Akeman Press

Akeman Press was established in 2003 to produce a range of high-quality historical books, with especial emphasis on the city of Bath.

Details of the titles published so far are listed below.
All books can be ordered directly from Akeman Press. There is no charge for postage within the UK. Overseas postage is reduced by the UK postage costs for each order.

Books from Akeman Press

Walks from Bristol’s Severn Beach Line:

by Andrew Swift

LATEST BOOK AVAILABLE NOW!
Bristol is one of the best cities in the world for exploring on foot and the Severn Beach Line – once hailed as one of Britain’s most scenic railways – is the gateway to some of its finest sights. The walks in this guide range from short strolls exploring Georgian crescents and city parks to all-day excursions through ancient woodlands, eighteenth-century estates and spectacular river gorges.
Among the places visited are St Anne’s Woods, Arno’s Vale, the Floating Harbour, Royate Hill,
the Frome Valley, St Paul’s, Kingsdown, Montpelier, Redland and Cotham, St Werburgh’s, Purdown, Stoke Park, Frenchay, Oldbury Court, Westbury on Trym, Clifton and Hotwells, Leigh Woods, Coombe Dingle, Blaise Castle, Kingsweston, Bishop’s Knoll, Pill and Paradise Bottom, Patchway and the Three Brooks, and Ashton Court, while the final walk heads from Severn Beach over the Severn Bridge to the Wales Coast Path.
With a brief history of the Severn Beach Line and a description of a journey along it, this book is an indispensable companion not only for anyone lucky enough to live near the line, but also for anyone who can catch a train to Bristol and explore it from there.
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On Foot in Bath: Fifteen Walks Around a World Heritage City

by Andrew Swift

If you thought you knew Bath – think again. These fifteen walks take the reader to parts of Bath off the heritage trail but still in and around the World Heritage Site. Even in famous parts of Bath, hidden corners are revealed. Erudite, witty, sometimes acerbic, Dr Andrew Swift is the perfect companion to discovering Bath. Continue reading

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Literary Walks in Bath: Eleven Excursions in the Company of Eminent Authors

by Andrew Swift & Kirsten Elliott

Eleven walks which look at Bath through the eyes of eminent authors as diverse as Smollett, Jane Austen, Dickens, Fanny Burney, Sheridan, Georgette Heyer, Mary Shelley and John Betjeman. They create a vivid social history of the city over the last 300 years. Fully illustrated, with detailed accounts of the writers and their works. Continue reading

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Queen of Waters: A journey in time along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

by Kirsten Elliott

Two hundred years after the completion of the Kennet & Avon Canal, Kirsten Elliott takes us on a journey in time along its length, from Reading to Bristol, with illustrations from the late 18th century to today. Continue reading

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Inns of Wiltshire: in old photographs

by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott

To know Wiltshire’s inns is to know Wiltshire. Their history has been inextricably linked to the lives of ordinary people for generations. At a time when pubs are closing faster than ever before, this collection of pictures and stories from the past is a reminder of how rich that heritage is – and how important it is to preserve what is left. Continue reading

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The Year of the Pageant:

by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott

The story of the Bath Pageant – and much more besides. The Bath Pageant of 1909 – with over 3,000 performers – was an astonishing achievement. Using hundreds of archive photographs – many never before published – as well as personal testimonies and original documents, this fascinating book lifts the lid on what it was like to live through this momentous year. Continue reading

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I’m Not Prepared to Accept That!: My Tussle with Polio

by Philip Whitmarsh

The story of one man’s battle with childhood polio and its after-effects to become Mayor of his home town – sometimes sad, often funny and always relevant. Continue reading

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Childhood Memories: Growing up in Kingsmead and Weston

by Pauline Forrest

Pauline Forrest’s account of a working-class childhood in Bath in the 20s and 30s evokes a city of tramcars, lodging houses, street vendors, and charabanc trips. Although set in a specific time and place, her story captures the dreams, adventures and woes of every child. Funny, moving and sad, it is a vivid picture of life between the wars. Continue reading

