Rockingham is not primarily a biography publisher. Our biography titles are derived from our poetry output and our interest in local history.



The Crocus King tells the story of one of the great gardeners of the Twentieth Century – E.A. Bowles or ‘Gussie’ as his friends and admirers called him.  The propagator of hundreds of plants still cherished today – particularly crocuses – he asked in his will that his garden at Myddelton House, Enfield, should remain as he left it in 1954.  But it is only recently that his wish has come true and his garden has been revitalised, due mainly to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This expanded edition of the Bowles’ biography tells the story of the new and popular gardens – with a new Foreword by Gussie’s great-nephew, Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles.

Paperback      £9.99       ISBN 978-1-904851-707


ISLINGTON BORN AND BRED:  A Memoir of Childhood

Islington was one of the first London boroughs to be ‘gentrified’ – since the 1960s property prices there have rocketed. Before then it was a working-class suburb that even intellectual dwellers like George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh found shabby and run-down.  So much so that David Perman, who was proud of his heritage, was turned down for an Army commission on the grounds that ‘Islington is a rough area’. In his childhood memoir, David describes being evacuated but coming back to Islington for the Blitz and the doodle-bugs;  of growing up in the ‘Buildings’ (the Samuel Lewis Trust Dwellings for the Poor;  of enjoying a grammar school education courtesy of the LCC;  and of doing National Service on the front line in West Germany.

Paperback    £7.95    ISBN 978-1-904851-530



William Oxley is well known in literary circles as a poet, critic, a former member of the Poetry Society’s general council and a controversial magazine publisher.  His magazine Littack (short for ‘literary attack’) set the cat among the poetic pigeons in the early seventies.  All of that happened when he moved to the environs of London.  Before that he lived in Manchester and trained to be a chartered accountant, moving from one ‘dismal office’ to another.  Paradise was first glimpsed when he met a slim beauty named Patricia and married her.  “I was not marrying a fellow poet; I was entering into the service of a muse.”  Eventually they settled in South Devon.  William tells his story with humour and élan, and en route takes us into the company of poets like Robert Graves, John Heath Stubbs, Danny Abse and Sebastian Barker.

Hardback    £12.95    ISBN 978-1-873468-654



John Scott (1731-1783) was a Quaker, a poet and a rich man who cared deeply – and practically – about the poor.  Today he is best remembered for the extensive shell grotto he built in the garden of his house at Amwell in Hertfordshire.  But in his time he was best known as an expert on road construction and the laws governing the turnpikes system.  He was a member of three turnpike trusts and a hard-working parish surveyor of the poor (an unusual occupation for a gentleman).  His Observations on the Present State of the Parochial and Vagrant Poor was praised by Samuel Johnson, but Scott criticised the great man for his views about other poets and the American colonies.   David Perman was the project manager for the restoration of Scott’s Grotto. In a foreword the late Professor Paul Langford FBA described this as “an authoritative study that brings out some unusual but revealing ambiguities and aspirations of an eighteenth century life.”

Paperback    £9.95     978-1-873468-722

Hardback (with full critical notes)    £19.99 (was £28.00)    ISBN 978-1-873468-715


STRANGER IN A BORROWED LAND: LOTTE MOOS AND HER WRITING (published in association with Grendel Publishing of Hackney)

Lotte Moos was a popular and dynamic poet of the 1970s and 80s. As a member of the Hackney Writers’ Workshop, her poems were highly critical of the Thatcher government, strongly supportive of immigrants and always delivered with great force.  But she was always reticent about her early life and background.  David Perman, one of her publishers and a close friend, reveals a life as full of drama as any of her poems.  A communist and refugee from Hitler’s Germany, she visited Moscow at the time of Stalin’s first purge of his Bolshevik opponents.  She later went to the United States and on her return was arrested on the orders of MI5 and imprisoned in Holloway. She wrote for radio and television and had a play produced in London.

Paperback    £9.99    ISBN 978-1-956657-015