Stella and Rose's Books Logo

Stella & Rose's Books

Specialists in Rare & Collectable Books

Guidebooks of a Past Era

“What dull men are those that tarry at home,When abroad they might wantonly rome, (sic)And gain such experience, and spy tooSuch Countries, and Wonders as I do.  – Cowley”

Excerpt from Highways and Byways in Northamptonshire and Rutland, by H. A. Evans (1918)

We sell a number of different types of old guidebooks in our shop and one of my favourites is the ‘Highways and Byways’ series, each with numerous illustrations, some by noted artists. The ‘Highways and Byways’ series includes 36 pocket-sized regional guides which were hugely popular in their day.  They had very distinct branding (before the word branding existed), which made them instantly noticeable, with their dark green covers (blue for the later editions) and gilt writing on the front and spine. 

(Published 23rd Apr 2024) Read full article

The Weather Forecast

We are having to get used to the frequency and ferocity of storms. We have currently experienced more than seven storms this winter already. With this information in mind, I was very interested in an article about a shipwreck off Porth Alerth near Moelfre on Anglesey that was instrumental in the creation of the shipping forecast. As often happens, tragedy leads to a catalyst for change.

In British weather history, the Royal Charter Storm of 1859 was a devastating tempest off the west coast of Britain which played a pivotal role in the founding of the shipping forecast and has had an enduring impact on weather forecasting in the UK and beyond.

(Published 2nd Apr 2024) Read full article

Yorkshire – or God’s Own Country

Is it too early to talk about holidays? – I don’t think it is, it’s how we get through the winter months.

I am off for a short break to Yorkshire in the Spring, York to be precise. York comes from the Viking name for the city, Jorvik and shire comes from an old English or Nordic word.


I have been to York before, but not for many years now, and I am eager to reacquaint myself with all it has to offer or as much as can be accomplished in a weekend.

(Published 1st Mar 2024) Read full article

Haynes Workshop Manuals

I have been asked to write an article for the Stella & Rose’s Books monthly newsletter and, as it is my first one, I thought what better than to write about a particular type of book of which I have quite a few!  I imagine that many readers will also have at least one in their collection or have seen them.  I am referring to Haynes Workshop Manuals

Manuals on the Workshop Shelf  

John Haynes OBE, founder of the Haynes Publishing Group, published the first manual in 1965 for the Austin-Healey Sprite. This was after he had been asked to help rebuild a Frogeye Sprite and realised that the official factory manual was not designed to help the average car owner.  He captured the rebuild process by taking step by step photographs and he linked these to exploded diagrams which became the trademark of the Haynes manuals.

(Published 30th Jan 2024) Read full article

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

You would be forgiven for never having heard the name Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, an Australian illustrator of children’s fiction (I am writing this from the UK). At the turn of the 20th century, she was well known for bringing fairies and other magical creatures to life, using mainly pen and ink and watercolour. Fairies, brownies, elves, and witches interact with the animals of the Australian outback. When she died in 1960, her fame was dwindling, as artistic tastes of children turned to focus on the less naïve.

(Published 2nd Jan 2024) Read full article

Four Peaks & A Spitfire

Recently, my brother-in-law invited me on a day’s walk in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Being unable to resist the allure of the mountains, I immediately agreed. So, on a cold, crisp November morning I found myself in the carpark just below the disused Neuadd reservoirs.

The plan for the walk was to combine our shared love of walking the mountains with some bird watching and a sneaky detour to find the wreckage of a crashed WW2 Spitfire. During the winter months Snow Buntings leave their ‘summer’ breeding grounds in the Arctic and head south. They can occasionally be found on the high moorlands of the Beacons – parts of our walk would take us through some perfect habitat. We also wanted to keep an eye out for Red Grouse.

(Published 29th Nov 2023) Read full article

Alternate Ways To Search For Books On Our Website

If you are interested in books on a particular subject, it can be hard to find the books that interest you through general searches on websites.  On the Stella and Rose’s Books website we provide a number of features to help with this.  In case you haven’t come across these features on our website search before, here is some information to get you started.

Search by Category

Categories is a powerful search feature we have on the website.  Every book at Stella & Rose’s is assigned one or more categories with the primary category dictating where you find the book in the shop and also where it ‘lives’ on the website.

(Published 31st Oct 2023) Read full article

Military History Books

When I took over the buying of books from Cliff & Chris more than ten years ago (that is, everything except children's which is Maria’s speciality), I never would have guessed how many military type books there are! I say type as many end up on the history shelves as opposed to the military shelves, also the aviation shelves, and the maritime shelves… It is hard to know where to draw the line when military becomes history. I try to stick to a rule of thumb that our military shelves are from World War I subjects onwards, anything before that goes into history or, sometimes, our transport shelves but it doesn’t always work out that way!

(Published 3rd Oct 2023) Read full article

Trip to America

I recently went to the USA to visit my family in Houston, Texas whom I had not seen for nine years. As with so many others I had planned a trip in 2020 which had to be postponed.

Orsak's Cafe / Fayetteville  

It was a fairly laid-back holiday as Dad is getting on in years, so nothing energetic was on the cards, which is just as well as the lead up to the trip was a whole other adventure. Aiming to go soon after the New Year is madness when you have Christmas to sort out as well as planning a trip. I won’t be doing that again!

(Published 30th Aug 2023) Read full article

Water Life

Are you fascinated by water? I don’t mean the wet stuff that falls from the sky, but the places it ends up – in streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean. I’ve always had a fascination for water and the life contained in and around it. When travelling I try to look for a place to stay near a river as you can guarantee there will be something interesting to look at.

Starfish in Madeira  

When I was young, many moons ago, my aunt and uncle lived in a house that had a tiny stream at the bottom of the garden, I loved going down there, ever hopeful that I might find a minnow or two, or some kind of fishy life. Sadly, it was quite devoid of water life but it didn’t put me off!

(Published 26th Jul 2023) Read full article

Errol Le Cain

Errol Le Cain was born in Singapore in 1941 and shortly afterwards moved to Agra in India.

Although Errol Le Cain had no formal art training he showed an obvious talent from an early age.

Aladdin / Beauty and the Beast


He first showed an interest in film making and at the age of eleven made a short film called "The Enchanted Mouse" and then at the age of fifteen another film called "The Little Goatherd".

This brought him to the attention of the agents of the film distributor Pearl and Dean, so in 1956 at the tender age of 15 they paid his passage from Singapore to London to start a career in film and television animation.

(Published 29th Jun 2023) Read full article

Vera Southgate

Vera Southgate (birth name Pegg) was born in County Durham in March 1916 and was raised alongside her sister Mary. Both sisters would eventually train and become teachers in their own right. Vera's career was varied, and she taught children of many ages including infant, junior, secondary and also at special schools

Vera Southgate (Wiki) / Cinderella (606D)  

In 1942 she married Arthur Southgate and stopped teaching for a while.  Sadly, Vera was widowed only six years later in 1948 and, having no children, she returned to teaching, this time in Manchester where she met and married her second husband Douglas Thomas Booth in 1961.  Despite this, Vera kept the surname 'Southgate' for most of her published works.

(Published 30th May 2023) Read full article

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon (known to her family as Nellie), was born in London on 13th of February 1881 to a talented and artistic literary family.  Her father Benjamin Leopold Farjeon was himself an author, while her mother Margaret was a daughter of the American actor Joseph Jefferson.  Eleanor was their only daughter and had three brothers.

Eleanor Farjeon (Wiki)  

Being born into such gifted family, her writing was encouraged from a very young age, and although having no formal education but rather being home taught, this did not prevent her from writing a full story, 'Kitty's Dream' at just six years of age.  Farjeon's writing was not just limited to one genre, she also wrote poetry, plays, children’s and adult novels as well as short stories, essays and non-fiction articles along with operas and operettas. Her audience, therefore, was vast and varied.

(Published 27th Apr 2023) Read full article

Pictorial Bindings

Having recently purchased a large collection of children’s books with pictorial bindings I would like to tell you about them.

What do we mean when we talk about pictorial bindings? Frequently found on children’s books the cloth bindings are stamped in different colours and in many cases embellished with gilt. While pictorial bindings became very popular during the Victorian period with the Art Noveau movement, the majority of the books in our collection are from the Edwardian period with designs printed on the front covers and spines and the title often in gilt.

(Published 28th Mar 2023) Read full article

Additive Manufacturing – or 3D Printing

I suppose there is a great British tradition of men tinkering away in sheds at the bottom of gardens – inventing some amazing contraption or fixing that kitchen appliance that has decided to stop working.