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Somerset Pubs:

by Andrew Swift & Kirsten Elliott

From Chard to Chewton Mendip and from Witham Friary to Withypool, Somerset Pubs is a journey into the past, with photographs of over 140 pubs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Coaching inns rub shoulders with back-street beerhouses, time-worn taverns with roadside hostelries. Although many are still open, the way of life captured in these photographs is one that has gone forever, destroyed by the onward march of time. Yet this is not just a wistful look at the past. After decades of rationalisation and standardisation, local pubs and breweries are making a comeback, while farmhouse cider is more popular than ever. Somerset Pubs celebrates a tradition that, despite all the efforts of the multinationals, never quite went away. This virtual pub crawl into the past is not so much an exercise in nostalgia as an inspiration for the future – and for journeys in seach of Somerset’s pub heritage. Continue reading

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Somerset Follies:

by Jonathan Holt

From the breathtaking to the bizarre, Somerset Follies takes a fascinating look at dozens of follies throughout the old county of Somerset, including the area around Bath, the most densely follied city in the land. Some have gone, some lie hidden in the undergrowth, others have been magnificently restored by a new generation of folly lovers – but all have a story to tell and all have that air of mystery that only something completely purposeless can acquire. Somerset Follies sifts fact from legend and takes a sideways look at the people who put up an astonishing array of buildings purely for pleasure. This comprehensive survey, drawing on extensive new research and including many previously unpublished archive photographs, offers a compelling guide to some of Somerset’s most celebrated landmarks – and some of its most neglected. Continue reading

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The Ringing Grooves of Change: Brunel & the Coming of the Railway to Bath

by Andrew Swift

Few people have had as great an impact on Bath as Brunel. The Ringing Grooves of Change tells the story of Bath’s invasion by an army of navvies, drinking, whoring and fighting in shanty towns on the edge of the city, while armed Chartists massed in the streets and local elections descended into drunkenness and anarchy. It was against this turbulent background that Brunel brought the railway to Bath.
With a section devoted to the building of Box Tunnel and a new Brunel Trail from Keynsham to Box, The Ringing Grooves of Change tells the gripping story of how a great man changed a great city for ever. Continue reading

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All roads lead to France: Bath and the Great War

by Andrew Swift

Interweaving letters from men at the front with stories of life at home, and illustrated with over 300 photographs, this book describes the Great War’s impact on the city of Bath. It is a story of grief, suffering and anger — but there is laughter too. And although Andrew Swift tells the story of one community, this could be, with minor variations, the story of hundreds of other British towns and cities as they lived through the time when all roads led to France. Continue reading

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The Lost Pubs of Bath:

by Andrew Swift & Kirsten Elliott

Weighing in at 400 pages, with over 500 entries and 500 illustrations, The Lost Pubs of Bath brings the Bath Pubs trilogy to a triumphant conclusion. Continue reading

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Awash With Ale: 2000 Years of Imbibing in Bath

by Kirsten Elliott & Andrew Swift

Drinking has reached crisis level — or so we are told. The truth is that drinking has been at crisis level for centuries. This is the story of how Britain’s first pleasure resort coped with our ancestors’ relentless desire to drink more than was good for them. From the Gin Epidemic to the Beerhouse Boom, from the Cider Rebellion to the Drunken Election — Awash with Ale tells the story of Bath in a way you’ve never heard it told before. Continue reading

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The Myth-Maker: John Wood 1704 - 1754

by Kirsten Elliott

John Wood was not only one of the eighteenth century’s most famous architects, but also one of its most assiduous mythmakers. From a desire to restore Bath to its former position as a centre of Druidic culture, his researches led him into Rosicrucianism and alchemy. He even completed the first accurate survey of Stonehenge — or Choir Gaure as he called it. In this lavishly illustrated book, Kirsten Elliott attempts to provide the key to a re-evaluation of one of the eighteenth-century’s most fascinating figures. Continue reading

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Bath Pubs:

by Kirsten Elliott & Andrew Swift

Taking the waters – that’s the reason visitors have flocked to Bath for centuries. Other books about Bath focus on this abstemious activity. This book offers a different history and a different tipple. Beer has a long and honourable tradition, and Bath’s pubs are just as much part of the city’s story as the Roman Baths and the Assembly Rooms. The tale the authors tell is one of high life and low life, where temperance campaigners rub shoulders with sozzled soldiers, and magistrates deal out punishment to hat-removing harlots. Continue reading

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