“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell


 Published in November 2017 by  Amberley , and also available via  Amazon .  Also available as an e-book. 

Published in November 2017 by Amberley, and also available via Amazon.  Also available as an e-book. 

Cheltenham in 50 Buildings

From a small market town to its heyday as a fashionable watering place and recognition as ‘the most complete Regency town in Britain’, through to its subsequent reinvention as a centre for religion, education, shopping and festivals, Cheltenham has a proud and distinctive identity. This extraordinary history is embodied in the buildings that have shaped the town, from the medieval church (now its Minster) and the Montpellier Rotunda, where a young Gustav Holst performed, to the world’s first (outside of London) purpose-built Masonic hall and one of the country’s most iconic buildings of the modern era, the GCHQ Doughnut. In this unique study well-known local author David Elder guides the reader on a tour of its greatest treasures, revealing that Cheltenham’s history is sometimes complex but never dull. 


 Published in April 2016 by  Tewkesbury Historical Society  as a limited edition.  Also available as an e-book.   ‘Literary Tewkesbury’ presents a fascinating collection of quotations, images and commentary that provides a totally new perspective on Tewkesbury’s history.  Fully illustrated in colour and black and white. Complete with index and a literary walk around the town.      

Published in April 2016 by Tewkesbury Historical Society as a limited edition.  Also available as an e-book. 

‘Literary Tewkesbury’ presents a fascinating collection of quotations, images and commentary that provides a totally new perspective on Tewkesbury’s history.  Fully illustrated in colour and black and white. Complete with index and a literary walk around the town.

 

 

Literary Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury is one of those ancient places that seems always to have been there. Over the centuries its history has frequently ‘dripped’ from the pages of literature, from Shakespeare to Ivor Gurney and from Sir Walter Scott to Charles Dickens to name but a few. Yet writers have also provided more intimate portraits of the town they have loved and cherished – whether it is faintly disguised as the ‘queer unique’ Elmbury of Tewkesburian novelist John Moore or the Norton Bury of Mrs Craik’s most celebrated novel John Halifax, Gentleman. In terms of overall importance this town has always managed to ‘punch above its weight’ whether it’s the great Abbey with cathedral-like proportions or the great battle of 1471 which proved to be one of the most decisive during the War of the Roses. This informative, analytical and richly illustrated anthology celebrates the history of Tewkesbury through literature from its early beginnings to the modern day, the achievements of its many remarkable people, and the importance of its local heritage.  


 Published in 2015 by  Amberley , and also available via  Amazon .  Also available as an e-book.   Covering places of outstanding beauty and treasures of historical interest, this guide has carefully selected fifty unmissable gems which help this region to sparkle as a jewel in the nation’s heritage.

Published in 2015 by Amberley, and also available via Amazon.  Also available as an e-book. 

Covering places of outstanding beauty and treasures of historical interest, this guide has carefully selected fifty unmissable gems which help this region to sparkle as a jewel in the nation’s heritage.

50 Gems of the Cotswolds

To many, the Cotswolds epitomise rural England at its best, conjuring up images of tranquil stone-built villages nestling beneath gently rolling hills or tucked away in evergreen secluded valleys. Such is its enchanting character that it remains one of the most popular and frequently visited parts of Britain. Yet this region defies simple stereotypes. Know where to look and you’re as likely to come across a mysterious stone circle, an Iron Age fort or the castle where Edward II was murdered as you are one of the many fine churches and manor houses built from local limestone which typically punctuate this alluring landscape.
Once celebrated as the centre of the English wool trade during the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds were rediscovered by the Arts and Crafts Movement as a special place of pilgrimage towards the end of the nineteenth century. Towns such as Chipping Campden, Cirencester, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bath have many secrets to reveal. This book also explores iconic sites such as Arlington Row.


 Published in 2014 by  Amberley , and also available via  Amazon .  Also available as an e-book.    Review   "Beautifully illustrated with high quality photographs, clearly and succinctly laid out, with short introductory boxes at the beginning of each walk which provide advice on parking, eating and drinking and even where to stay for visitors to Cheltenham, the book is a complete delight. There are nine walks altogether, each on a theme, and each packed with intriguing facts and figures. Helpful maps accompany each walk, and most of them offer a shortened version for anyone with limited time or stamina. The best way to discover anywhere is always on foot, and these walks provide an ideal way to find out about Cheltenham's rich cultural and historical heritage. Locals, visitors and even armchair travellers will find much to entertain, inform and enlighten here, and David Elder’s thorough and painstaking research has resulted in a book that will be a lasting joy to all its readers." -  Newsletter (Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum)

Published in 2014 by Amberley, and also available via Amazon.  Also available as an e-book. 

Review

"Beautifully illustrated with high quality photographs, clearly and succinctly laid out, with short introductory boxes at the beginning of each walk which provide advice on parking, eating and drinking and even where to stay for visitors to Cheltenham, the book is a complete delight. There are nine walks altogether, each on a theme, and each packed with intriguing facts and figures. Helpful maps accompany each walk, and most of them offer a shortened version for anyone with limited time or stamina. The best way to discover anywhere is always on foot, and these walks provide an ideal way to find out about Cheltenham's rich cultural and historical heritage. Locals, visitors and even armchair travellers will find much to entertain, inform and enlighten here, and David Elder’s thorough and painstaking research has resulted in a book that will be a lasting joy to all its readers." - Newsletter (Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum)

Cheltenham Heritage Walks

The best way to explore a town is on foot accompanied by an expert guide. In this comprehensive set of illustrated walks catering for all abilities, the different strands of Cheltenham’s rich heritage are woven together to create a rich tapestry with unique and fascinating insights which will surprise locals and inspire visitors.

