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Stella & Rose's Books

Specialists in Rare & collectable books

Investigating the Drains <br />or, Tracing our Family History

Names are wonderful things, aren't they? Just imagine how confusing life would be without them!

It is the pursuit of the names of my ancestors which has been occupying (too) many hours of my spare time recently as I try to fill in the gaps on our family tree – including the titular Drains, related by marriage to one of my great aunts.

I have been interested in tracing our family for around thirty years, but as with most hobbies the level of enthusiasm waxes and wanes, or constraints are applied by other factors, so there may be times when there is no active research. However, at present I admit that I am deeply in 'enthusiastic mode' once again and my desk is slowly disappearing beneath an unstable pile of printouts from census returns and certificates of births, marriages and deaths as I attempt to collate all the information onto the computer.

(Published 15th Dec 2016) Read full article

My pet Rabbits

Here are Sooty and Sweep, my six year old lop-eared rabbits. Sooty is the white rabbit and Sweep is brown. As you can see from the photos they both have long floppy ears which is typical of lop-eared rabbits. I always wanted a lop-eared rabbit when I was a child but I was never allowed, although we did have lots of other pets: dog, cats, tortoise, cockatiel and hamsters, but no rabbits.

So as an adult and still wanting a rabbit we (my family) decided to go and pick our bunny. We phoned ahead to the pet shop and they had two left, when we arrived there was just one! We couldn't leave him once seen so he came home with us. We didn't want him to be by himself so we went back to the pet shop a couple of days later and picked another male rabbit. Male rabbits are known as the buck.

(Published 30th Nov 2016) Read full article

Dan Dare and Eagle

What do the characters Colonel Daniel McGregor Dare, Digby, Sir Hubert Guest, Professor Peabody, Hank Hogan and Lex O'Malley have in common? They all feature in the science-fiction comic strip series “Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future”!

We were recently lucky enough to purchase a large collection of Eagle and Dan Dare related items. Not having purchased much of this kind of stock previously I hadn't actually realised that there was a connection between Eagle and Dan Dare! So I did a little research...

The Eagle comic was founded by the Rev. Marcus Morris together with Frank Hampson and publication started in 1950. It was more than a comic for boys, though, as it contained educational features, articles on sports and hobbies, cut-away diagrams of the latest technologies of the time, and so on. The character of Dan Dare was created for the very first issue of the Eagle comic.

(Published 21st Oct 2016) Read full article

John S. Goodall

The ability to tell a story without the use of words was one of the many talents of John S. Goodall. John Strickland Goodall, to give his full name, was born in Heacham in Norfolk in 1908 to Amelia Hunt and Prof. Joseph Strickland Goodall, a famous heart specialist. During his time at Harrow School, and in the years immediately after, he learnt from and worked with such famous artists as Sir Arthur Cope RA, J. Watson Nicol and Harold Speed, and he also spent some time at the Royal Academy Schools.

Illustrations for magazines including the Radio Times provided regular work for him right up until WW2 when he served in the Royal Norfolk Regiment. Advertisements for major companies and banks were part of his work after the war and into the 1950s. He was comfortable with all mediums, from pen and ink and oils in his early illustrating days to watercolours later and, it would seem, with all subjects including portraits, animals and landscapes.

(Published 20th Sep 2016) Read full article

Characters in Childrens Books and Television Shows

 In the office upstairs at Stella Books, we're always keeping an eye out for any book-related news.

This month, one such article was kept from a recent newspaper. It was about Gordon Murray, who sadly died on 30th of June 2016. Now, if you had said to me 'Gordon Murray' I wouldn't have known who you were talking about! However, looking at the article, I definitely recognized the popular children's characters in the photos that went along with the article.

Gordon Murray (born 3rd May 1921), was possibly most well known for his contribution to children's TV in the 1950s and 1960s. He first helped out on a number of shows with the BBC, including 'The Flowerpot Men' (featuring everyone's favourite characters Bill and Ben!); originally read aloud on the radio programme, Listen With Mother (1951), but subsequently broadcast from 1952 as a TV show on 'Watch With Mother'.

(Published 17th Aug 2016) Read full article

The Harry Potter Series

With the recent release of "The Cursed Child", a new play set within the Harry Potter universe, and "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them", a film about a magical zoologist in the series, the world of Harry Potter is being talked about everywhere once again: J.K. Rowling created a true world of magic when she first wrote "The Philosopher's Stone", and today that world spans ever wider.

For those who have never read the series or watched the films: Harry Potter's parents are murdered by a dark wizard when he's a baby, and although he's raised by his Muggle (non-magical) aunt and uncle, at eleven years old he receives an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The initial series of books covers his adventures at Hogwarts, and his eventual defeat of the man who killed his parents: it's a fantasy series, but it's also about growing up, and about the polarizing differences between some people and others.

(Published 15th Jul 2016) Read full article

Tintern's Hidden History

Many of us have probably heard of Tintern Abbey - if not, read Sonia's potted history. However, Tintern has a partly hidden history including being the first place in the world where brass was produced by alloying copper with zinc in 1568. So here is my disjointed article on Tintern industrial history.

