‘Fisherfolk of the North East’ was launched at the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival on Saturday 25th June and is now available as paperback and ebook from Unco. Just go to www.unco.scot and the Deveron Press catalogue section.
‘Shows and Showfolk’ is well on the way to being ready for its publication date of August 1st – coinciding with the Turriff Show.
The centenary ‘Little Red Town’ talks are underway. The first was on Chronicles, Covenanters and the Coo and the next one is on Schooldays and a Socialist Shakespeare –which will look at Leatham’s work for Westwood School, and the publication of his 17 Shakespeare Studies. It’s on Weds 13th July – but for those who can’t get to Turriff there will be supporting articles on the July edition of Gateway which is due out some time on or around 14th July.
And in the background, indexing of the complete 361 editions of The Gateway is still ongoing as is preparing ‘autumn’ publications.
Coming up this summer in Turriff...
As part of The Deveron Press Centenary Celebrations
you are invited to attend
The Little Red Town Talks
At the Auld Post Office Museum
Wednesdays at 2pm.
June 15th Chronicles, Covenanters and the Coo.
July 13th Education, and Culture: A Socialist Shakespeare for Schools.
August 17th Farming and Agriculture locally: a harvest from 1926.
September 14th Provost and Publisher - conflict of interests?
The talks will last for around 40 minutes and will be followed by an opportunity to look at the collection in the Auld Post Office Museum.
They are free and all are welcome.
but the wait is nearly over!
A long time ago in a galaxy far away (if you subscribe to the theory that the past is another country where things are done differenty) a book was being written. The wait has been longer than for Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' and anticipation (among those who know) is now reaching fever pitch... here's the back story...
In 1941 Mr James George of Aberdeen wrote to The Gateway Journal as follows: ‘World-Mending is most interesting and informative and of course you will ultimately put it in book form? Please accept my order for a copy now.’
It has taken 75 years for ‘60 Years of World-Mending’ to reach publication but on May 2nd it will finally be available for all, in paperback format. Written in serial form from 1940, the autobiography of Turriff Provost and Social Pioneer James Leatham was left incomplete at the time of his death in 1945, and covers his life from birth in Aberdeen in 1865 until his move to Turriff in 1916. But the retrospective nature of the work means that his unique social commentary continues through two World Wars and is a worthwhile read for anyone interested, not just in the birth of the Socialist movement, but in culture and society from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century.
The book will be 'launched' at The Auld Post Office Museum, High Street, Turriff on May Day. And if you're not in Turriff on May Day, you can buy your copy online for just £9.99 (+p&p) from www.unco.scot. (Direct link HERE)
‘60 Years of World-Mending’ is published by The Deveron Press as part of their centenary celebrations and is matched by a republishing of the 1970’s biography on Leatham by Robert Duncan (former teacher of History at Banff Academy).
First published in 1978 this new edition places James Leatham in the context of his time and reveals him as a long neglected pioneering figure of British Socialism.
If you're not in Turriff on May Day you can buy your copy online for just £5.99 (+p&P) from www.unco.scot (Direct link HERE)
Both books will be available for sale the day of their publication, which is May Day, at The Auld Post Office Museum and online from www.unco.scot which sells extraordinary books for extraordinary readers at the best prices in town!
March 15th saw Cally Wight kick off the Deveron Press Centenary 'Tour' of talks at Banff Castle for the Banff Tuesday Talks. It was a great afternoon and the audience were engaged, enthusiastic and interested (which is always a bonus!) The venue is pretty spectacular too.
Cally was able to show first proof copies of '60 Years of World-Mending' and the reprinted 'James Leatham, profile of a socialist pioneer' by Robert Duncan, which are both now available for order in advance of the official publication date of 2nd May 2016. You can order them online from unco HERE
And even more exciting - the Banff Tuesday Talks are now the first sponsors of The Turriff Book Festival which will be held in Turriff from November 24th-27th. The official announcement of the festival will be made in May but watch this space!
It's all proof, if any were needed, that Leatham was right when he wrote: 'Publishing is an adventure'
If you would like Cally and The Deveron Press to come and talk to your group or organisation please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to accomodate you on our 'tour' schedule.
We've been hard at it here at Deveron Press getting our first publications for 2016 ready for press. And we are making progress. here's what's happening:
Coming up in May is a new version of Robert Duncan's biography. First published in 1978 it has been revised and updated for 2016. It will be published on 2nd May 2016 - watch this space for news.
On the same day we have a publishing first. James Leatham was engaged in writing his autobiography in Gateway Magazine from 1940 onwards. He had got (some might say ironically, others appropriately) to the point of his move to Turriff in 1916 when he died and the autobiography remained unfinished. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Deveron Press's founding, we are publishing '60 Years of World Mending' for the first time ever. It's a hugely important and interesting book.
