I was born and raised in the northern-most part of the North Riding of Yorkshire. From the age of 19 I worked in the heart of the East Riding as a weekly newspaper reporter. After seven years I moved into media relations, working first for Humberside Police, and then becoming northern head of public relations for the brewer and pub operator Bass. This took me first to York and then to Leeds in the West Riding.
In this job I discovered an interest in history when I was asked to produce some publicity material to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tower Brewery at Tadcaster, which is mid-way between Leeds and York. Unconvinced by the flimsy evidence I was given of its foundation, I dug around and consulted local historians only to discover that the centenary had actually been missed by three years. That led to a strictly non-commercial research project to produce an official history of the brewery, which I undertook in my spare time. It was eventually published by Bass. Second-hand copies of History of the Tower Brewery, Tadcaster can usually be found for sale at very reasonable prices on the internet.
In 1992 I set up my own media and public relations consultancy business in the centre of Leeds. It traded nationally and mostly successfully for 19 years before becoming a victim of the recession of 2010. Happily from my point of view, the company’s demise coincided with my increasingly overwhelming desire to spend as much time as possible researching and writing more history. So I retired.
I lack any significant academic qualification in history, or indeed in anything, and have no interest in investing the time and money required to obtain one. My aim is to learn by reading, and to study and investigate in my own way. I am contributing to the work of Swaledale local history and pre-history organisations, sharing as much as possible the results of my research and labours, while also working towards the publication of some of my own writing – either as essays or books – that might hopefully, with endeavour, come somewhere close to professional standards.