Excited to find my book on the Pre-order list from Pen and Sword Books

So happy with how my forthcoming book, The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874, looks on the latest pre-order listings from my publisher Pen and Sword Books. To see my cover amongst all those others, each written by a hard working author is very exciting indeed. Can you find it? Marketing is ramping up locally too – it’s all to play for come September!

Great News: Short-listed for East Anglian Book Awards 2022

I am delighted to announce that The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874 (Pen and Sword Books 2021) has been shortlisted in the History and Tradition category of The East Anglian Book Awards for 2022. I was thrilled when my second book The Lady Lord Mayors of Norwich (Pen and Sword Books 2018) won the Biography Prize in the same competition in 2018, and this is equally exciting. The winner of each category should be announced in January 2023, with the overall winner crowned in February. My thanks go to everyone involved, including my friend and fellow writer Pete Goodrum who wrote the Preface, and my colleagues at Thorpe History Group who were so supportive during the long journey of research and writing. Updates to follow…. wish me luck!


Sharing Stories at U3A, Norwich

The Assembly House, Norwich

I had the most wonderful afternoon yesterday in the impressive Noverre Suite at the historic Assembly House in Norwich. I was the guest speaker at one of the monthly meetings of the Norwich branch of the University of the Third Age. I had spoken twice before and once again, was warmly welcomed by an excellent and knowledgeable audience. It was especially fun to share stories from the Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874, as the Assembly House gets a mention on page 54 of the book.

“A group of well-dressed gentlemen bounded onto the platform, looking for the first class smoking carriage destined for Lowestoft. Once the new engine is hooked up, these will form the rear of the train. To onlookers the men appear a little merry, for they have come directly from a most satisfactory Masonic dinner in the magnificent Assembly House, to celebrate the opening of the new Walpole Lodge in St Giles Street.”

My thanks go to the U3A Norwich for inviting me.

Two Great Reviews this week….

On arrival home this past weekend, from a short trip overseas , I was delighted to discover two of my favourite magazines amongst my pile of mail and Christmas cards. Both carry reviews of The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874 (Pen and Sword, 2021), and I can honestly say I was blown away by both of them. Firstly, the January 2022 edition of the renowned international magazine Family Tree from Warners Group Publications, has published a review in its ‘Books and Gifts’ section. The reviewer starts her piece by describing my narrative as having ‘all the pace of a great movie’, before acknowledging the ‘enormous hard work’ that I clearly put in to my research – that much is certainly true! My thanks to Helen Tovey, Family Tree Magazine editor.

The second publication is the December 2021 edition of the popular Norfolk Ancestor magazine, published for members of the Norfolk Family History Society, boasting loyal readers from all over the globe. The editor Peter Steward describes my book as being ‘a fascinating read […] by a superb storyteller who makes everything spring to life’. With this, Peter has clearly ‘got’ exactly what I wanted to achieve and for that comment alone I am most grateful to him.

Guess who features in “Who Do You Think You Are?” magazine, December edition

I was very excited this morning to open the December edition of “Who Do You Think You Are?” family history magazine. On page 85 in the “Meet The Author” feature, alongside the book reviews, is a piece bearing both my photo and my book cover. The editor has drawn together this interview from a telephone chat we had about a month ago. Local interest is still high in The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster with steady sales and presentation requests coming in thick and fast for 2022, but it is especially thrilling to appear for the first time in this internationally popular magazine. My thanks to the editor Sarah Williams for agreeing to carry the piece.

Feature on page 85

Update on November promotions and News

Delighted to report that progress is good with ‘The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874.’ Almost one calendar month since our official launch in Jarrold Department Store in Norwich, the book has now received four 5-star reviews on Amazon.co.uk and I have already given three presentations to groups in Norfolk, including a Zoom talk to 135 members of Norfolk Family History Group. I have received my second order of 100 copies from publisher Pen and Sword and during this month there is still more fun to come.