And in June we will be publishing a new edition of 'FisherFolk of the North East' in time for the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival.
Later in the year we will republish 'Shows and Showfolk' and 'William Morris: Master of Many Crafts' both by Leatham. And with a following wind, there may well be more publications from us in 2016.
All this year we are out and about on a centenary tour. If you are interested in us coming to your group, or want to know where we will be appearing, please watch this space - or email us at email@example.com
The February Edition of The Gateway can be found HERE and you can still read both the January and the pre Xmas 'Commemorative' one too.
In February, we started the 100 years of Deveron Press 'tour' for 2016.
The first venue was, appropriately enough, at the Turriff and District Heritage Society. To say it was a 'packed venue' is true (but it is a very small space!) and the talk was very well received by those who attended.
The Turriff and District Heritage Society have been great friends since we first put out a call for Leatham related items. They loaned us some 50+ articles (many of which are now finding their place as the backbone of the online Gateway) and these are now back at the Heritage Society having been checked, digitized and databased. It was a truly a privilege to have access to the originals for the several months we had them - but quite a relief not to have the responsibility for them in case of fire any longer!
In the museum, as well as Leatham pamphlets, there is also currently a small exhibition about him. His photo hangs alongside that of former Provosts, and the museum houses the Provost's regalia (which Leatham refused to wear) as well as the table which the council used to conduct its business round (it's been cut down to fit the space - I told you it was a small museum.) The Turriff and District Heritage Society is staffed entirely by volunteers and is a real tribute to the community of Turriff. As well as The Auld Post Office Museum in the High Street, there is the Session House, hidden away in the backstreets of Turriff.
If you are in Turriff any time soon, why not visit the Heritage Society. The Auld Post Office museum. is currently open 10-12pm Fridays and Saturdays. It's sma' but awfu' friendly! And if you can't be in Turriff, here's a link to their site. They also have a Facebook page
The Society hosts its AGM on March 21st and is always looking for new members.
Cally's talk was reported in the local paper, The Turriff Advertiser, who have also been hugely supportive of our work to date. .
The next talk on the 'tour' will be held in Banff on Tuesday 15th March at 2pm as part of the 'Banff Talks' series.
Anyone interested in booking Cally to come and talk about Leatham and The Deveron Press should email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
'It's out with the old and in with the new' as Gateway is back. Now a free online monthly e-journal you can while away many a happy hour each month reading it wherever in the world you are. .
This month, as well as the editorial from Rab Christie, there's James Leatham on Robert Burns, The Orraman explores Beyond Burns, and a downloadable version of Leatham's classic tract 'An Eight Hour Day for Ten Hours Pay,' Also featuring is Episode 1 of a forgotten classic 'Doom of the Great City,' and an introduction into beginning your own exploration in the vast world of public domain archive material.
To go direct to Gateway Volume 1: No 1 just click HERE
(Note the inscription: His work liveth for evermore. Sadly copyright restrictions have made that an ironic statement. But today we can begin to breathe new life into his writing!)
Public Domain day is the day when works fall out of copyright into the public domain. That means the works can be republished without paying copyright to authors/estates. While you may think that copyright is an important protection for an author (and indeed it is while they are alive) all too often keeping their work out of the public domain for half a century just means they become forgotten. The exceptions are those works which large publishers are prepared to put money into. Leatham doesn’t fall into this category. You might also think it’s only right and fair for the descendants of a writer to benefit from the royalties copyright provides – but again, after 50 years in reality this link has often been broken. Copyright exists these days mainly as a protection for the publishing business than for authors and it certainly can work against open dissemination of our written cultural heritage.
In 1996 the UK switched its copyright period from authors death +50 years to +70 years which meant that all the works of authors who died between 1925 and 1944 went back into copyright, and that the work of writers such as James Leatham, who died in 1945 did not come into public domain in 1996 but had to wait until 2016. In the case of Leatham this means that for nearly 70 years his work has been all but unobtainable.
But today’s the day. Today Leatham’s work becomes public domain and that means we can republish it. Sadly, in America they have frozen public domain until 2019 (in order to protect some ‘important’ that means ‘bankable’ works such as Disney!)
To celebrate this momentous day, the recently relaunched Deveron Press, has brought ‘Daavit’ back into print in a new paperback edition. You can buy it direct from the unco bookstore HERE
During 2016 Deveron Press will be republishing more of Leatham’s work. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Deveron Press (May 1916-2016) we will be republishing Leatham’s classic political work ‘Socialism and Character’ – first published 1897 as well as publishing Leatham’s unfinished autobiography ’60 years of World-Mending’ for the first time. Later in the year we will republish Bob Duncan’s Biography ‘Leatham: Socialist Pioneer’ in a new paper and digital edition as well as Leatham’s biography of William Morris.