Cheltenham has never been stuck in the past. It goes back a long way, well before George III’s visit secured it as a most fashionable place for the beau monde to visit. However, it has also constantly reinvented itself as a place of learning, of music, of sport, of tourism and leisure, not to mention its attraction as a place for business and work. Indeed, Cheltenham could almost claim ‘city status’, such is its importance and influence in certain fields.

Walking around this town is the best way to appreciate where the town has come from and how it has moved with the times. Where else could you find Assembly Rooms (now a bank) which once hosted concerts by Paganini and Liszt, and performances by Dickens, Wilde and Thackeray?

Discover Cheltenham's many secrets and treasures, and learn the fascinating history behind them with this handy walking guide.


 Published in 2013 by  Amberley , and also available via  Amazon .  Also available as an e-book.    Reviews   “This glorious portrayal of Cheltenham is a celebration through the eyes of the literarati.”   Cotswold Life   “Author David Elder has scoured a rich variety of sources to put together the book ‘Literary Cheltenham’: a collection of quotations and images that portray Cheltenham’s unique and evolving personality over the centuries.”   Gloucestershire Echo   “...the book is beautifully produced, with high quality reproductions on every page. This is a book to be treasured, and one which will be enjoyed by Cheltonians and visitors alike.”     Newsletter (Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum)    

Published in 2013 by Amberley, and also available via Amazon.  Also available as an e-book. 

Reviews

“This glorious portrayal of Cheltenham is a celebration through the eyes of the literarati.”  Cotswold Life

“Author David Elder has scoured a rich variety of sources to put together the book ‘Literary Cheltenham’: a collection of quotations and images that portray Cheltenham’s unique and evolving personality over the centuries.”  Gloucestershire Echo

“...the book is beautifully produced, with high quality reproductions on every page. This is a book to be treasured, and one which will be enjoyed by Cheltonians and visitors alike.”  Newsletter (Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum)

 

Literary Cheltenham

A 'stuccoed town in the Regency manner', a watering place that became the most fashionable resort in England following George III's visit, or a place of Bath-chairs where ex-colonial officers came to die? A vibrant town of festivals and fashionable shops, a Mecca for horse racing, international music, cricket and world-renowned colleges, or a quiet retreat for luxurious gardens and cultural events? Cheltenham has never suffered an identity crisis. It has simply re-invented itself through the ages. How better to portray Cheltenham's unique, evolving personality than through pictures that tell 'thousands of words' juxtaposed with les mots justes culled from some of our most acclaimed writers. From Jane Austen to Ann Yearsley, writers both modern and old, as diverse as George Orwell, Laurie Lee, George Bernard Shaw, C. Day-Lewis, Cobbett, Defoe, Scott, Trollope, Thackeray, Dickens, Byron and Betjeman, have heaped praise on the town or damned it, been spellbound by its beauty or sneered at its laziness and opulence. Famous explorers and composers have written about it as their birthplace, while others have written about it as a place to visit, whether as poets, essayists or even relatives of German philosophers. Love or hate it, they have always remembered their experience of Cheltenham.


 Published in 2009 by the  Cyder Press , and also available via  Amazon .   

Published in 2009 by the Cyder Press, and also available via Amazon.   

Down Cheltenham Way

An anthology of writing about Cheltenham through the ages that attempts to set the record straight and celebrate the town by offering 'a garland for Cheltenham'. 

Beginning with an entry in the Domesday Book, the collection includes excerpts from such famous writers of the past as Defoe, Cobbett, Austen, Scott, Dickens, Trollope and Thackeray, as well as many lesser known ones, and a surprisingly large number of modern authors who have, in a sense, visited the town - from C. Day-Lewis and Agatha Christie to Dick Francis and Howard Jacobson. Colour plates of striking and unusual images of Cheltenham also illustrate the text.


 Published in 2007 by  Invermark Books  and also available via  Amazon .

Published in 2007 by Invermark Books and also available via Amazon.

Glenesk: the Collected Poems of John Angus

John Angus was born in Montrose in December 1906 and is probably best remembered today for his poem Genesis, written about his beloved Glenesk. This collection of his poems has been brought together to mark the centenary of his birth. All his work is based in or around Glenesk, an area he loved deeply and hopefully this volume will bring his poems to a wider audience. The collection is copiously illustrated with colour photos of Glenesk taken by David Elder as well as by the author himself.


 Published in 2000 by  Reardon Publishing , and also available via  Amazon  .  Also available as an e-book. 

Published in 2000 by Reardon Publishing, and also available via Amazon .  Also available as an e-book. 

Cheltenham in Antarctica: the Life of Edward Wilson

Edward Adrian Wilson is perhaps the most famous native son of Cheltenham. In the early years of the 20th century, he was one of the major influences and personalities of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and has also been recognised as one of the top ranking ornithologists and naturalists in the UK during this period. He was also one of the last great scientific expedition artists. This is the illustrated story of polar explorer Edward Wilson, from his boyhood in Cheltenham to the diaries and letters associated with his last days as a member of Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition. All the royalties from this book will benefit the Wilson Collection Fund at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums.