Secret Bude – Something of a Labour of Love
Bude & Beyond community website owner and one of the trio involved in Bude Past & Present, Dawn Robinson, is pleased to announce the publication of her third and latest book on Bude.
The book, Secret Bude was published last week by Amberley Publishing. It breaks away from the previous two books commissioned by the publishers, Bude in Old Postcards and Bude Through Time.
Dawn says: “This one has more writing in it than usual, which I enjoyed researching. My thanks to the lovely volunteer ladies in the archives at Bude Heritage Centre, to Jonathan Stamp for allowing me access to his father’s study (Bryan Dudley Stamp) and to a local gentleman, Tony, who in an interview gave me never before heard information about tarot artist, Pamela Coleman-Smith, who lived her later years in Bude and died here.
Of course, huge thanks to Bude Past & Present image-meister, Ray Boyd, as ever, for most of the images. Ray was himself seriously ill during the writing of the book, to the point of life-threatening. He’s a great guy, so I’m glad he’s still with us and was kind enough to sort out some images for me from his sick bed. Also, many thanks to others who contributed.”
She adds: “The book is not really about secrets, so it is a slight misnomer. I heard quite a few and most were probably libellous/unprintable! So, it is actually a book for locals and visitors alike containing lesser-known information about Bude, its history, and people. It contains historical and contemporary images, alongside a few fascinating tales. There is little seriously ancient history attributable to Bude, so it was more a case of digging out certain information about people and places. Before I started researching, I knew about Archie Jewel, and I knew about Pamela Coleman-Smith, but I’d never before read Archie’s testimony after the sinking of Titanic, and I didn’t know that Pamela died suddenly at the Conservative Club, nor that she had an errand boy. I also enjoyed reading the fictional tale of The Iron Pineapple that the ladies at the archives recommended – and relating it to others. There are plenty of tales and snippets within so most people will probably learn something or at least have fun reading it.”
The book is on sale in Spencer Thorn and other outlets in Bude, or available online. Dawn says: “It is great to see our local book shop stocking it and giving it such a prominent display. I’m hardly a world-renowned author, but if anyone out there in or around Bude is buying it as a special gift and wants a few words writing in the front, then please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.”
The book was commissioned in 2014. Dawn recalls winter time sat in the late Bryan Dudley Stamp’s freezing cold study, and also losing her glasses in the Heritage Centre, but it became something of a drawn-out labour of love. What was due to be completed in November 2015, dragged out until late January 2016.
Dawn said: “During the course of writing the book, three people in my life died. One was that well-loved Bude man, Pritch, who we lost way too young and suddenly at 51. Two days later, my beloved big brother died, aged 61, following a degenerative illness. That was a pretty bad week, to be honest! During December, my father – in – law also died. Death has a way of throwing everything into disarray. Suddenly, time disappears and it is hard to get into the writing mindset. Ray had also been in Derriford hospital so the images were delayed by his illness, though, like the trouper that he is, he organized them on his return home while still recovering. Fortunately, the publishers were very understanding and prepared to wait.”
She added: “While the book was printing, I lost another friend in Australia, who took her own life, and a friend in Wales, who struggled with pancreatic cancer. Both were in their 50s. It was too late to include them in my acknowledgements. Typically, loads of paid editing work also came in after Christmas (no complaints!) so it all became a rush to the finish.
To be honest, at times other things felt far more important than writing a book, but I have to give my thanks to the publishers for their patience. They encouraged me to continue when I felt like giving up on it. I hope people find something enjoyable within. Someone today said it was very interesting, if a little off-piste. I am pleased with that description.”