So why does Tintern have an industrial history?

It is all to do with Location -

The fast flowing Angidy river – suitable for driving water wheels, at one point there were 22 of them.

Plentiful woodland to make charcoal to heat the furnaces

(Published 30th Jun 2016) Read full article

Biggles by Capt. W.E. Johns

So Just Who Was Biggles? Biggles first appeared in book form in 1932 when "The Camels Are Coming" was published by John Hamilton. His 96th, and last, appearance, as written by Captain W E Johns, was in Biggles Sees Too Much, published in 1970. During that time there was hardly an inch of the earth's surface or air space that he had not covered.

(Published 1st Jun 2016) Read full article

Pop-Up Books

Originally for adults, examples of three dimensional or movable books date back to the 13th century. Since that time, this type of book has been used to beautifully illustrate fiction stories and serve as a learning tool initially for adults and then for children. They are more expensive to produce and require specialised skills so there are few examples until the Bookano series was produced from 1929 for 20 years. These have lovely, colourful three dimensional pop ups which can be viewed from several angles. Bookano books (the name comes from Meccano which was also becoming popular at this time) are very collectible.

Lothar Meggendorfer, a German, is famous for his movable books. He originally created them for his son and went on to create over 200 from the middle of the 19th Century. The pop up mechanisms and movable parts in his books are some of the most complex ever created. They have been so admired that there is a bi-annual Meggendorfer Prize awarded for outstanding paper engineering to the artist who has produced the most outstanding commercially published pop-up or movable book.

(Published 18th May 2016) Read full article

The Many Forms of Advertising

Every day we encounter advertising in one form or another, whether through television, radio, newspapers, post, the internet or advertising hoardings it forms part of our day to day lives. How much we are influenced by it is open to question. I find that there are certain adverts on television that I watch every time they are shown just because I like the music or they amuse me. Often I have no interest in the product and sometimes I fail to see the connection between the content of the advert and the featured product but this doesn't stop me repeatedly watching them. There are also adverts that I find intensely irritating but love them or hate them advertising is here to stay and can be a powerful way of getting a message across. I am proof that this message can remain with you for many years as I can still remember advertising jingles or phrases from 30 years ago for chocolate bars, carpet cleaner, tea, petrol, washing-up liquid, mashed potato etc.

(Published 1st May 2016) Read full article

Wine, women, song... and rope-walking elephants!

Just a May Day holiday in ancient Rome...

As the days are lengthening and weather improving (in theory at least), many of you may be starting to look forward to the May Bank Holiday. It seems appropriate, therefore, to consider the ancient Roman festival which took place at the same time of year: the Floralia, in honour of the goddess Flora.

Flora, one of the most ancient deities in Roman religion, was a goddess of flowers, vegetation and fertility and she was one of 15 deities that had a state priest (known as a flamen) charged with overseeing her worship. According to legend her worship was introduced to Rome around 240 BC by a Sabine king with the rather splendid name of Titus Tatius. Her worship continued for a number of years before falling into decline, but her cult was reinstated in 173 BC after a series of poor harvests.

(Published 21st Apr 2016) Read full article

Rupert's New Home

A lot has happened in the life of Rupert Bear since he was purchased from the Daily Express in 2005 by the family entertainment business, Entertainment Rights, for six million pounds. As well as a new home, Rupert has acquired a new look, new chums and a TV programme all of his own. While he has exchanged his brown boots for trendy trainers, Rupert is still instantly recognisable in his yellow check trousers and red jumper.

Aimed at children aged 2-5, Rupert's TV show, Follow The Magic, was launched in 2006 and has delighted youngsters ever since. Themes of the show are magic, adventure, fun, friendship and nature, blended with early learning activities. Children are encouraged to use their imaginations as they follow Rupert and his friends on magical journeys from Nutwood to Rocky Bay and beyond. The friends' exciting adventures are always based on an event in the natural world with emphasis on the importance of caring for the environment.

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2012

The Followers of Rupert Weekend 24th & 25th August 2012

The ‘Rupert Fair’ has become a pleasurable annual event for Stella & Rose’s Books - we have been attending as book sellers for as long as I have been involved with the business! The weekend consists of a meal for club members on the Friday evening followed by a full day of activities on the Saturday and a Gala Dinner in the evening.

As a Rupert collector I always enjoy the day and it’s a chance for us to meet old friends, find some new ones and hopefully sell a few books! For the last few years the event has been held at the excellent facilities at Warwick School. We are based in one of the school halls, along with another 10 or more dealers selling all manner of Rupert books, toys, pictures, models, badges and other Ruperty paraphernalia.