And if that’s not enough, to get as much of Leatham’s work out there as we can, we’ve re-established his Gateway Journal as an online monthly magazine, in which you’ll be able to read many of his articles which originally appeared in that journal. The Commemorative edition is available now and the January edition will be available online from 14th January. It’s in the public domain so it’s FREE!
This week there's a wee exhibition about James Leatham on at Turriff library - it moves to The Town House for our Saturday event. Get along to one (or both) of these if you can..
To give you a taste of what's to come - and of what will be coming up in the online Gateway (commemorative issue out now) we thought we'd post up something which might amuse the residents (especially the postal workers) of Turra! It dates from the 30's or 40's so of course we're all too young to remember, but it might make you smile.
PROVOST LEATHAM ON THE POST OFFICE
Presenting medal-bars and certificates to members of Turriff Post Office staff for a year’s immunity from car or cycle accidents, Provost Leatham, speaking in the sorting hall on 20th May, said that was the fourth time he had come there on the same errand, and he had great pleasure in coming, first because of the occasion itself, and secondly, because of the admiration he had for the Post Office as an institution.
They received these decorations for obeying in the course of their work the Sixth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ There were thousands of death on the roads in a year, but nobody had had to put on mourning or even be taken to hospital for any act of omission of theirs. This was the very opposite reason for which a military decoration was given. Most of them were ex-Service men who had been trained in the bayonet exercise, and they knew that when instruction was given, the Sixth Commandment was not in the picture except in reverse. In war, evil became good and good evil; but to Post Office motormen and cyclists the old rule still held good, and they had once again been successful in complying with it. To save life and property was a natural instinct, and, necessary as it might be to ‘straddle a ship with a stick of bombs and leave it in a sinking condition,’ it was against human nature. Thomas Carlyle had added to the Eighth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal, the natural corollary, ‘Thou shalt not be stolen from.’ A similar addendum was necessary in the Sixth Commandment. It would be ‘Thou shalt not be killed.’ The breach of the commandment lay with the aggressor.
There was great complaint as to the hold-ups practised by bureaucrats, Government officials who interfered in other people’s business; but the Post Office had its own workmen, and the surveyors who came around were practical men, servants of the Department, who knew what was wanted, not outside inspectors all of them with different views. Eighty-one years ago William Ewart Gladstone had started the only State Bank we had, the Post Office Banks, which now had over £400.000,000 of accumulated assets, and not a penny of it went in directors fees or dividends to share-holders. Those were the lines on which he wished to see all business conducted.
There were complaints also about the rise in postal rates. But they evidently hadn’t yet been raised in proportion to the rise in working costs, for the annual surplus used to be £12 ¾ million, but now it was down to £10,000,000. It was still the cheapest service in the community, with no overlapping duplication, competition, advertising or commercial travellers.
Provost Leatham was presented with a smoker’s outfit – pipes, tobacco, and matches – the local postmaster, Mr J.B.Clark, handing over the gift in name of the staff.
During his lifetime, supporters, followers and friends of printer/publisher/social pioneer James Leatham were known as Leatham’s Lambs. Well, this is a big week for latter day Leatham Lambs. Today, 14th December marks 70 years since his death. A small exhibition about his life and works is running in Turriff Library from Monday to Friday.
In the virtual world, today sees the commemorative edition of The Gateway Journal go live. From January a New Gateway will be available every month, but to commemorate Leatham’s passing, the last edition of Volume 30 has been put together The commemorative edition gives the spirit and flavour of the original with editorial and Leatham's views on Banking, Copyright and culture. It's a good taste of what's to come in 2016 when we will bring more of Leatham's own writing, and selections of other public domain works to a new readership on a monthly basis. Check it out today, there's enough to keep you reading all month.
The first publications from the new Deveron Press are Leatham’s ‘Daavit’ and William Alexander’s ‘Sketches of Life Among My Ain Folk,’ with many more to come in 2016, including Leatham’s previously unpublished (and unfinished) autobiography ‘Sixty Years of World Mending,’ his political/philosophical treatise ‘Socialism and Character,’ a new edition of ‘William Morris: A Master of Many Crafts,’ and a new edition of Bob Duncan’s biography of James Leatham.
'Empires and systems may rise and decay, but so long as a single copy of a great piece of literature remains it can be reproduced and perpetuated to a life beyond life.' James Leatham 1864-1945.