I'm delighted to welcome Peter Walters onto my blog today. Peter is a friend and work colleague from our Coventry Telegraph days. With a wealth of knowledge about the city, he has now written his second book on Coventry entitled – Great War Britain: Coventry Remembering 1914-18.
Illustrated with wonderful old photographs from the city's archives, the book explores the 1914-1918 story of the place they called The Busiest Town In England, years that established Coventry as one of Britain's most important 20th century industrial dynamos. It's a tale often over-shadowed by the city's suffering in World War Two and has not been told often enough.
Peter's first book, The Story of Coventry, also evocatively illustrated, was the first full narrative history of Coventry for more than a decade, tracing the city's story from its beginnings around the year 1000 to the recent recession. Written for the general reader, it concentrates on the rich gallery of characters who have populated that colourful thousand years.
Peter and his wife, Barbara who is also a journalist, were already working at the Coventry Telegraph when I started back in the day. I asked him how he first got into writing.
“I was always keen on English at school and got an S level (grade 1) in it as well as A level. Stupidly, I was persuaded that law was a better career so did a law degree at Leeds University (69-72). When I finished I immediately went into newspapers, initially a weekly in Cheshire.
“I came to the Coventry Telegraph as a reporter but quickly switched to features. I was a general feature writer but found myself writing a lot about the city's history – I'd always been interested in history. I also liked profile writing and did a lot of those too. In later years I had a weekly light-hearted column and wrote leaders for the paper, the latter I think great training for a writer as it forces you to be succinct.”
Around 2011, publishers, The History Press approached him to write a book on Coventry.
“I was nervous about it but found it less difficult than I had imagined. I treated it as an extended feature, I suppose. As a journalist you are at least comfortable with putting pen to paper, so to speak.”
It took him around a year to research and write his first book, The Story of Coventry which came out in 2013. This led to the writing of his second book featuring Coventry during the First World War. Great War Britain: Coventry Remembering 1914-18.
“I loved doing the research, most of it in the Herbert Museum's History Centre,” added Peter. “It felt like an extension of something I had always done on the paper – in the CET's Library. To be honest, I didn't find anything that came as a complete surprise as I'd written a lot about the city's history already. But Coventry's extraordinary monastic past was something I hadn't really grasped before and the incredible scale of its contribution to the First World War was also unexpected.”
With his interest and knowledge about the city of Coventry, when he's not writing – or reading, Peter conducts city walks for people with an interest in its history along with being involved in community projects; and in his free time, he plays tennis, enjoys film, theatre and music. I wondered whether there were any more books in the pipeline.
“I'd love to write more books,” Peter told me. “Although I'm not sure if I want to write more about Coventry. I feel I've 'done' the city in a way. I'd really like to write something in the popular history field with a national focus. I'm trying to work up an idea for the publishers at the moment.”
I'd like to thank Peter Walters for being on my blog today, and wish him every success with these books and good luck with future projects.
Great War Britain: Coventry Remembering 1914-18. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-War-Britain-Coventry-Remembering/dp/0750960752
The Story of Coventry. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-Coventry-Peter-Walters/dp/1860776922/
Both books are published by The History Press. http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/
If you would like to contact Peter, Email: email@example.com.
Mobile 07748 116041.
Mobile 07748 116041.