Anne Bradford, Author, Hund End Books

About Anne Bradford

I was born in Birmingham where I published by first article at the age of nine in the Smethwick Telephone. When I was five years old World War II broke out which meant nights spent in the cellar to avoid the bombs. The house behind ours had a direct hit and a six year old girl was killed. Her knitted bonnet flew across the rooftops and lodged in the telephone wires outside my bedroom window where it remained for some months as a sad memorial. My younger sister and I were evacuated to West Hagley to live with two aristocratic spinsters. We learned correct table manners and developed an accent like the queen's, soon lost when we returned to Birmingham.

I married a designer/illustrator and we moved to Studley in Warwickshire to raise a family. Our second baby turned out to be twins so we bought a larger house in Enfield Road, Redditch. Local historians told us that the house and adjoining factory was where Royal Enfield motor cycles and bicycles had begun, but actually it was another complex further down the road. By that time, the Enfield factory had closed and the Royal Enfield Club committee was anxious that its history should not be lost, and so I was asked to interview as many ex-employees as possible. The three volumes of interviews were sent to Ray Knight who selected extracts for the popular Royal Enfield book.

For three years I was a journalist on the Redditch Indicator but at 1p per line I was not going to get rich, so I changed my occupation and spent the next three years retraining as a teacher at Bromsgrove's Shenstone College, with English as my main subject. I have taught every age from three to eighty, at playschool, primary, junior, and secondary schools, and finally shorthand at the North Worcestershire College. Between various posts and during the school holidays I have worked at the YMCA and in hospitals, in factories, in a dairy and in Blakenhurst prison.

I took early retirement and discovered that my shorthand was very useful for oral history. Stourport-on-Severn, Old Redditch Voices and Royal Enfield are all oral history books. For about six years I edited a bi-annual newsletter for the Worcestershire Local History Forum. I also worked with Mike Johnson to produce thirteen oral history booklets.

When researching in Redditch library, I discovered a set of Victorian ghost stories and it occurred to me that not only were they entertaining but they were valuable in preserving local history. I have now compiled about fifteen books on ghosts, murders and scandals, chiefly in Worcestershire. A few are out of print.

I have established my own publishing company, Hunt End Books, and I have also received commissions from several publishers including Pen and Sword, Robert Hale, and Quercus. I also give talks on Worcestershire ghosts, murders and/or scandals.

My three children teach me far more than I ever taught them, particularly in IT, and as my daughter was for many years a BBC journalist she criticises my work. One of my four grandchildren is only ten years old and has already published a collection of spooky tales which will be reprinted shortly.