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About Bedford Falls Publications

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Martin Gittins, Founder

Bedford Falls Publications came about as a natural development from my own writing.

Since the mid 1980s I have had a strong interest in Local History which, in turn, led me to start a Local History Study Group as an Outreach Class from Abraham Moss Adult Education College in Manchester. The findings of that study group eventually found their way into a small booklet called 'From The Green', a guided walk around some of the local streets near Crumpsall Green close to the school where I was teaching and where the study group met, Crumpsall Lane Junior School.

For the next thirty years or more, I continued my interest on a personal level, amassing large amounts of information about a range of Local History topics that I found interesting. A chance meeting in 2015 led to the formation of Cheetham and Crumpsall heritage Society. My involvement in this group re-kindled my interest in writing about Local History and I proceeded to produce 5 more books detailing further walks 'From the Green'

These were soon followed by a number of small booklets, some of my own work, a set of eight volumes written by a friend of mine about a time-travelling historical hero, and some collections of stories by other local people, that I had printed at a local printshop.

It wasn't until The Corona Virus Lockdown that this material found an outlet in a different form. I knew that there had never been a book dedicated to the history of Crumpsall and so, with time on my hands and nowhere to go I set about compiling the content of the guided walk books into a single volume entitled 'A Crumpsall History.

I then set about finding a way to publish the book in the simplest possible way. I discovered a company which would print books to the customer's specifications in sufficiently small quantities to make it a viable proposition for people like myself without access to a marketing organisation to place the book in retail settings.

I ordered 100 copies from the printers and, by the time they arrived I had already pre-sold almost three quarters of them. A quick re-print was organised and, to date, sales have reached almost 250 copies.

A Crumpsall History was quickly followed, about two months later, by A History of Cheetham Hill Road and, within the following year, Histories of Collyhurst & Harpurhey and then Bury New Road.

As my familiarity with the printing company developed and book les continued at a healthy rate I inevitably came across people who asked about how I had gone about the publishing process. This led to collaborations with two other authors and the production of their own history books, one about Ashton Under Lyne and a Peterloo connection and one about a mysterious family vault in a churchyard in Prestwich.

One of my lifelong interests and hobbies has been my involvement with folk clubs and music sessions around Greater Manchester. In these setting I have met many people who , as well as performing, also write their own material. In recent years there has been an upsurge in the popularity of 'Spoken Word' (or poetry as we used to call it) It wasn't long after publishing my own work before I was offering some of these performers help to produce booklets of their poetry which they could sell at gigs and elsewhere.

Two poets took me up on the offer and together we produced a set of three books for one of them and a set of two for the other

Around the same time, and stemming from lockdown, as my own writing had done, I came across a local man who was posting memories of his childhood in Collyhurst on an almost daily basis on Facebook. He was getting up to 150 comments each day and I approached him, suggesting to him that he should consider publishing and selling his stories. He was sceptical until I pointed out the numbers of people showing an interest. Within weeks of publishing a pair of books he had sold over 150 sets.

Reflecting on the success of the small booklets I realised that I could also help others achieve the quality, bound books that I had produced in the history series.

I had adopted the name 'Bedford Falls Publications' mainly to give the history books a professional look and to establish an identity, so that people would associate the books with the brand, so to speak. Now, I decided, it was time to spread my wings a little and see just how successful, BFP could become.

The first 'proper book' as I now refer to them, that was published on behalf of another author was a poetry book. Lynn Walton whose three volumes were doing very well, referred a friend to me. Michelle Cantliff, also known as The Smokeytop Poet wanted to out a collection of her poems into a book. I worked out what i thought was a fair arrangement with her and she was happy yo proceed. the resultant book 'Scenes From Smokeytop Salford In Verse' has been a runaway success, so much so, that she has already produced volume 2.

It was when I went to deliver Michelle's books to her that I ran into an old friend, David Gray, at her house and, as fate would have it, he too wanted to produce a book, this time a collection of short stories. Michelle, in turn introduced me to High Sandy Cameron, a poet from the Wirrall and his book 'Musings is a Good Word' soon followed.

Another introduction from Michelle led me to collaborate with Mick Coleman, who wrote and performed The 1978 number one song, Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs. He had a folder full of songs and poems, written over the last forty years or more, which had never seen the light of day.

By now I was pretty well organised and had what I considered a simple and fair system for bringing people's work to fruition. I even found time to resurrect my own 'first novel' which had originally been written in 1985, revised in about 2000 and finally finished in the spring of 2022. Spyridon's Seal is little more than a long story or a short novella, to be honest, but it would never have seen the light of day if all the other stages outlined above hadn't happened first. Similarly, I was delighted to help my  brother, Steve to realise a long-held dram to publish a short story he wrote about and for his daughters when they were young children. The result, Pentador The Wizard was a labour of love, with only 25 copies produced, but they proved popular among Steve's family and friends.

And that brings the story to 2024. Geoff Higginbottom has published two novels in as many months and he promises there will be at least two more on the way. Other authors, too, have plans for follow-up volumes to their work and there are a couple of new faces, yet to show their work, in the pipeline. So the year ahead looks promising for Bedford Falls Publications.

If you have a story, a collection of songs or poems, or a work of non-fiction that you're longing to share, maybe you will feature here in the months to come.?To explore how we work and to get all the information you need about timescale, workload, cost, rewards etc simply return the short form below to start your journey

Let’s Work Together

Bedford Falls Publications

Tel: 07760430577

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