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2011

Why's Rupert Bear at Warwick School? He's never there as a rule Once a year it's that day When all his Followers come to play 200 friends from far and wide Are there to be at Rupert's side

Tony, well he's no dunce He has three jobs to do at once And then there's John who glides about And though in charge he'll never shout And in the corner another John Who sits and checks what's going on

Rupert's money is in the till It's always checked by his friend Phil Publications for our merry band That's where Alan lends a hand Rupert's library's safe and sound That's Louise I'll be bound More work's provided by two Mikes That's the help that Rupert likes Rupert's younger friends have Val and Eddie You'll need to get your paintings ready If you're a Follower that's just great If not, join now - it's not too late!


(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2010

What a fun day we had, made even more exciting by the presence of a team from BBC television who were filming events and interviews for inclusion in a programme to help celebrate Rupert's 90th birthday! Who would have thought the little bear would have still been so popular after all these years? But popular he is as evidenced by the hundreds of Followers, both Junior and Senior, who gather each year to enjoy all things Ruperty.

Stuart Trotter (current Rupert artist and storyteller) was there to sign the new annuals; Ian Robinson (former storyteller) gave a talk about his new Rupert Companion book which looks at the development of Rupert over the years and at some of the ephemera and products that surround him; John Hunt presented a fascinating talk on modelling a 3D Rupert from the flat images of a picture. All this as well as the usual origami workshops, a magician, balloon modelling, face painting for the youngsters, the play - which this year had the Chums rescuing a princess from an evil wizard - and the opportunity to purchase everything Ruperty you could think of!

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2009

A great day to be had by all!

To give you a taster here are some more pictures from the Followers of Rupert Annual General Meeting 2009.

Rupert Follower's Meeting 28th August 2010 - A Preview

The day should be one to remember as the Followers Of Rupert celebrate the famous Bear's 90th birthday! Ian Robinson, author of the Rupert annual stories, will be presenting a talk on his time as the last Rupert Editor at the Daily Express and will also be available to sign and dedicate special bookplates for his book, The Rupert Companion. Advance copies of the new Rupert annual should be available and Stuart Trotter, the new Rupert artist, will be attending to sign them for you.

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2006

Great excitement in Nutwood! Saturday August 26th 2006 was the date of the 23rd annual meeting of the Followers of Rupert Bear.

Hundreds of Rupert Followers met in Warwick to chat about Rupert, browse and buy thousands of Ruperty items and to enjoy company of other like-minded Rupert fans. 

This year we saw ownership of Rupert transferred from the Express Newspapers to a company called Entertainment Rights and rumours were rife that Rupert would be changed forever from the character we know and love so well to a cartoon character similar to Disney's Winnie-The-Pooh.

Nardis Roscoe, representing Rupert's new owners, gave an excellent talk and reassured us that New Rupert, like Disney's Pooh, is aimed at pre-school children and that Classic Rupert, like Classic Pooh, is safe - and aimed at older children and adults.

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Followers of Rupert 2014

The Bard slept soundly in his graveBut saw in dream a friendly wave

What can that be that comes this wayHe says to wife Anne Hathaway

Legs cross gartered yelleeowThat must be Malvolio

The Bard was wrong despite his stareWhom did he see – twas Rupert Bear.

Warwick Castle glowers downOn to its charming little town

It's menace lifts when it does hearRupert and Friends are drawing near

The stony keep all sad and coldSees all the Followers, young and old

And just once a year within it's ruleSees jolly friends at Warwick School.

The Avon glides slow on its wayIt counts its Swans each and every day

When August comes its sums are wrongThere's one more Swan that's come along

(Published 20th Apr 2016) Read full article

Ladybird Series 561 - Adventures From History

Having recently come to know more about Ladybird books in general, I have been amazed at the great interest still shown in Series 561 - 'Adventures From History'.

There appears to be a variety of reasons why this series in particular continues to be so very popular today. Many people still like to collect each title as part of their full Ladybird books collection. Sometimes parents will come and buy copies for their children if, perhaps, they are doing a school project on a specific character from history. Others just prefer the simple but informative style that Ladybirds use, so that they can learn about different periods of history quickly and easily.

With fifty titles in the series all told, Adventures From History is the biggest series that Ladybird produced between 1940 and 1981. The first title, 'King Alfred The Great', was published with a dustwrapper in 1956 and the last title, 'William Shakespeare', was published some twenty-four years later in 1981.

(Published 6th Apr 2016) Read full article

Tootles The Taxi

With our big stock of Ladybird Books that come through Stella and Rose's Books, we often see which titles are most popular by how long they stay on our shelves.

A title that appears to not stay on our shelves very long is that of 'Tootles The Taxi and Other Rhymes' written by Joyce B. Clegg and illustrated by John Kenney. This being the case, I wondered why this book was so popular and sat down to read it myself.

With the title, which I always refer to as 'Tootles', you could be led to believe that the book is mostly about a taxi by that name (well, that is what I thought anyway). To my surprise the rest of the title 'And Other Rhymes' describes the book more accurately. 'Tootles' is just the first rhyme in the book, with every subsequent page having a different vehicle and corresponding rhyme.

(Published 6th Apr 2016) Read full article