speaking to many interesting (and interested) members about the book and the times it describes. It was great fun to address them all and answer their questions. I have irons in the fire for future visits to central Lancashire with, I hope, an introduction to the football club at some point.



Here I am enthused before an audience at Kingsfold Library on the south side of Preston.

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