Background History

Lightmoor Press was founded in 1994 by Neil Parkhouse and Ian Pope, initially to publish our highly sucessful journal Archive. Neil's background in selling and collecting picture postcards and old photographs produced much of the illustrative content of the early issues, whilst Ian was a practicing cartographer with an interest in publishing. Both had an abiding love of the Forest of Dean and its history.

Ian, born in Cinderford, has written several books on the history of the Forest of Dean's railway system and was for a period the Chairman of the Forest of Dean Local History Society. He is still editor of its annual journal The New Regard, to which he has also contributed a number of articles. He is a railway modeller in 7mm scale and was for ten years editor of the Gauge O Guild's house magazine, the Gauge 'O' Guild Gazette. His model railway is based on the old Severn & Wye railway.

Neil, born in Devon, raised in Worcestershire and Buckinghamshire but who has lived longer in Gloucestershire than anywhere else, has collected and traded in old postcards and photographs for over 25 years, during which time he has amassed a wealth of transport and industrial history images and also a wide range of contacts with similar interests. He has what is almost certainly the largest collection of old postcards of the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. He was chairman of the Postcard Traders Association for a period in the 1990s and has recently become a committee member of the Welsh Railways Research Circle.

Neil and Ian came together through research on the Forest's railways and industries. Whilst copying many of the old postcards which passed through Neil's hands, they realised that much more could be achieved with the images than simply copying them and selling them, and that there was a gap in the market for a quality industrial and transport history journal. Thus Archive was born. Soon the move into books was being considered and a couple of Forest of Dean titles were published. These were followed by the first railway titles, 'Main Line to Industry' and 'The Knotty', as well as a number of facsimiles of old promotional publications which could only rarely be found on the collectors market at high prices, such as Fine Forest Coal (c1930), Dock Developments at Newport (1907) and Port Talbot Railway & Docks (1913).

In the meantime, in 1998 Neil had begun a separate imprint, Black Dwarf Publications, to publish A History of the Port of Penzance. There followed a number of maritime, canal and Forest of Dean local history titles of particular interest to him and the range grew rapidly to the extent that, in 2002, the two imprints were joined together under the Black Dwarf Lightmoor banner in order to streamline the running of both businesses.

Over eleven years, the business has now grown into a wide ranging publishing imprint, with important sections on railway history, maritime and canal history, Forest of Dean local history and, most recently, two titles based on collections held at Blenheim Palace. Archive now has a younger sister, Railway Archive, published to the same high quality, which continues to grow from strength to strength and which is now widely acknowledged as one of the best publications in its field. Our publishing base is becoming wider and more diverse but still without straying too far away from our original concept and without compromising our well-known standards of quality and price.

For the future all we can really say is 'more of the same'. We have several more publications currently in various stages of production, plus a considerable number lined up for the next few years. The most exciting development amongst these is a series of Welsh mining and industrial history titles, which will be produced in conjunction with National Museums & Galleries of Wales. We will certainly not be idle!

Finally, for anyone wondering where the unusual names come from which make up the title of our business, Black Dwarf Lightmoor:

LIGHTMOOR colliery was one of the larger deep mines in the Forest of Dean and part of the Henry Crawshay empire. It ceased production in 1940 but there are substantial remains to be seen of the buildings, although they should be viewed from without as the site is private property in current business use.

BLACK DWARF was an ex- Clyde puffer, which was bought by William Jones of Lydney in the 1890s and traded out of Lydney docks for the next 50 years. She was most aptly named after the Sir Walter Scott novel and is still remembered with great affection by older Lydney folk.

Black Dwarf Lightmoor Publications Ltd
Black Dwarf Lightmoor Publications Ltd is a company registered in England & Wales with company number 5522739
Registered Office: 6 Langdale Court, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6FG

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