I like to think that Additive Manufacturing - better known as 3D printing - falls into this same tradition. Its popularity, low cost and minimal barriers to entry have allowed a younger generation to rapidly realise ideas or quickly design and print spare parts for obsolete gadgets.

Printer Filament / 3D Printer  

Before I relate a little of my 3D printing story, I should explain how these amazing contraptions work. At the most basic level, these devices produce 3D parts by building up the part layer by layer. The media (and therefore the process of fusing the layers) can vary greatly. At the high-end, metal powders are used, which are then fused using a high-powered laser in a process called SLS (Selective Laser Sintering). The end result can be incredibly complex metal parts with shapes and hollow areas that would be impossible to create using traditional methods.

(Published 28th Feb 2023) Read full article

Pop-up, Action and Moveable Books

Some books are different, some books have to have a special section of their own. Pop-up, action and moveable books all fall into this category with their own section in Room Four of the Stella and Rose’s Bookshop in Tintern

Having grown up with pop-up books like Jan Pienkowski’sHaunted House’ I have an enduring love of this type of book and working at the bookstore has introduced me to all kinds of moving books I was previously unaware of. 

(Published 26th Jan 2023) Read full article

Michael Foreman

Michael Foreman is an award-winning illustrator of over 300 titles for both adults and children. He is best known for his children’s book illustrations and is a winner of numerous awards including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and Kate Greenaway Medal. He was born in Suffolk in 1938 and grew up near Lowestoft, in Pakefield, where his mother kept the village shop. 

As a child, he did not have any books in the family home. This gave him the advantage of being able to come up with completely new look illustrations, never having seen the original illustrations of childhood classics and often reading them for the first time when asked to illustrate the classics. He has illustrated books by Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, The Brothers Grimm, J.M. Barrie, Roald Dahl and Rudyard Kipling, to name a few. His style, using watercolour and line drawings, is especially suited to fables, folk and fairy tales, giving a sense of mystery and menace. He has also written and illustrated numerous books for children himself.

(Published 3rd Jan 2023) Read full article

The Funny (and not so funny) Side of Living in Portugal

My turn to write the monthly article for our website but the eternal question – what to write about? I am staying at my cottage in Portugal at the moment so thought I would recount some of the more interesting aspects of living here.

The first lesson my husband and I learned on arriving here was – be patient!  Nothing and no-one moves in a hurry here, unlike in the UK where everyone seems to be rushing around all the time. In some ways it is refreshing, in other ways it is immensely frustrating. My husband, Cliff, found this the most difficult thing to get used to but eventually was forced to relax and go with the flow.

(Published 22nd Nov 2022) Read full article

A Wonderful Weekend

I live near Monmouth and am lucky enough to be able to walk from my house into some woods where I can listen to bird song and watch the changing light, depending on the time of year, day, and weather.

I can also walk into town across the Wye bridge, but sadly this is not so enchanting at present.  In the last five years, only five years, it has changed from a river full of fish and wildlife to a smelly, sad river with large mushroom shaped plumes of algae.  This can be lethal to dogs who swim in the river and harmful to humans as well as to life on and in the river.  There used to be more than 20 swans to be seen at any one time, many with multiple cygnets, now we only see one or two and the cygnets find it hard to survive with the lack of food.  Conversely there are many more Canada geese because they can graze the surrounding grasses more effectively.  As to be expected these days it is down to short-sighted human pollution, water extraction, climate change and the lack of political will.

(Published 1st Nov 2022) Read full article

Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham, one of 12 children, was born 19th September 1867 in Vauxhall, London and died 6th September 1939.

Arthur Rackham is undoubtedly a name that can be placed right in the heart of the Golden Age of book illustration, and with it conjures up images of elves, fairies, princes & princesses, brave young knights and dragons. Some would say he was a direct inspiration for Disney many years later.

The last years of the nineteenth century saw a huge new interest in folk & fairy tales by the general public. This subject was revived mostly by the authors Andrew Lang and Joseph Jacobs and could be seen in the pages of Strand magazine from all corners of the world. This Golden Age of children’s book illustration reached its peak between the years 1905-1914 due to this interest in folk and fairy tales. At the same time the new technology being developed in book printing techniques enabled colour illustrations to be reproduced for mass publication.

(Published 20th Sep 2022) Read full article