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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Snake River Press: Three New Titles From Sussex's Favourite Small Publishing House

Snake River Press may be a business, but first and foremost, for one man at least, it is a labour of love.

Peter Bridgewater has been at the helm of the publishing house for more than a decade. In that time Snake River Press has produced an ongoing series of beautifully presented and written small books that celebrate both the beauty and history of the unique county of Sussex.

Peter first came to Sussex as a design student in the early 1970s and has been here ever since..

He began his career as a book designer for art publishers Thames & Hudson before establishing his own prestigious design consultancy in Brighton. 

In 1996 he co-founded The Ivy Press, a design-led publishing house that creates high-quality books for an international market.

In sight of Peter's home is Cuckmere Haven, a spectacular floodplain where the Cuckmere River snakes dramatically into the English Channel. 

This magical setting was the inspiration for Snake River Press, and you can see the distinctive landscape reflected in the logo.

There are now three new titles, all of which are worth your attention:

Ditching Walks (Lorraine Harrison)

The starting point for this collection of six walks in and around the village of Ditchling is the wonderful and varied collection of the Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft. After browsing the exhibits, the interested walker can tour the village streets to see the former homes of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, Frank Brangwyn and many others, while a visit to St Margaret"s Church and graveyard will reveal a host of beautiful hand-crafted objects. Follow in Gill"s footsteps to Ditchling Common, site of the Guild of SS Joseph & Dominic, then amble across the Common to the graveyard at St George"s Retreat. A pleasant stroll out of the village takes the visitor to Streat and the former workshop of Rowland Emett. There is a gentle walk to Oldland Mill: a favourite subject for many artists, including Charles Knight. The more energetic can stride out high up on the Downs to Ditchling Beacon which features in the Christmas classic The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Short informative biographies of key Ditchling residents provide fascinating background reading while useful information is included to help every visitor get the most out of their time in this most lovely and inspiring of Sussex villages.

A South Downs Alphabet (Sussex Wordsmiths)

A South Downs Alphabet celebrates the creation of the South Downs National Park (SDNP), the latest region in Britain to be honoured and protected in this way. Our inspiration came from the 1924 collection of poems by Eleanor Farjeon, A Sussex Alphabet – verses written to reflect her enduring love of the county. We invited 21st-century students of all ages to create poetry as their response to the SDNP. In two significant ways the poems here present a wider perspective than those in Farjeon's original book. Firstly, they cover the three counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex - the span of the park. Secondly, and most importantly, they are the work of a diverse range of people. Some authors are young; others by no means so. Some have written poetry before; for others it was literally their first attempt. For some the exercise was a solitary one while others collaborated with family, friends or classmates. Yet for all their diversity these wonderful poems echo Farjeon's interest, imagination and sheer delight in this most alluring of regions.

A South Downs Alphabet (Eleanor Farjeon)

Eleanor Farjeon"s collection of poems A Sussex Alphabet was first published in 1924 as a series of articles for the West Sussex Gazette. The poems were later set to music by her brother Harry and then, in 1939, appeared together in book form as an exquisite limited edition, a facsimile of which appears here. Farjeon visited Sussex frequently and these verses reflect her deep love and knowledge of the county. Encompassing characters, folklore and landscape they create an enchanting blend of fantasy, realism and humour – brilliantly capturing the essence of this unique and exhilarating county. Gypsies, shepherds and literary giants all appear between these pages, along with towns, villages and the peculiarities of local dialect. An excerpt from her 1918 poem All The Way To Alfriston, now one of the most visited villages in Britain, rounds off this stylish volume. As we ramble around the Sussex countryside today, we can still see much of what Farjeon saw and wrote about nearly 100 years ago. We hope this charming collection will reawaken an interest in her work and encourage you to visit the places that inspired these delightful verses.

For more info and to purchase the above titles CLICK HERE

by: Mike Cobley



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Photo credit: Sante D'Orazio

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