A review on the book will appear in the December editions of both Family Tree and Who Do You Think You Are Magazines, and I am looking forward to being interviewed later in November for the online history blog History Hack. I will also be giving my illustrated talk twice during this coming month.

And finally for now, having received more photographs and family information from descendants of Ellen Ramsdale, the beautiful 18 year old heiress travelling on the train from Yarmouth on that dreadful night of 10 September 1874, I have asked Pen and Sword whether I might expand her chapter for future reprints and for the paperback edition due in 2013. They have said yes so its back to the computer…..

If you’d like a signed copy of the book you can find details elsewhere on this blog or simply email me at phyllida.scrivens@icloud.com and we can work out payment and delivery. The price is £18 plus £4 p&p (UK only).

Signing copies in Jarrold today

On my way home from speaking to the Great Yarmouth Probus today, I called in at Jarrold Book Department in Norwich. They had asked me to come and sign copies for the bookshelves and, of course, I was delighted. Not only am I No 2 in their best sellers list this week, but it also appears in Local History and in Railways Section. The cover looks great, thanks to the Pen and Sword designers. The book is selling well and I was very excited to be amongst so many copies!

Fabulous Book Launch at Jarrold, Norwich on Thursday 30th September 2021

We had a wonderful evening in Jarrold Department Store in Norwich, when we launched my new book, The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874: Heroes, Victims, Survivors, published by Pen and Sword Books. Over sixty people came to the Pantry Restaurant where I was in conversation with Norwich writer and broadcaster Pete Goodrum. The photos tell the story. Family and friends gathered in Cote Brasserie afterwards for a celebratory dinner. My thanks to all concerned for a memorable event.

My first public talk about The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874

Yesterday was Thursday 16th September 2021 and I had the pleasure of giving my first public talk about the new book, as part of the Norwich Heritage Open Days programme. It was such an absolute honour to be asked, and I was very excited when I was assigned the Gallery in The Forum, one of the city’s iconic buildings. This not only houses the Millennium Library but also BBC Look East is broadcast from the studios within. There were just over 40 in the audience and my slides looked amazing through their state of the art equipment, cast onto the huge backdrop.

Even my new sound effects worked!

Afterwards, many people came up to speak with me, and eight of them walked away with a signed copy. This was an excellent start to my forthcoming journey with this, my third book and I must thank Samantha, Lottie and Joe for their help and support in The Forum. Next comes Thorpe Cemetery on Sunday, when Thorpe History Group is holding a Railway Day, where I will be displaying more copies of the book.

The Forum, Norwich

A very special evening in Thorpe St Andrew

As previously reported, last Friday, 10th September 2021, was the 147th anniversary of The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster. The special commemorative dinner held at the Rushcutter’s Inn in Thorpe St Andrew, just outside Norwich. Known as The Three Tuns in 1874, this is the very pub where the dead and the dying were laid out in the skittle alley on the night of the accident, to await the inquest. The dinner proved to be an excellent occasion, with the Deputy Mayor and, Rector of Thorpe St Andrew, Pete Goodrum, who wrote the foreword for the book, local historians, writers and a descendent of one of the heroes of the accident, joining me and my husband. At 9pm, we went out to the river bank, where everyone cast white carnations onto the water, while the names of the 28 people who died were read out. This was followed by the Reverend James Stewart offering a prayer for the dead.

It was a very special evening and my thanks go all my guests and to the staff of The Rushcutter’s Inn.

Commemorative Dinner at The Rushcutter’s Inn, Thorpe St Andrew on 147th Anniversary of The Great Thorpe Railway Disaster 1874

Today, 10th September 2021 is 147th anniversary of Thorpe Railway Disaster

Today is the 147th anniversary of the Great Thorpe Railway Disaster. My publisher Pen and Sword Books has posted a special blog commemorating this event and honouring the 28 people who died as a result of the collision. I am grateful to them. Please take a look.